This paper details the process of bottom-up crafting of by-laws to the state fishery laws in Zambia, the initial empirical case informing the development of the constitutionality concept. It explores the historical, political as well as environmental and economic conditions on which the process of sense of ownership of the institution building process came to be. The role of the researchers as well as the process of crafting new rules in a situation of an absent state but which is ideologically present as the owner of the resource are discussed. Furthermore, we underline that for this process the issue of bargaining power in communities that are very heterogeneous is a major challenge to a fair process for the crafting of institutions. The paper explains the main factors leading to what Haller et al. have labeled “constitutionality” addressing these power disparities. However, a clear examination of the process of the by-law crafting, including the content of the by-laws themselves, reveals that newly crafted institutions developed by local actors a) go beyond pure resource governance issues to include other areas related to fisheries (health and sanitation), b) address vital gender and power relations, and c) show high innovation potential to interrelate governance issues that are locally important but not addressed in fragmented state governance.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The notion of ‘local’ is complex, referring as it does not just to members of an ethnic group but also to people engaged in a place and stable social relations over time. This included, e.g., Lozi fishermen in permanent camps, who had migrated to the area decades ago.
Acciaioli, G. (2008). Environmentality reconsidered: Indigenous to Lindu conservation strategies and the reclaiming of the commons in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. In Galvin, M., and Haller, T. (eds.), People, protected areas and global change: Participatory conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Perspectives of the NCCR North South, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Agrawal, A. (2005). Environmentality. Technologies of government and the making of subjects. Duke University Press.
Béné, C., and Merten, S. (2008). Women and fish-for-sex: Transactional sex, HIV/AIDS and gender in African fisheries. World Development 36(5):875–899.
Berkes, F. (1999). Sacred ecology. Traditional ecological knowledge, and resource managment. Philadelphia, USA: Tylor and Francis.
Biersack, A. (1999). Introduction: From the "new ecology" to the new ecologies author(s). American Anthropologist 101(1):5–18.
Blaikie, P. (2006) Is small really beautiful? Community-based natural resource management in Malawi and Botswana. World Development 34(11):1942–1957.
Brockington, D., Duffy, R., and Igoe, J. (2008). Nature unbound. The past, present and future of protected areas. Earthscan.
Burchell, G., Gordon, C., and Miller, P. (1991). The Foucault effect. Studies in governmentality with two lectures by and an interview with Michel Foucault. University of Chicago Press.
Carlsson, L., and Berkes, F. (2005). Co-management: Concepts and methodological implications. Journal of Environmental Management 75:65–76.
Chabwela, H., and Haller, T. (2010). Governance issues, potentials and failures of participatory collective action in the Kafue Flats, Zambia. International Journal of the Commons 4(2):621–642.
Cook, B., and Kothari, U. (2001). Participation the new Tyranny? Zed Books.
Ferguson, J. (1999). Expectations of modernity. Myths and meanings of urban life on the Zambian Copperbelt. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Ferguson, J. (2015). Give a man a fish. Reflections on the new politics of distribution. Duke University Press, Durham and London, UK.
Foucault, M. (1982). The order of discourse. In Young, R. (ed.), Using the text: A post-structural reader, Routledge & Keagan Paul, New York, USA, pp. 48–78.
Galvin, M., and Haller, T. (2008). People, protected areas and global change. Participatory conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research NCCR North-South, University of Bern, Vol. 3 Geographica Bernensia.
Haller, T. (ed) (2010). Disputing the floodplains. African Social Studies Series, Brill.
Haller, T. (2013). The contested floodplain, Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.
Haller, T., and Merten, S. (2008). "We are Zambians, don't tell us how to fish!" Institutional change, power relations and conflicts in the Kafue Flats fisheries in Zambia. Human Ecology 36:699–715.
Haller, T., and Merten, S. (2010). “We had cattle and did not fish and hunt anyhow!” Institutional change and contested commons in the Kafue Flats floodplain (Zambia). In Haller, T. (ed.), Disputing the floodplains: Institutional change and the politics of resource management in African wetlands. African Social Studies Series, Leiden, Brill. pp. 301–360.
Haller, T., and Merten, S. (2013). Losing the commons – fighting with magic: Institutional change, fortress conservation and livelihood strategies of the Batwa, Kafue Flats floodplain, Zambia. In Bond, V. and Cliggett, L. (eds.) Tonga timeline. Limbani Trust / ABC books, Lusaka, ZAM / Oxford, UK, pp. 207–238.
Haller, T., et al. (2008). Who gains from community conservation? Intended and unintended costs and benefits of participative approaches in Peru and Tanzania. Journal of Environmental & Development 17(2):118–144.
Haller, T., Acciaioli, G., and Rist, S. (2016). Constitutionality: Conditions for crafting local ownership of institution-building processes. Society & Natural Resources 29(1):68–87.
Larson, A., and Ribot, J. (2004). Democratic decentralization through a natural resource lens. European Journal of Development Research 16(1):1–25.
Merten, S., and Haller, T. (2007). Culture, changing livelihoods, and HIV/AIDS discourse: Reframing the institutionalization of fish-for-sex exchange in the Zambian Kafue Flats. Culture, Health & Sexuality 9(1).
Merten, S., and Haller, T. (2008). Property rights, food security and child growth: Dynamics of insecurity in the Kafue Flats of Zambia. Food Policy 33(5):434.
Mhlanga, L., Nyikahadozi, K, and Haller, T. (2014). Fragmentation of natural resources management: Experiences from Lake Kariba Berlin/Münster/Zürich/London. Defragmenting African Resource Management (DARMA) Series.
Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons. Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton University Press.
Ribot, J. (2012). Decentralisation, participation, and accountability in the Sahelian forestry. Legal instruments of political-adminstrative control. Africa 69(1):23–65.
Sahlins, M. (1963). Poor man, rich man, big man, chief. Political types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5: 285–303.
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Haller, T., Merten, S. Crafting Our Own Rules: Constitutionality as a Bottom-Up Approach for the development of By-Laws in Zambia. Hum Ecol 46, 3–13 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-017-9917-2
- Fishery commons
- By-law development