Factoring social and cultural dimensions into food and livelihood security issues of marine fisheries: A case study of Kerala state, India
Some of the social and cultural aspects of marine fishing communities, as they emerge in the course of the pursuit for food and livelihood, are the subjects of this paper. The focus is on the marine fishery of Kerala State, India and attempts to show how these dimensions evolved in the context of very specific resource and ecological determinants. Social and cultural dimensions have been often considered a "drag" on the transformation of societies into modern entities. However, the numerous failures encountered when development is given an exclusively techno-economic orientation, provide the basis for a new search to give meaning to hitherto neglected socio-cultural norms. This search is all the more relevant in this era of globalisation that set into momentum the tendency to homogenize social and cultural specificity. The sustainability of any society will depend in large measure on the degree of diversity and self-reliance that it is able to maintain with regard to reproducing its social and cultural concomitants. At the core of this are issues pertaining to the food and livelihood security of its people. The paper examines the visible manifestations of deeper social and cultural attributes in the marine fishery sector, which have been fashioned over a very long history. The list includes: the nature of the sharing patterns in the fishery; traditional knowledge and technology; the old and new institutional arrangements in fishing communities; fish and the question food security; and the role of women.
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