Maritime Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 133–143 | Cite as

Gendered livelihoods in the global fish-food economy: a comparative study of three fisherfolk communities in Kerala, India

  • Holly M. Hapke
  • Devan Ayyankeril


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.


Gender 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversity of California-IrvineIrvineUSA

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