The Construction of Human's Identity in Nature by Opposing Social Movements in the Idaho Wolf Wars

Andrew J. Caven
Washington State University
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Recent research concerning the social construction of “animals” has argued that a culture’s understanding of animals is linked to their understanding of what it means to be human. However, this vein of work has remained relatively unconnected to sociological theories of identity construction. This project draws on the conflict surrounding wolf management in the state of Idaho in an effort to better understand how human identity is negotiated in relation to animals and nature. Social movements have formed in Idaho both opposing and supporting wolf conservation. This paper examines a range of qualitative data sources from both the pro-wolf and anti-wolf social movements and finds that the movements have very different conceptions of humans’ identity in relation to nature. These identities are situated in ideologies regarding the mechanics of nature, embedded in social movement networks, and allocated to and acted out in place. 
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University of Arizona

The Rangelands West collection includes articles, websites, reports, and multimedia resources focused on issues relevant to the Western U.S.  Also included are resources emanating from the 19 land-grant universitires that are members of the Rangelands Partnership and made available throught their respective state Rangelands websites.