Connectivity and Restructuring: identity and gender relations in a fishing community
Until very recently, fishing communities have sustained themselves through their reliance upon the sea, in the context of cultures that have resisted outside forces of change. With the increasing impacts of environmental degradation and globalisation, these communities are undergoing rapid change, not only in terms of economic restructuring, but fundamentally in areas of social and spatial relations. Focussing on the concepts of connectivity and proximity within a framework of Mead's (1934) social interactionism, this article shows how histories of migration, mobility and communication underpin the consequences of these changing realities for gender relations in a small island fishing community on Canada's east coast. It highlights the contradictions and paradoxes intrinsic to the choices women are having to make, and argues that understanding historical context, both as affecting mobility and as a source of rootedness, is crucial in the illumination of this process of change. Based on interviews over 5 years, the article looks specifically at the roles of in- and out-migration, tourism, technologies and external relations associated with aquaculture, the mass media, and new communications technologies, as agents of change.
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