Who has the right - An investigation into the representations of whaling in the Faroe Islands and the Arctic

Roxanne Batty, Mads Lang Olsen, Signe Aabling-Thomsen & Søren Møllnitz Ibsen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This paper sets out to investigate the way in which two documentaries represent whaling. One documentary is by Russia Today, that focuses on the Faroese Pilot Whale Hunt, and another made by the British Broadcasting Corporation, with a focus the Arctic and Inuit whaling. Working on the question of representation on whaling, the paper explores the role colonial history plays in this representation, how the representation of whaling has developed and what role it plays in the documentaries, and how the documentaries differ or overlap. To perform this investigation, the paper makes use of Stuart Hall’s theory of representation. It relates this theory to a thorough research on the development of whaling and on a historically focused explanation of Faroese and Inuit colonial heritage, which it then nuances by drawing on colonial theory by Rob Nixon and Arturo Escobar. To analyse the documentaries, the paper also uses Bill Nichols’ division of modes in filming. Using knowledge gathered on whaling, the whalers, and how the documentaries represent them, the paper discusses problematic power relations in the documentaries. It does so in relation to violence of representation, the deliberate strategies used to represent the practice and practitioners, the dichotomy of civilised and uncivilised, and implicit meanings given to the whalers which create an unequal power relation between the whalers and the intended audience. Drawing on the this discussion, the paper concludes that the documentaries give meaning to the practice of whaling by reproducing uneven colonial power relations towards the Faroese and Inuit, while using modern whaling perceptions to legitimise this reproduction.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato16 dec. 2015
VejledereLars Jensen


  • Inuit
  • Whales
  • Faroe Islands
  • Whaling
  • Representation
  • Faroese
  • Uncivilised
  • Arctic
  • Greenland
  • documentary
  • case study
  • Civilised