Advertisement

On the power of a spatial metaphor: Is female to land as male is to sea?

  • Enrique Alonso-PoblaciónEmail author
  • Anke Niehof
Research
  • 12 Downloads

Abstract

The spatial metaphor that links women to land and men to sea has modelled the explanations of many social scientists interested in women’s roles in the fisheries sector worldwide, which—in turn—inspired development interventions and policy development in fisheries. The metaphor is also reflected in many culturally underpinned normative emic models that structure the sexual division of labour in fishing, fish processing and marketing and in family traditions in fisher communities across cultures and countries. Building upon an ethnographic example from Galicia (Spain) and linking the analysis to global examples available in the literature, we bridge the gap between the local and the global by analysing the denials that the use of the spatial metaphor portrays. In doing so, the paper explores the dual power of this metaphor—in both etic accounts and emic models—and its performative dimensions. Whereas in some socio-cultural contexts, land-based activities can be a source of power and the spatial metaphor may be a useful tool with analytical potential; we conclude that its use may result in a denial of the variety of women’s actual roles, contributions and importance in the sector. Additionally, the metaphor removes the interconnections between spaces, blurs the liminal areas of the coastal fringe and denies diversity, including class differences. In sum, the metaphor strengthens the ideological connection between fishing and capturing fish at sea, preventing women from enjoying full rights as fishers.

Keywords

Gender Fisheries Gendered spaces Liminal zones Mutual dependencies (Dis)empowerment 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the editors for their bibliographic suggestions.

References

  1. Acheson, J.M. 1981. Anthropology of fishing. Annual Review of Anthropology 10: 275–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alencar, E.F. 1993. Gênero E Trabalho Nas Sociedades Pesqueiras. In Povos Das Águas: Realidade E Perspectivas Na Amazônia, ed. L. Furtado, W. Leitão, and A.F. Melo, 63–81. Belém: Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, P. 1995. Sri Lankan Fishermen Rural Capitalism and Peasant Society. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Alonso-Población, E. 2008 Xénero, Parentesco e Traballo. Un Estudo Antropolóxico no Concello de Laxe. Vigo: Xerais.Google Scholar
  5. Alonso-Población, E. 2014 O mar é femia. Riesgo y trabajo entre los pescadores de una villa costera gallega. Madrid: Ministerio de Educatión, Cultura y Deporte.Google Scholar
  6. Alonso-Población, E. and S.V. Siar. 2018 Women’s participation and leadership in fisherfolk organizations and collective action in fisheries. A review of evidence on enablers, drivers and barriers. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular no. 1159. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  7. Alonso-Población, E., D. Palazón-Monforte, and A. Fidalgo-Castro. 2016. Linking gender, diving and filmmaking: conceptualising film outcomes as narrative capital gains in the making of Wawata Topu (women divers) in West Atauro, Timor-Leste. Asian Fisheries Science 29S: 73–92.Google Scholar
  8. Anna, Z. 2012. The role of fisherwomen in the face of fishing uncertainties on the north coast of Java, Indonesia. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 145–158.Google Scholar
  9. Bennett, E. 2005. Gender, fisheries and development. Marine Policy 29: 451–459.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2004.07.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butler, J. 1997. The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Carsten, J. 1997. The Heat of the Hearth: The Process of Kinship in a Malay Fishing Community. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chapman, M.D. 1987. Women’s fishing in Oceania. Human Ecology 15 (3): 267–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cole, S. 1991. Women of the Praia: Work and Lives in a Portuguese Coastal Community. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Davis, D. 2000. Gendered cultures of conflict and discontent: living ‘the crisis’in a Newfoundland community. Women's Studies International Forum 23 (3): 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De la Torre-Castro, M., S. Fröcklin, S. Börjesson, J. Okupnik, and N. S. Jiddawi. 2017 Gender analysis for better coastal management – increasing our understanding of social-ecological seascapes. Marine Policy 83: 62–74. doi.org/ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2017.05.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deb, A.K., C.E. Haque, and S. Thompson. 2015. ‘Man can’t give birth, woman can’t fish’: gender dynamics in the small-scale fisheries of Bangladesh. Gender, Place and Culture 22 (3): 305–324.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2013.855626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dís Skaptadóttir, U. 2000. Women coping with change in an Icelandic fishing community: a case study. Women's Studies International Forum 23 (3): 311–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. FAO 2015 Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. http://www.fao.org/docrep/field/003/ab825f/AB825F00.htm#TOC.
  19. FAO. 2016. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  20. Firth, R. 1975. Malay Fishermen: Their Peasant Economy. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Fitriani, R., and N. Stacey. 2012. The role of women in the fishery sector of Pantar Island, Indonesia. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 159–175.Google Scholar
  22. Frangoudes, K., B. Marugán-Pintos, and J.J. Pascual-Fernández. 2008. From open access to co-governance and conservation: the case of women shellfish collectors in Galicia (Spain). Marine Policy 32 (2): 223–232.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2007.09.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. García Alonso, J.M. 1987. La quiebra del principio de libertad en los mares y la crisis pesquera mundial. Investigacion Pesquera 51 (2): 131–159.Google Scholar
  24. Gerrard, S. 1995. When women take the lead: changing conditions for women’s activities, roles and knowledge in North Norwegian fishing communities. Social Science Information 34 (4): 593–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gerrard, S. 2018. A book-essay and reflections on Margaret Wilson’s book: seawomen of Iceland: survival on the edge. Maritime Studies 17: 233–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grzetic, B. 2004. Women fishes these days. Halifax NS: Fernwood Publishing.Google Scholar
  27. Gustavsson, M., and M. Riley. 2018. Women, capitals and fishing lives: exploring gendered dynamics in the Llŷn Peninsula small-scale fishery (Wales, UK). Maritime Studies 17: 223–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harper, S., D. Zeller, M. Hauzer, D. Pauly, and U.R. Sumaila. 2013. Women and fisheries: contribution to food security and local economies. Marine Policy 39 (1): 56–63.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2012.10.018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harper, S., C. Grubb, M. Stiles, and U.R. Sumaila. 2017. Contributions by women to fisheries economies: insights from five maritime countries. Coastal Management 45 (2): 91–106.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2017.1278143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jordaan, R.E., and A. Niehof. 1982. Patondu revisited: a case study of modernisation in fishery. Review of Indonesian and Malayan Affairs (RIMA) 16 (2): 83–109.Google Scholar
  31. Kabeer, N. 2005. Gender equality and women’s empowerment: a critical analysis of the third millennium development goal. Gender and Development 13 (1): 13–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kahn, F.N., A.M. Collins, P.K. Nayak, and D. Armitage. 2018. Women’s perspectives of small-scale fisheries and environmental change in Chilika lagoon, India. Martime Studies 17: 145–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kim, S. 2003. Jeju Island women divers’ Association in South Korea: a source of social capital. Asian Journal of Women's Studies 9 (1): 37–59+105.  https://doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2003.1165942.
  34. Kleiber, D.L. 2014 Gender and small-scale fisheries in the Central Philippines. Vancouver: University of British Columbia. [PhD Thesis].Google Scholar
  35. Kleiber, D., L.M. Harris, and A.C.J. Vincent. 2014. Improving fisheries estimates by including women’s catch in the Central Philippines. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71 (5): 656–664.  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2013-0177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kleiber, D., L.M. Harris, and A.C.J. Vincent. 2015. Gender and small-scale fisheries: a case for counting women and beyond. Fish and Fisheries 16 (4): 547–562.  https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kleiber, D., L.M. Harris, and A.C.J. Vincent. 2018. Gender and marine protected areas: a case study of Danajon Bank, Philippines. Maritime Studies 17: 163–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kusnadi. 2001. Pangamba’: Kaum Perempuan Fenomenal – Pelopor dan Penggerak Perekonomian Masyarakat Nelayan [Pangamba’: a phenomenal group of women – leaders in the economy of fishing communities]. Bandung: Humaniora Utama Press.Google Scholar
  39. Li, S. 2012. Why do Korean women dive? A discussion from the viewpoint of gender. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 47–58.Google Scholar
  40. Lim, C.P., and A. Laowapong. 2012. Edging up the ladder: the women in Ban Thung Maha, Thailand. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 93–101.Google Scholar
  41. Lim, C.P., Y. Ito, and Y. Matsuda. 2012. Braving the sea: the Amasan (women divers) of the Yahataura fishing community, Iki Island, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 29–45.Google Scholar
  42. Marugán Pintos, B. 2004. E Colleron Ese Tren. Profesionalización Das Mariscadoras Galegas. Santiago de Compostela: Xunta de Galicia.Google Scholar
  43. Moore, H.L. 1993. The differences within and the differences between. In Gendered anthropology, ed. T. del Valle, 193–205. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Motta-Maués, M.A. 1999. Pesca de homem/peixe de mulher: Repensando o campo do género na literatura académica sobre comunidades pesqueiras no Brasil. Etnográfica III 2: 377–399 http://ceas.iscte.pt/etnografica/docs/vol_03/N2/Vol_iii_N2_377-400_.pdf.Google Scholar
  45. Munk-Madsen, E. 2000. Wife the deckhand, husband the skipper: authority and dignity among fishing couples. Women's Studies International Forum 23 (3): 333–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nadel-Klein, J. 2000. Granny baited the lines: perpetual crisis and the changing role of women in Scottish fishing communities. Women's Studies International Forum 23 (3): 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nadel-Klein, J. and D.L. Davis. 1988a Introduction: gender in the maritime arena. In: J. Nadel-Klein and D.L. Davis (Eds), To Work and to Weep. Women in Fishing Economies, pp. 1–17 . St. John’s: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Insitute of Social and Economic Research.Google Scholar
  48. Nadel-Klein, J. And D.L. Davis (Eds). 1988b To Work and To Weep: Women in Fishing Economies. [social and economic papers no. 18]. St. John’s: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Institute of Social and Economic Research.Google Scholar
  49. Niehof, A. 1985. Women and Fertility in Madura. Leiden: Leiden University [PhD Thesis].Google Scholar
  50. Niehof, A. 2007. Fish and female agency in a Madurese fishing village in Indonesia. Moussons 11: 185–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Niehof, A., R.E. Jordaan, and Affandy Santoso. 2005. Technological and social change in a Madurese fishing village (1978-2004). Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (BKI) 161 (4): 397–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nowak, B.S. 2008. Environmental degradation and its gendered impact on coastal livelihoods options among Btsisi’ households of Penninsular Malaysia. Development 51: 186–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Panipilla, R., and T. Marirajan. 2014. A participatory study of the traditional knowledge of fishing communities in the Gulf of Mannar, India. Chennai: International Collective in Support of Fishworkers.Google Scholar
  54. Pham, V.B. 2004. When women go fishing: women’s work in Vietnamese fishing communities. In Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work and Family in Contemporary Asia, ed. L.L. Thang and W. Yu, 163–184. Leiden and Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  55. Porter, M. 1985. She was a skipper of the shore-crew! Notes on the history of the sexual division of labour in Newfoundland. Labour/Le Travail 15: 105–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Porter, M. 2012. Why the coast matters for women: a feminist approach to research on fishing communities. Asian Fisheries Science 25S: 59–73.Google Scholar
  57. Porter, M., and R.G. Mbezi. 2014. From hand to mouth: fishery projects, women, men and household poverty. Canadian Journal of Development Studies 31 (3–4): 37–41.Google Scholar
  58. Romaní García, A. 1987. Catalanes en las costas de Galicia. Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos 37 (102): 185–226 Santiago de Compostela: Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sar Miento.Google Scholar
  59. Salmi, P., and K. Sonck-Rautio. 2018. Invisible work, ignored knowledge? Changing gender roles, division of labor, and household strategies in Finnish smal-scale fisheries. Maritime Studies 17: 213–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Thiessen, V., A. Davis, and S. Jentoft. 1992. The veiled crew: an exploratory study of wives’ reported and desired contributions to coastal fisheries enterprises in Northern Norway and Nova Scotia. Human Organization 51 (4): 342–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Thompson, P. 1985. Women in the fishing: the roots of power between the sexes. Comparative Studies in Society and History 27 (1): 3–32.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417500013645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Turgo, N.N. 2014. Redefining and experiencing masculinity in a Philippine fishing community. Philippine Sociological Review 62: 7–38.Google Scholar
  63. Udong, E., A. Niehof, and A. van Tilburg. 2010. The livelihood strategies of women fish traders in adapting to cultural and institutional constraints in Ibaka, Nigeria. Maritime Studies 9 (2): 65–95.Google Scholar
  64. Walker, B.L.E. 2001. Sisterhood and seine-nets: engendering development and conservation in Ghana’s marine fishery. The Professional Geographer 53 (2): 160–177.  https://doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.00277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Walker, B.L.E., and M. Robinson. 2009. Economic development, marine protected areas and gendered access to fishing resources in a Polynesian lagoon. Gender, Place and Culture 16 (4): 467–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weeratunge, N., K.A. Snyder, and P.S. Choo. 2010. Gleaner, fisher, trader, processor: understanding gendered employment in fisheries and aquaculture. Fish and Fisheries 11 (4): 405–420.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00368.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Willson, Margaret. 2016. Seawomen of Iceland. Survival on the Edge. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  68. World Bank, FAO, WorldFish Center, ARD. 2012 Hidden Harvest. The Global Contribution of Capture Fisheries. Washington DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  69. Yodanis, C.L. 2000. Constructing gender and occupational segregation: a study of women and work in fishing communities. Qualitative Sociology 23 (3): 267–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology LabVigoSpain
  2. 2.Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)Wageningen UniversityWageningenNetherlands

Personalised recommendations