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Thursday, June 27 • 13:00 - 14:30
Fishy Feminsts (2)

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Chaired by: Gustavsson, M. & Knott, C.

Fishy Feminists (1): Drawing on the Past to Imagine Feminist Futures of Seas and Coasts
Christine Knott & Madeleine Gustavsson
Memorial University & University of Exeter


Feminist theory has a long history of informing gendered aspects of fisheries in select pockets of mostly social science literatures (Frangoudes and Gerrard 2018). The development of these literatures over time have included a broadening of analysis in regard to both topics and subjects, moving away from focusing on just women in female dominated roles to understanding the ways in which changes to fisheries have gendered consequences, including masculinities (Fabinyi 2007; Power 2008; Turgo 2014). The variety of topics that have been taken up include, for example, waterscapes, climate change (Musinguzi et al. 2017), aquaculture (Williams et al. 2005), food security (Allison 2013; Harper et al. 2013) and ocean governance and conservation (Gissi 2018). More recently efforts to understand how individuals lived experiences within multiple sometime conflicting identities offer experiences of privilege and/or discrimination via intersectionality (Lokuge 2017). Some of the recent work also provides unique feminist theoretical viewpoints (Probyn 2016), and critiques gender as a practical or applicable concept in some fishery communities (Bennett 2005). This proposed workshop panel brings together new and seasoned researchers who are building on historical feminist informed lenses to further our understanding of fisheries and aquaculture workers and communities in new ways.


This is the 2nd session in a series of 2.
Exploitation and Expectations: The Dynamics of Masculinity in Off-shore Fishing Labour
Georgina Alonso

This paper consists of a feminist political ecology analysis of off-shore fishing labour in Southeast Asia, asking how gendered pressures and practices are linked to poor working conditions in off-shore fisheries. As the vast majority of off-shore fishing labour is done by men, this paper focuses on the masculinities embodied by fishers, captains and boat owners, as well as the connections to other intersecting identities and forms of power. This paper seeks to unpack how notions of masculinity contribute to or help sustain exploitative fishing labour. The links to ecological decline are also importantly examined as declining fish stocks push commercial fishing boats into more dangerous conditions further into the high-seas where extreme labour abuses have more frequently been found to exist. In the context of a recent warning that the continuation of unsustainable fishing practices at the current pace will lead to a complete collapse of fish stocks in the Asia Pacific by 2048, the exposure of slavery scandals in the seafood sector across Southeast Asia, and the numerous Southeast Asian countries facing possible trade sanctions from the European Union for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, this research is particularly important. Although some research exists regarding gender and masculinities in fishing, there is limited research that links labour, ecology and gender, a gap which this paper seeks to address.

Women’s contributions to fisheries through a feminisation lens
Madeleine Gustavsson

Researchers have recently called for more research on the socio-cultural lifeworlds of fishing but these discussions have so far not filter through to methodological considerations. This paper draws on my experiences as a doctoral researcher, investigating the socio-cultural context of fishers and fishing, using various qualitative in-depth techniques in interviews with fishers and fishing family member. Taking inspiration from discussions within feminist, rural and socio-cultural geography, the paper will first explore practical and ethical issues around getting access and fitting in with the rhythms of fishing. Second, the paper examines how the particular field of fishing, where fishers navigate their individuality with a sense of being part of a community, needs to be taken into consideration when conducting interviews. Third, this paper explores some particular challenges of getting access to the stories of women in fishing families and the different social dynamics which interviews with fishing families can constitute. On a fourth note, the paper will highlight some issues around ethical interviewing as well as a discussion of positionality present within research in a male-dominated environment. The paper concludes with some recommendations for future research and calls for a broader engagement with methodologies in social research on fisheries.

A framework to enhance women’s work in value adding activities in small-scale fisheries
Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez & Holly Hapke

Women’s work along the fisheries value-chains, mainly in processing and selling activities, is enhancing household income and transforming social dynamics in some local cultures. But this work remains unrecognized and undervalued, and women continue to be excluded from decision making. Therefore, one of the major challenges in fisheries research is to find ways to enhance the value of women’s paid and unpaid activities and representation along the fisheries value chain. A step to achieve this is to develop a model that combines socioeconomic and strategic management perspectives. Therefore, this study aims to construct a theoretical framework to analyze how female fish processing activities create value and enhance competitive advantage along the fisheries value chain. This framework combines the Resource-Knowledge-Based-View (RKBV) and Value-Chain-Analysis (VCA). The RKBV considers knowledge, in this case female-knowledge, as a source for capability creation, in other words a value-creating-strategy. VCA is used as diagnostic-assessment tool to understand and describe how and in which links the operations performed by women create value that is then transformed into surplus. Findings should emphasize that: a) to make gender visible in fisheries it is necessary to identify how and where value and profit are created by women in each node of the value chain, b) the necessity of combining quantitative and qualitative analyses to understand and explain how women in fisheries’ real life perspectives make their living from fish resources, and c) the importance of the valuable assets emerging from women’s work and general contribution in small-scale fisheries. Therefore, recognizing the value women’s activities have, is a key element to confer them power and to make visible an invisible workforce.

Feminists Theorizing Fisheries: Roots and Futures
Christine Knott, Barbara Neis & Nicole Power






Thursday June 27, 2019 13:00 - 14:30
REC A2.10 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam