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Moral EntanglementsConserving Birds in Britain and Germany$
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Stefan Bargheer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376639

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226543963.001.0001

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A Bird’s Eye View

A Bird’s Eye View

Chapter:
(p.1) Prologue A Bird’s Eye View
Source:
Moral Entanglements
Author(s):

Stefan Bargheer

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226543963.003.0001

At the beginning of Stefan Bargheer’s account of bird watching, field ornithology, and nature conservation in Britain and Germany stands a tiny island in the North Sea. The square-mile outcrop midway between the two countries is the site for an impressive diversity of birdlife and a not less-astonishing variety of ways to relate to birds. Over the last two centuries, the birds passing the island en masse during migration season were used for many different purposes, ranging from food sources, hunting trophies and museum specimens, to rarities ticked off on the collecting lists of bird watchers. This diversity makes the island an ideal point of departure for introducing the empirical case of this study and its three central research questions: Why are birds the most popular aspect of nature among both amateurs and professionals? What accounts for the differences in the value attributed to birds in the two countries? And how can we explain the timing of the emergence of organized bird conservation and its transformation over time? By answering these questions, the study aims to contribute to the sociology of morality.

Keywords:   morality, value change, comparative research, historical research

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