UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of women in the social and ecological resilience of San Felipe’s fisheries Liguori, Lisa Avigdor


This thesis focuses on the success achieved by a newly formed women's fishing cooperative in San Felipe, Yucatan, in Mexico. Examining the ways in which this cooperative has been able to identify and embrace new opportunities and find creative solutions to problems reveals that much of their success stems from a capacity to break and continuously remake local rules, wherein a dynamic balance of attention between social and ecological factors is achieved. In this case, long traditions of local resource management, self-enforcement, and personal interpretation of the rules have allowed for a blending of tradition and change-tolerant resilience. In recent years, women's participation in both fishing and conservation has been a catalyst for social change within their port. This ethnographic study provides insight into how women in San Felipe have become central to decisions affecting resource management. In diverse areas such as the octopus fishery, mangrove conservation, and the social policing of outsiders in the community, fisherwomen's informal influence is often as powerful as decisions made by official institutions. In some cases, the very nature of fisherwomen's unobtrusive rule breaking and subtle enforcement allows them to push boundaries in ways that would not be tolerated otherwise. As a result, constant negotiations of power and subtle testing of social rules have allowed fisherwomen to blur traditional boundaries of gender, race, and class, allowing them access to opportunities from which they would normally be excluded.

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