Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 401–413 | Cite as

Illegal fishing and hunting as resistance to neoliberal colonialism

  • M. Nils PetersonEmail author
  • E. von Essen
  • H. P. Hansen
  • T. R. Peterson


This essay offers a critical overview of how neoliberal colonialism has nurtured wildlife crime in many contexts, and discusses future research avenues opened by incorporating a critique of neoliberalism into wildlife criminology studies. Specifically we suggest neoliberalism’s tendency to convert nature into alienable property and exclude people who do not accept subjugation as eco-rational subjects has created its own brand of wildlife crime by construing those participating in previously acceptable subsistence and recreational activities as criminal deviants. We suggest this phenomenon is widespread, occurring in North America, Europe, and the global south, and promotes ever more draconian deterrence models for addressing wildlife crime. We conclude by suggesting that future research should include analyses of (1) how people violating harvest regulations frame the political context and its impact on their livelihoods, (2) how the subjectification process linked to neoliberal colonialism influences wildlife crime, (3) how alienation of labor contributes to illegal wildlife harvest, and (4) the spatial geography of how neoliberal colonialism influences illegal wildlife harvest.


Colonialism Governmentality Neoliberalism Poaching Wildlife 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Nils Peterson
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. von Essen
    • 2
  • H. P. Hansen
    • 2
  • T. R. Peterson
    • 3
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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