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Human-Wildlife ConflictComplexity in the Marine Environment$
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Megan Draheim, Francine Madden, Julie-Beth McCarthy, and Chris Parsons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687145.001.0001

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Examining Identity-Level Conflict

Examining Identity-Level Conflict

The Role of Religion

(p.159) 9 Examining Identity-Level Conflict
Human-Wildlife Conflict

Julie-Beth McCarthy

Oxford University Press

An appreciation of religious perspectives when dealing with marine-based human–wildlife conflict acknowledges the fact that worldviews, and the place of the oceans within them, have been heavily influenced by the narratives people use to explain the world. According to conflict transformation theory, conflict that can be interpreted as an attack against a people, culture, or religion is an identity-level conflict. This level of conflict is often rooted in perceptions of power, historical dynamics, the needs of a group/individual, local beliefs, potential prejudices, and desires regarding dignity, respect, autonomy, and recognition. Identity often dictates how a conflict plays out, while also causing people/groups to feel the need to protect their sense of self. The role that religion can play in marine-based human–wildlife conflict is examined through two cases studies. These explore how investigating religious communities’ interpretations of human–wildlife conflict may allow for closer collaborations in the future and at broader management levels. By fostering an understanding of religious narratives—including traditional ecological knowledge (often referred to as TEK), sacred natural sites, and sacred species—it may be possible to create new frames within which to situate marine conservation and may allow for marine conservationists to have a much broader engagement with stakeholders, educators, planners, consumers, and the general public. The resulting solutions would not only address multiple perspectives but would be more effective in garnering just outcomes, leading to a better ability to protect the seas.

Keywords:   human–wildlife conflict, religion, sacred natural sites, sacred species, worldview, marine, TEK, belief, narrative, culture

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