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Author Biography

Elvira Caselunghe is a PhD student in Environmental Communication at the Department of Urban and Rural Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her thesis investigates deliberative democracy in the context of nature conservation.

Hanna Bergeå, PhD, is a researcher in Environmental Communication at the Department of Urban and Rural Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her research involves interpersonal communication practices in the field of agricultural extension and natural resource management. She also acts as a vice dean for external collaboration at the faculty.

Erica von Essen, PhD, is a postdoc researcher in Environmental Communication at the Department of Urban and Rural Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her research is on human-wildlife conflicts, hunting and animal ethics. Illegal hunting as a form of dissent in the Nordic countries was the topic for her PhD thesis.

Abstract

In this paper we explore in which ways and to what extent Swedish visitor centres in protected sites work as forums for public deliberation on environmental issues, such as nature conservation and natural resource management. By hosting deliberations on nature in nature the deliberation process is connected to its materiality. Nature interpretation sessions at three such centres, called naturum, were analysed to achieve a picture that displays the range of content and formats of these guided tours. To explore their deliberative democratic potential, we also examine how these nature interpretation sessions relate to societal and democratic issues in different ways. The conclusions are that naturum has an underdeveloped capacity to serve as a communicative forum for public deliberation on the environment and that the new national guidelines for naturum may contribute to renewed roles of the guide and the visitor in interpretive sessions, in which the citizen will be in focus.

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