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Grindadráp undir sjóneykuna

Benedict Singleton, gestagranskari á Søgu- og Samfelagsdeildini, hevur alla summarhálvuna granskað í grindadrápi. Áhugi hansara er, hvussu ymisku áhugabólkarnir renna saman og hvønn leiklut vísindini hava í hesum sambandi. Niðanfyri endurgeva vit eina samrøðu, á enskum, við Benedict um hansara gransking í Føroyum.

JCSJ: First of all Welcome to the Faroes.

JCSJ: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your academic background

BS: My name is Benedict Singleton, I’m a PhD student at Örebro University in Sweden, where I study environmental sociology. Originally from the England, I have conducted field research in Ireland, Zambia, Jamaica, the UK and Belgium. I have studied both social anthropology and international development before finally finding my present home in sociology.

JCSJ: What brought you to the Faroe Islands?BS: I’m currently on the Faroe Islands conducting three months fieldwork as part of my PhD studies. My project focuses upon environmental conflicts and the role science plays in how they play out. I am focusing upon the institution of the grindadráp, taking a broad approach. This means that I am examining the different scientific practices that go on behind discussions of the sustainability of the whale drives as well as looking at the effect of the Grindstop 2014 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign.

JCSJ: What made you interested in whaling in the Faroe Islands?

BS: The original desire to come here came during a course during my BA studies in social anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast. I was fascinated by a course on human-animal relations and one of the cases studied was the global whaling debate, which included a description of the grindadráp. I was very taken by the idea of a place in North Sea I had never heard of and have been trying to come here ever since. When I started my present studies, the Faroe Islands was one of several potential field sites, however the positive reception I received by my various contacts made my decision for me.

Since arriving, I have found that the Faroe Islands is also very good place to do fieldwork: the small-scale nature of the society makes it easy to cover a lot of ground and to find contacts. It’s also a very interesting place, bringing to focus many sociological questions regarding the scales of governance, modernity and the challenges and advantages of building a nation on the European periphery. In some ways I feel slightly foolish focusing on the whaling when there is so much else that could be explored!

JCSJ: How has your interest in Grindadráp been received by the Faroese you have met since you came here?
BS:One of the great joys of this work has been the reception I’ve had from the people I have been interviewing. Whilst some, understandably, have been initially suspicious of my motives they have all in the end been extremely helpful. One of the things that has struck me is, perhaps due to the on-going controversy, that many respondents have proven extremely reflexive and balanced in their opinions. This is particularly true of those active with the whale drives, who have shown, in my opinion, an admirable willingness to try and see things from others’ point of view. This has meant that I’ve felt interviewing to have been a very productive experience personally. I hope that I can do my respondents (on all sides) justice when it comes to writing up!

JCSJ: What next?
BS: I return to Sweden in early October, and then the task of writing things up begins. I have two years to go in my PhD so I’m not too stressed (yet). I hope to be able to conduct a small amount of fieldwork next year, in Malta and Iceland, but we’ll see if that turns out to be feasible. I also hope that I get a chance to return to the Faroe Islands before too long.