The Governance of the Wolf-Human Relationship in Europe

Christian Stohr, Elsa Coimbra


We analyze the architecture and functioning of wolf governance in the European Union revealing some of the dynamics between biology conservation and social management. Comparing Germany, Galicia (Spain), Portugal and Sweden as illustrative examples the paper highlights important similarities and differences in the governance conceptualizations and architectures. In the second part, the article examines struggles and challenges to the EU’s protective governance paradigm. Our findings indicate that active opposition to wolves becomes especially visible in Sweden and Germany, the two countries with the least number of wolves but their fairly recent re-appearance. We conclude that such opposition cannot be sufficiently explained by rationally grounded disadvantages due, for example, loss of farm animals caused by the large carnivores and/or insufficient compensation measures. We argue it’s more accurate to assume a clash of paradigms, which have in themselves vaster ontological, epistemological, experiential and axiological issues and which, in turn, strongly shape opinions, values and attitudes.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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