A-1/21 Women’s belongings in UK fisheries

Research on gender in fisheries often argue that women’s contributions are important to the functioning of fisheries and are worthy of recognition. However, this has so far failed to consider how women experience and practice belonging to fisheries. This paper structures the analysis of women’s narratives around three conceptualisations of belonging: i) how women perform place-belongingness; ii) the politics of belonging; and iii) more-than-human co-constructions of belongings. To develop the conceptual approach, the paper synthesises these three concepts with an understanding of belonging as fluid and adaptable to particular situated relationships. In doing so, the paper explores how women’s gendered belongings are co-constructed and performed in the male-oriented UK fisheries contexts. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews, the paper finds that women’s practices of belonging make and maintain fishing communities and places, and that women’s practices of belonging both confirm and challenge longstanding notions of who belongs in the fishery – with women fishers challenging socio-spatial exclusions in fishing. Women’s belongings in fishing were further co-constructed in relation to the more-than-human such as fishing materialities, smells, non-human animals and the ocean. The concept of belonging helps to highlight the processes of becoming with fish, fishing and the fishery – even when there are no clear identities and identifications available for the women involved. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2021.1873748

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