Bugabug and Dagat: The local life of a fishing community in the Philippines
Turgo, Nelson Nava
This thesis is an ethnographic study of a fishing community in the Philippines in the context of a dwindling fisheries resource and in relation to the community's contemporary social and political structures, values and local issues. It considers the everyday life of the fishing community the realms of power gender and economic relations and how these relations are played out among and between fishers and their wives, fish vendors, dealers and brokers as the community experiences dramatic changes in the local economy. While the study avers a very local orientation, it takes cognizance of the community's enrollment in a bigger polity: national and global economic and political spaces. Thus, the study focuses upon what local life means and exemplifies in the epoch of globalization and how local practices are instantiated amidst talk of a fast globalizing world. It highlights the enduring importance of the local linked in this case to the people in the fishing community's relative immobility and marginal position in the sphere of the Philippine economy in particular and the global economy in general. The thesis has eight chapters divided into three parts. The first part, chapters 1, 2 and 3, introduces the study, explains its ethnographic and theoretical import, states its significance as a piece of scholarly research and connects it with the wider literature on fishing studies, maritime anthropology, and the sociology of globalization. The second part, chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, deals with the Philippine economy and describes the fishing community studied. Furthermore, it discusses the different ways in which fishers and their wives 'make do' in the face of dwindling catches, the changes and continuities in the community's economic roles, gender dynamics and power relations in the household and highly localized market practices in fish trading where among other factors, intimate actual and fictive relations in the community affect how fish is traded and sold among community members. The third part, chapter 8, concludes the thesis and summarizes the key arguments laid out in the second part of the study. It calls the reader's attention to the many geographies of globalization such as how some lives remain local and yet not isolated from extra-local developments, and how in this community everyday life is given material shape that is more local than global.
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