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A Texel fishing lineage: the social dynamic and economic logic of family firms

By R. van Ginkel


In the 1970s and early 1980s, several maritime anthropologists and sociologists pointed out that for a number of economic, social and psychological reasons, the performance of commercial fishing firms based on kin-based capital and labour was highly adaptive. For this reason, most crews in the North Atlantic area seemed to be organized around a core of agnatic relatives with women playing important shore-based roles. As of the early 1990s, the attention of anthropologists and sociologists shifted away from ‘classical’ themes such as the social organization of fishing to issues of policy and management, particularly property rights regimes and rights-based fishing. Consequently, the topic of kin and family in the fisheries disappeared into the background. Nonetheless, it would appear that family firms are still predominant in the fisheries. In this paper, I will analyze their logic and dynamic in conditions of ecological, economic and political uncertainty, using ethnographic material from research in Dutch fishing communities on the island of Texel. Considerable attention will be devoted to the issue of what rights-based management regimes have meant for the social organization of and kin involvement in fishing firms

Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s40152-014-0010-9
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Provided by: NARCIS
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