’Societal Interests demands that this splendor remains in the hands of the village”: The Issue of Usage and Ownership of Norwegian Mountain Ranges, 1915-1940.

Nya Fest Session 6: There ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough: Ownership, redistribution, and extraction of natural resources, 1800-2000 organized by Kasper Hage Stjern


Kasper Hage Stjern


Around the turn of the twentieth century, state regulatory ambitions and interventions increased in favor of economic nationalism. A key part of this economic nationalism was the issue of natural resources, namely who owned and benefitted from the usage of these resources. Previous research has shown that this was not a uniform phenomenon, and that how these issues manifested differed from country to country, and region to region. Norway implemented a number of laws around this time that regulated a number of resources, such as watercourses, minerals, forests, limestone, farmland, and so on. However, one of these laws concerned mountain ranges, which was as much about who had access to nature as it was about the extraction of resources. This paper is a qualitative empirical study of the law regulating mountain ranges from its implementation in 1915 until 1940. The paper combines parliamentary papers and the archival material from the agency tasked with managing the regulatory regime for mountain ranges to examine both the reasoning for regulation, and how it was implemented in practice. The study finds that social considerations such as local communities’ access to hunting and nature were as important as the economic benefits arising from grazing and the sale of hunting rights.


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