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Deconstructing the Poaching Phenomenon: A Review of Typologies for Understanding Illegal Hunting

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2014 Pages: 632-651
Erica von Essen; Hans Peter Hansen; Helena Nordstrom Kallstrom; M. Nils Peterson; Tarla Rai Peterson
Date Published
July 2014
20 pages
After reviewing how illegal hunting ("poaching") has been framed by research, this article calls for a more integrative understanding of poaching that views it as a political phenomenon driven by the concept of defiance and radicalization rather than as a crime or deviance.
Within the existing literature, three approaches are pursued for studying illegal hunting: drivers of the deviance, profiling perpetrators, and categorizing the crime. Within the "drivers of deviance" approach, Muth and Bowe's (1998) comprehensive list of drivers for illegal hunting summarize much of the research. Identified drivers are recreational satisfaction, thrill killing, trophy poaching, gamesmanship, protection of self and property, commercial gain, household consumption, poaching as rebellion, poaching as a traditional right, and disagreement with particular game and wildlife regulations. The second approach to explaining illegal hunting has profiled individuals committing the crime. This has proven difficult, because the same offenders can take on different profiles over time and in different contexts, which resists a static typology. A third approach in the study of illegal hunting categorizes the forms of illegal hunting into types of crime. The three leading categorizations of poaching are livelihood crime, folk crime, and social protest. These boundaries are rarely discrete, however. Given the limitations of each of the three traditional approaches in the study of illegal crime, this article proposes criminology's defiance theory (Sherman, 1993) as a way forward. Defiance consists of a cluster of actions and attitudes that include dissent, resistance, rebellion, and civil disobedience. Defiance theory and associated models of radicalization may assist in shifting depictions of illegal hunting from a deviance of criminal minds to being viewed as a growing phenomenon of rural defiance against authoritative management regimes viewed as having no legitimacy. 94 references