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Hunting in a digital landscape: Scandinavian hunters and the history of the GPS
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (USSTE ; Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3696-4189
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores how hunters have integrated digital mapping and GPS units in their hunting practices. The act of navigating a landscape, of being able to place yourself, your quarry, your fellow hunters, and your dogs in a mental representation of the world around you has long been a critical skill for hunters, one that requires use of all the senses. This way of interacting with nature has been a key element in narratives about hunting. In the last decade, however, digital and geolocative technologies have become far more common in hunting, enabling hunters to see their exact location, as well as their dogs, on a handheld GPS unit. Taking as its starting point how Scandinavian hunters have a long tradition of actively reflecting on their own practices, the paper will examine what kinds of discussions the hunters had surrounding the introduction of GPS tracking and other communication technologies, as well as how they have been implemented in the field.

The paper acknowledges that hunting practices deeply embedded in larger structures and traditions, such as the allotment of hunting rights, and of historical transitions from hunting as a sustenance strategy to a leisure activity. The paper will discuss what influence geolocative technologies have had on the relationship between local and non-local (urban or international) hunters and how they have changed the dynamics and landscape use of hunting. While it can be argued that Swedish hunters generally hunt in local areas that they know rather well, it could also be that they enable hunters to navigate new and to them unknown landscapes. Hunters may also interact with nature, each other, and their hunting equipment such as dogs in novel ways with GPS.

The talk will deepen the study of technology in hunting through analyzing the circulating relationship between one particular set of digital technologies and the knowledge and practice of hunting. In general, histories of hunting tend to pay much attention to weapons and their development from the dawn of time until present, but spends far less time on exploring the role of the other technologies. The general descriptions of technology to a large degree align with what historians of technology classify as internalistc studies of technology; chronological stories of changes in technical details with little regard for the interaction between technology, culture, and society at large. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
hunting, gps, history, geolocation, nature, moose, dogs
National Category
History of Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89299OAI: diva2:719757
Seventh Biennial Conference of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH), Munich, August 20-24, 2013
Available from: 2014-05-27 Created: 2014-05-27 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Jørgensen, Finn Arne
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Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies
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