Feb 28, 2010

Denali Wolves

Wolves have been controversial in Alaska for many decades. In fact, wolves have been controversial in many other states and around the globe. But none are so controversial as the wolves who live in Denali Park and the land surrounding the park.

Here is a news article that briefly describes the latest conflict: http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/6490848/article-Board-of-Game-ponders-wolf-trapping-in-Denali-buffer-zone?instance=home_news_window_left_top_1
The issue is whether to expand or eliminate a buffer zone around Denali Park that will protect the park's wolves when they wander outside the park's boundaries.

Regardless of your own personal opinion, consider the issue sociologically. How would a structural functionalist analyze the proposed elimination of the buffer zone? What kind of symbolic communication would a symbolic interaction notice? What would a conflict theorist say about the opposing groups and the ideologies that have been invented?

Thanks to http://www.alaskawolves.org/ for the photo of two Denali wolves.

1 comment:

  1. I have several ways of looking at this issue and wolf protection/management which over the years has had the premises of its argument change over and over yet the conclusion still remains the same. I believe the structural functionalist would see this as attempting to manage two different societal mechanisms, the subsistence living people who use the lands as a means of getting food and fur goods and the mechanism of using the lands as a means of getting tourism income. The people in the area around Healey (which is roughly the area outside the park they are talking about)and for that matter many other people from around the interior, use that land for hunting moose mostly. The tourism industry uses it for what they do best...showing it to tourist. The structural functionalist I think would see the issue of the wolf control as trying to find a happy medium for both sides. The Conflict theorist I believe would have a hay day with this. There are two completely different competing interests here, the Tourism industry and the locals. From the conflict perspective the tourism industry appears to be trying to gain power over what can be done on land with the wildlife, they (tourism) thinks the wildlife should be protected so the "400,000"(I am skeptical about this number) people who come here to see wildlife can get a glimpse of a wolf pack....the locals want it for hunting and trapping and could care less about the tourist. The ideology of the pro-protection group seems to be one fueled by emotion over the rights of the wolves to live and backed by the notion that the tourism industry is suffering because the wolves are not protected. For the local crowed it seems to be one of the wolves being a natural resource with the rights in question belonging to the people who live there, not the wolves.....more comment to follow later, I got class right now.


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