Gendered Cultures of Conflict and Discontent: Living ‘the Crisis’ in a Newfoundland Community


Davis, Dona. 2000. “Gendered Cultures of Conflict and Discontent: Living ‘the Crisis’ in a Newfoundland Community.” Women’s Studies International Forum 24 (3): 343-53.

Author: Dona Davis


Longitudinal, participant observation research in a small southwest coast fishing village in Newfoundland, Canada, shows the dramatic and profound effects that the North Atlantic fisheries crisis can have on those who have made their living from the sea, and through forces largely out of their control, find themselves no longer able to do so. Data collected during the initial stages of the crisis show how the impact of the crisis is strongly gendered. From the perspective of everyday life as lived in the local context, gender affects both worlds of meaning and interpersonal relationships. Description and analysis of changing gender ideologies, alterations in the sexual division of labor and use of community space, and the gendering of social class demonstrate that the crisis does affect men and women in significantly different ways. However, escalating levels of conflict and violence and an emergent ethos of demoralization affect all community members in ways that transcend gender. This portrayal of a community's transition from a once successful inshore fishery to an unemployment and welfare culture of conflict and discontent calls into question the supposedly rational policies and intent of government and fisheries development planners and challenges their notions of “transition” and “adjustment” costs.

Keywords: fishing community, gender role, labor division, power relations

Topics: Class, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2000

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