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Science, Markets and Power: Adolf Severin Jensen in the Debate over Greenland's Fisheries Development during the Early Twentieth Century

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As a fisheries consultant to the colonial administration, Adolf Severin Jensen (1866-1953) followed, and was an active commentator on, all stages of the commercialisation of Greenland's fishing industry - from its early assessment shortly after 1900 to the sector's peak in the 1930s, and the first signs of a changing trend in the 1940s. This paper puts Jensen's perceptions of Greenlandic fisheries in dialogue with the ideas of scientific rationalisation, economic efficiency and colonial power. The accounts of the fisheries scientist offer a glimpse into the complicated interplay of applied science in natural resource exploitation and state interests at the turn of the twentieth century. His research agenda was coined by the goals of fisheries science to connect knowledge production to markets. However, Jensen's findings also merged with Denmark's aim to secure its colonial authority in Greenland and to exert effective power over both resources and people.
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Keywords: Greenland; colonial history; environmental authority; fisheries; fisheries science; modernisation; resource exploration

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 4, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Science, Markets and Power: Adolf Severin Jensen in the Debate over Greenland’s Fisheries Development during the Early Twentieth Century".

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  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 0.698. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.806.
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