Being heard: Thinking through different versions of rationality, epistemological policing and dissonances in marine conservation

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Emerging from ethnographic research conducted on the west coast of South Africa, this paper explores the ways in which fishers contrast their experience of fishing prior to the implementation of the Marine Living Resources Act, and the rise of fortress style conservation in fisheries management. Conservation as rhetoric has been used as a powerful means of supporting and justifying fisheries management objectives. The paper argues that fishers engage with their environments in ways that are different from how management understands human-nature relations. As a consequence, fortress style fisheries management and policing disallow fishers to engage with the sea in the ways that are intrinsic to their fishing practices. This results, in many instances, in curtailing the ways in which fishers are allowed to think about and interact with the sea. With the impending implementation of EAF in South Africa and the global call for working with multiple knowledges, the paper calls for relational ways of engaging in conservation.

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This paper provides an analysis of Yvonne Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea (2019 Owuor, Y.A. 2019. The Dragonfly Sea. New York: Knopf. [Google Scholar]) with a focus on local knowledges of the sea that shore folk and seafarers from Pate Island on the Kenyan coast possess. Attention is paid to how these indigenous knowledges create local, personal, and intimate cartographies of the sea. An examination of this unique, material and intimate seascape reveals the sophisticated forms of knowledge of place that exist outside science. An analysis of the intimate engagements that key characters in the novel have with the sea helps to illustrate the centrality of the ocean to the lives of shore folk and seafarers more generally. This paper reveals that embodied and experiential knowledges offer refreshing ways of engaging with the materiality of the sea.
This paper presents a study of selected oral poems from the Digo community on the Kenyan coast, with the view of interrogating the role such poetry plays in the conservation of the ocean. Owing to the long history and popularity of poetry in the region, the worldview of communities on the Kenyan coast is carried in oral poetry, which is used to address pertinent issues in the society, like ecological violence. For this reason, the discussion of these poems is accompanied by sociological and anthropological information about the challenges that Kenyan coastal communities experience in their efforts to conserve the ocean. The poems provide a critique of human economic activities that are harmful to the marine environment, particularly those involving industries that release toxic wastes into the sea. Whereas the shore folk may not publicly condemn these economic activities, their participation in oral performance positions poetry as an act of protest. The poems also capture the intimate relationship that exists between the Digo and the sea, and in so doing reveals cultural cosmologies that call attention to the role of indigenous knowledge in the conservation of the sea.
The persistent image of the vast, open ocean has led to the underlying idea of the ocean as placeless, devoid of social interactions. The image of ocean as passive and placeless has a direct effect on environmental law and stewardship within maritime space. Further, this conception has led to the persistent belief that the sheer scale of the ocean makes it impervious to human harm. The ocean is expected to take our waste and pollution without repercussions. African Environmental Ethics is a largely ‘landlocked field’ and the chapter will examine Africa’s position in the global ecology. Although marine ecosystems themselves are fluid, cross boundaries and pay no attention to governed borders (Merrie in Global ocean futures: governance of marine fisheries in the Anthropocene. Stockholm, 2016), marine protection requires an understanding of human activities in a placeful environment. Maritime stewardship must be imagined across global and local levels from an organic interconnected and post-local standpoint. Considerations will be made as how African Environmental Ethics can understand and advance environmental marine practices and be used as a site of resistance to new structures of ‘hydro-colonisation’. The chapter will examine practices of marine conservation from the standpoint of African Relational Environmentalism (Behrens in Ontologized ethics: new essays in African meta-ethics. Lexington Books, Lanham, pp. 55–72, 2014; Ojomo in J. Pan Afr. Stud. 4(3):101–113, 2011; Tangwa in A companion to African philosophy. Blackwell Publisher, Oxford, pp. 387–395, 2004) and Janz’s concept of ‘travelling ethics’ (New visions of nature. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 181–195, 2009) as well as exploring ethics from interdisciplinary perspectives drawn from cultural theory and natural sciences. A renegotiation of the ocean space and new ways of imagining global-local ecosystems would seek to overcome the ocean as placeless and understand the interdependence of ‘natural, human and ancestral worlds’ (Wardi in Water and African American memory: an ecocritical perspective. University Press of Florida, Florida, 2011). The purpose of the chapter is to make suggestions for moving African Environmental Ethics into engaging with new discourses, whilst also applying the field to a ‘blue’ ethics of the ocean which has so far been overlooked.
The introduction of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in South Africa in 1998 had a profound effect on the nature of marine resource use and extraction in the province known as the Western Cape. Working at the nexus of state, nature, science and publics, marine compliance inspectors and the MLRA and subsequent policies have been widely criticised as criminalising many in the small-scale fishing sectors, including those who fished on a subsistence basis. Finding that inspectors are widely seen as negative players by publics - both those who are policed, and those who think others are not policed enough - this paper suggests that the inspectors are expected to do a job that the very construction of the job in itself prevents them from doing. Focusing on the inspectors' attempts to establish cooperative relations with resource users, the paper shows that this difficult task is compounded by the methods of bureaucracy, surveillance and violence that current Fisheries Branch management is reliant on. The structural drivers of illegal fishing and the levels of violence associated with policing these activities have resulted in the marginalisation of both small-scale resource users and the inspectors themselves. There is a need to address the reasons for their marginality on the ground, so that the inspectorate will be more likely to achieve the goals set for it by environmental managers: a care for ecology and economy shared by both state and publics and sciences.
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Following the legal recognition of subsistence fishers in 1998 through the promulgation of the Marine Living Resources Act, a Subsistence Fisheries Task Group (SFTG) was appointed by national government to provide recommendations on the management of subsistence fishing in South Africa. To achieve effective management, the SFTG recognized that fishers' needs, perceptions and concerns must be understood and incorporated into future management strategies. As a result, information from fishers was gathered through a five-month research programme that included questionnaire surveys, focus-group meetings, a "roadshow" and a national workshop. Research findings indicated that the fishers' responses centred on four key themes related to (1) the criteria for defining a subsistence fisher, (2) current management practices, (3) resource use and (4) livelihood strategies. Feedback from fishers revealed several issues that have led to uncertainty and dissatisfaction among informal and subsistence fishers. However, these perceptions need to be contextualized within the historical circumstances of fisheries management in South Africa, and it must be recognized that attitudes will only change when management approaches embrace the needs, perceptions and concerns of the users. The information outlined in this paper was instrumental in guiding the formulation of the SFTG recommendations regarding the definition of subsistence fishers and their future management in South Africa.
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This research investigated the drivers and the impact of HIV and Aids in fishing communities in South Africa, in order to assist the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Marine and Coastal Management (DEAT:MCM) with mainstreaming of HIV and Aids into policy on fisheries. The research was based on in-depth analysis of four fishing communities in the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Common Knowledge 10.3 (2004) 450-462 Blessed are the peacemakers. It is always nicer to read a peace proposal (like Ulrich Beck's) than a call for jihad (like Samuel Huntington's). Beck's robust and realist form of cosmopolitanism, expressed in the lead article of this symposium, is to be welcomed. On the other hand, peace proposals make sense only if the real extent of the conflicts they are supposed to settle is understood. A detached and, let us say, inexpensive way of understanding enmity, a Wilsonian indifference to its complexity, may further infuriate the parties to a violent dispute. The problem with Beck's solution is that, if world wars were about issues of universality and particularity, as he makes them out to be, then world peace would have ensued long ago. The limitation of Beck's approach is that his "cosmopolitics" entails no cosmos and hence no politics either. I am a great admirer of Beck's sociology—the only far-reaching one Europe has to offer—and have said so in print on several occasions. What we have here is an argument among friends working together on a puzzle that has defeated, so far, everyone everywhere. Let me make clear from the beginning that I am not debating the usefulness of a cosmopolitan social science that, beyond the boundaries of nation-states, would try to look at global phenomena using new types of statistics and inquiries. I accept this point all the more readily since for me, society has never been the equivalent of nation-state. For two reasons: the first is that the scientific networks that I have spent some time describing have never been limited to national boundaries anyway: global is largely, like the globe itself, an invention of science. The second reason is that, as disciples of Gabriel Tarde know very well, society has always meant association and has never been limited to humans. So I have always been perfectly happy to speak, like Alphonse de Candolle, of "plant sociology" or, like Alfred North Whitehead, of "stellar societies." It should also be clear that I don't take the expression "peace proposal" ironically. On the contrary, it's for me crucial to imagine another role for social science than that of a distant observer watching disinterestedly. Beck is struggling for a mixture of research and normative intervention, and this is exactly what I mean by the new diplomatic role of the social scientist. What is in question between us is the extent to which we are ready to absorb dissents not only about the identity of humans but also about the cosmos they live in. A historical anecdote, retold in a major paper by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, may illustrate why Beck's suggested approach to peacemaking is not completely up to the task. The main example that Beck gives is the "Valladolid controversy," the famous disputatio that Spaniards held to decide whether or not Indians had souls susceptible of being saved. But while that debate was under way, the Indians were engaged in a no less important one, though conducted with very different theories in mind and very different experimental tools. Their task, as Viveiros de Castro describes it, was not to decide if Spaniards had souls—that much seemed obvious—but rather if the conquistadors had bodies. The theory under which Amerindians were operating was that all entities share by default the same fundamental organization, which is basically that of humans. A licuri palm, a peccary, a piranha, a macaw: each has a soul, a language, and a family life modeled on the pattern of a human (Amerindian) village. Entities all have souls and their souls are all the same. What makes them differ is that their bodies differ, and it is bodies that give souls their contradictory perspectives: the perspective of the licuri palm, the peccary, the piranha, the macaw. Entities all have the same culture but do not acknowledge, do not perceive, do not live in, the same nature. For the controversialists at Valladolid, the opposite was the case but they remained blissfully unaware that there was an...
Estudio que describe por un lado la etnografía de la arterioesclorosis, a través de observaciones cotidianas y entrevistas tanto con las personas que acuden con este padecimiento al hospital de la Universidad de Dutch como con los médicos de dicha institución; y por otro, elabora un análisis de la representación social de la enfermedad desde la antropología médica y la filosofía.
John Law argues that methods don't just describe social realities but are also involved in creating them. The implications of this argument are highly significant. If this is the case, methods are always political, and it raises the question of what kinds of social realities we want to create. Most current methods look for clarity and precision. It is usually said that only poor research produces messy findings, and the idea that things in the world might be fluid, elusive, or multiple is unthinkable. Law's startling argument is that this is wrong and it is time for a new approach. Many realities, he says, are vague and ephemeral. If methods want to know and help to shape the world, then they need to reinvent themselves and their politics to deal with mess. That is the challenge. Nothing less will do.
Heritage and change: the implementation of fishing policy in Kassiesbaai
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Fishers' knowledge? Why not add their scientific skills to the mix while you're at it?' In: Proceedings of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre
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Opening dialogue and fostering collaboration: working with multiple ways of knowing the sea
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‘Fishers׳ knowledge? Why not add their scientific skills to the mix while you׳re at it?’ In: Proceedings of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. ‘Putting Fishers׳ Knowledge to Work
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