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Communication and Culture for Development: Contributions to Artisanal Fishers’ Wellbeing in Coastal Uruguay


The combination of the concepts of Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) and social representations offers a relevant methodological framework to investigate how the exercise of the capacity of voice by vulnerable populations can alter positively aspects related to their wellbeing and aspirations. These alterations can contribute directly to development since they relate to people’s “capacity of voice,” in the sense of Arjun Appadurai. Using the First Artisanal Fisheries Festival in Piriápolis (coastal Uruguay, 2012) as a case study –an activity of communication for development arisen from a participatory action research group – we investigated how the exercise of fishers’ capacity of voice promoted a change in the figurative nucleus of their self-representation. Semi-structured interviews with 12 informants were performed. The results show that the Fisheries Festival tackled at least four material aspects of wellbeing: catch, boat, fishing gear, and knowledge. Subjective wellbeing implications were also found as the Festival confirmed fishing as a way of life and added value to the existence of the fishers by recirculating positive values about them. In terms of relational wellbeing (the third dimension), the Festival approach to fishers’ representation transcended to other sectors of society while enriching their original connection with the environment. In conclusion, there was a change in the fishers’ terms of recognition, placing them in a more advantaged position to negotiate their own interests. This modification to existent cultural consensus about fishers in Piriápolis will have a positive effect in their future existence, thus contributing to development.


  • WeD approach
  • Social representations
  • Aspirations
  • Capacities
  • Participatory research
  • Fisheries

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Correspondence to Paula Santos or Micaela Trimble .

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Santos, P., Trimble, M. (2018). Communication and Culture for Development: Contributions to Artisanal Fishers’ Wellbeing in Coastal Uruguay. In: Servaes, J. (eds) Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change. Springer, Singapore.

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