Heritage with cows. Conserving Nordic human and nonhuman animals

Charlotte Kroløkke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper takes a critical heritage approach to understanding the ways that the conservation of Nordic Mountain cows gets animated as a form of Nordic heritage. Today, Nordic Mountain cows are found in the Northern regions of Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Based on an archive of mediated material (websites, YouTube videos, and social media activism), policy documents as well as interviews with Nordic farm animal genetic resources directors, the paper analyzes how conservation becomes imagined. Viewing the conservation of Nordic Mountain cows as entangled with imaginaries of traditional ways of life, a Northern Nordic (endangered) landscape, and the potential for high quality, ethically sound Nordic heritage products; conservation gets imagined as a rescue technology preserving ‘native’ and ‘endangered’ breeds in the making of sustainable consumer goods and Nordic cultural heritage. The conservation of Nordic Mountain cows goes beyond the potentially endangered species, however, to the reiteration of Nordic exceptionalism and the promise of a pure (and white) Nordic biocultural refuge of human-nonhuman animal relations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)955-969
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Conservation
  • Critical Cultural
  • Heritage
  • Human-Nonhuman animals
  • Nordic


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