A whale of a tale: Postcolonialism, critical theory, and deconstruction: Revisiting the international convention for the regulation of Whaling through a socio-legal perspective


This article is a critical interpretation of the indigenous whaling debate, which, although often discussed in legal academia, has received only passing critical attention. As a scholar in the critical theory/critical legal studies model, I am primarily concerned with the impact that law and debates about law have on divergent groups (racial, ethnic, gender, etc.). This article develops a criticism of the United States's postcolonial opposition to whaling, arguing, instead, for cultural relativism. The article indicts U.S. imperialism, and treatment of indigenous peoples, arguing for interdisciplinary analysis and a more keen appreciation for the voice of indigenous peoples. As I often do in my writing, I turn the critical lens back on me, as author, and investigate what it means to write critically for me, personally, and for other scholars who write postcolonial scholarship. The whaling debate is as important now as ever, especially as the issues of natural resource management take on a larger role in international politics. Off-shore drilling and energy exploration in the Arctic are but too examples of the rising importance of these issues. Whaling has largely been viewed as an environmental issue and the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICW) has been construed in terms of international relations and hegemony studies. Those approaches are an excellent contribution to the debate, but what seems to most be missing is a qualitative approach that blends critical theory, history, sociology, and cultural studies to better understand the polarizing whaling discussion.



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