Journal article / Market Change and Discourses of Respectability among Fish-vending Women in Kerala

Aswathy, P., and K. Kalpana. ‘Good Woman, Bad Woman: Social Control and Self-Regulation in Kerala’s Artisanal Fisheries’. Women’s Studies International Forum 74 (May-June 2019): 196–203.

Abstract (edited): The paper explores the processes of gendered identity formation and subjectification in a Latin Catholic Christian artisanal fisher community in Kerala in the throes of capitalist modernisation and the associated transformation of work spaces and work cultures.

Macro-changes in fishing and fish marketing in Kerala have forced women fish vendors to travel greater distances and spend long hours away from their homes and communities. In these changed circumstances, this paper examines how local communities exercise social control over women fish workers, and the forms of self and peer monitoring and regulation that the women fashion in response to the surveillance of their personal and work lives.

Women responded to the relentless policing of their lives by generating discourses of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (vending) women that may be regarded as processes of self and other identity formation that divided women from each other. This ethnographic study primarily uses qualitative research tools.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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