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Community, Economy, and Environment: An Anthropological Case Study of Fisheries Management in Northern Norway

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Olson, Julia
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8, 1996
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5565
Sector: Fisheries
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): fisheries
water resources
Barents Sea
social organization
Abstract: "This paper will examine local-level perceptions and reactions of a common property resources, based on anthropological fieldwork recently conducted in a fishing and whaling village in northern Norway. More specifically, it will examine issues surrounding the Norwegian government's management of both cod and whale stocks by a boat-quota system. The paper employs two main strands of analysis. Firstly, a historically grounded examination of the regional and national political economy will situate recent changes of social organization in these fishing communities. One aspect of change has been the tremendous growth in welfare state activities, which has provided many jobs for women and led to changes in the more traditional household-based production units. Secondly, an analysis of contemporary local-level concerns and conditions will frame the choices and decisions made by fisheries and fisher-families. The combination of increasing occupational specialization and perceived low quotas has led to a variety of transformations and diversifications of production units to meet a number of different goals, such as increasing value-added profit from catches, maintaining family businesses and raising safety levels. A key premise is that relationships to property are informed by moral systems of meaning, where questions of justice and legitimacy are central. Thus exploring the (folk) concept of property, and the rights and obligations associated with it, is essential for understanding compliance and resistance to resource conservation. In so doing, this paper seeks to elucidate the successes and criticisms of fisheries management in northern Norway, as well as to argue for the importance of including cultural analysis in questions of common property management."

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