'Emergent aliens': on salmon, nature and their enactment

Lien, Marianne Elisabeth and Law, John (2011). 'Emergent aliens': on salmon, nature and their enactment. Ethnos, 76(1) pp. 65–87.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2010.549946


Atlantic salmon aquaculture has become one of the most profitable industries in Norway, a country which is also known for its large population of wild salmon. We explore some ways in which Atlantic salmon, an icon of wilderness, is enrolled in regimes of domestication. Inspired by material semiotics, we treat domestication as a set of practices whose character defines and enacts Atlantic salmon in different, though partly overlapping ways. Approaching salmon through its various enactments, we also address the foundational division of nature from culture in Euro-American thought. We suggest that the domesticated Atlantic salmon is indeed emergent, complex, and historically contingent. A central claim is that salmon and nature are performed together, through various acts of differentiation that constitute what they both are. This article is based on an ethnographic fieldwork in West Norway.

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