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Elemental problems, methodical solutions: expertise, ecology and entertainment in the study of marine mammals

Abstract

This paper examines the development of socio-technical strategies and practices for the study and display of marine mammals. It considers how techniques initially developed for terrestrial use were deployed under marine conditions, not least through the adaptation of strategies and habits originating in industry, commerce and the military, in order to facilitate researchers’ access to their subjects. In particular, it examines how these methodological developments intersected with the terrestrial display of marine mammals. Throughout, it shows how the agency of the animals under observation had a key role to play in the emergence of cetology as a profession and as a form of knowledge.

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