Gendered livelihoods in the global fish-food economy: a comparative study of three fisherfolk communities in Kerala, India
- 50 Downloads
Over the past several decades, global economic relations within the fisheries sector have intensified creating a “global fish-food economy”. Until recently, relatively little attention has been paid to the gendered spatial relations underlying this system and the differential way globalization shapes men and women fish workers’ livelihood options. This paper integrates insights from feminist commodity chain analysis and livelihood analysis to analyze household-level economic data and gendered patterns of labor among three fisherfolk communities in Trivandrum District, Kerala, India. The objective is to investigate the diverse impacts of globalization within fisheries on women and men in local fishing communities. Different gender divisions of labor across the three communities studied inform very different livelihood strategies in response to economic transformations. Thus, globalization in the fisheries plays out differently for men and women in different fishing communities as a result of different configurations of gender, work, culture, identity, and economy and the different ways households and communities are connected to fish economies at different scales. Identifying these differences offers a means by which we might broaden our theoretical understanding of the gendered nature of globalization in resource-based economies.
KeywordsGender Globalization Commodity chains Livelihoods Fish markets India
Support for this research was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation, a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad fellowship, the Association of American Geographers Anne U. White Fund, Syracuse University, and East Carolina University. All findings, conclusions, and/or recommendations are those of the authors alone and do not reflect the view of the National Science Foundation or U.S. Department of Education. We would like to thank the editors and reviewers for their comments and suggestions.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Agnew, John A. 1987. Place and politics: the geographical mediation of state and society. London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
- Aleyamma, V. 1995. Document I: The seafood processing industry and the conditions of migrant women processing workers. In Women in Fisheries Series, No. 1: Public hearing on the struggles of women workers in the fish processing industry in India, June 23–24, ed. Samudra Dossier. Chennai: International Collective in Support of Fishworkers.Google Scholar
- Bair, Jennifer (ed.) 2009. Frontiers of commodity chain research. Palo Alto, CA: Standford University Press.Google Scholar
- Barndt, Deborah. 2002. Tangled routes: women, work, and globalization on the tomato trail. Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Dunaway, Wilma A. (ed) 2014. Gendered commodity chains: seeing women’s work and households in global production. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Ellis, Frank. 2000. Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Friedland, William H. 2004. Agrifood globalization and commodity systems. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 12: 5–16.Google Scholar
- Hapke, Holly M. and Devan Ayyankeril. 2018. Gulf migration and changing patterns of gender identities in a South Indian Muslim community. In Gender, work, and migration: agency in gendered labour settings, eds. Megha Amrith and Nina Sahraoui. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kurien, John. 1984. The marketing of marine fish inside Kerala State: a preliminary study. Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies.Google Scholar
- Kurien, John. 1994. Kerala’s marine fisheries development experience. In Kerala’s economy: performance, problems, prospects, ed. B.A. Prakash, 195–214. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Marcus, George E., and Michael M.J. Fischer. 1986. Anthropology as cultural critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Marine Fisheries Census. 2005. Marine Fisheries Census, Part III – Kerala. New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Cochin: Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Massey, Doreen. 1984. Spatial divisions of labour: social structures and the geography of production. Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Murray, Colin. 2001. Livelihoods research: some conceptual and methodological issues. CPRC Background Paper No. 5. Manchester: Chronic Poverty Research Centre.Google Scholar
- Programme for Community Organization (PCO) and South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS). 1991. Motorisation of fishing units: benefits and burdens: summary report. Trivandrum.Google Scholar
- Ram, Kalpana. 1991. Mukkuvar women: gender, hegemony and capitalist transformation in a South Indian fishing community. New Delhi: Zed Books, Limited.Google Scholar
- Salagrama, V. 2006. Livelihoods in fisheries: what can we do? Discussion paper for FAO-UNTRS. Accessed on-line at: http://www.onefish.org/servlet/CDSServlet?status=ND0yNDM3MzMmY3RuX2luZm9fdmlld19zaXplPWN0bl9pbmZvX3ZpZXdfZnVsbCY2PWVuJjMzPSomMzc9a29z. November 2008.
- Sturgeon, Timothy J. 2009. From commodity chains to value chains: interdisciplinary theory building in an age of globalization. In Frontiers of commodity chain research, ed. Jennifer Bair, 110–135. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar