Maiken Bjorkan’s blog: Mica mica (little by little)

From November 2013 until March 2014, Maiken, a social anthropologist based in Norway, will be living and working in Spain. Working with fishermen and scientists involved in the Red Shrimp case study, Maiken will be studying how management plans are implemented from a “people perspective”. You can read all her blog posts here.

Little by little I feel like I am getting a grasp on the case, the context and Barcelona. Since we haven’t been to Palamos yet, I spend the days reading up. The master’s thesis that ICM-CSIC gave me (see photo) is really informative, and it is useful as I am making (attempting to, at least) an interview guide.

Cofradias (Cooperatives) 

I was also given a really pretty looking book in Catalán (see photo and drawing of Palamos) about cooperatives in the region, with the following comment: “Reading Catalan is easy when you know Spanish – it won’t be a problem!” Well… I gave up after a little struggle, even if this quote in Spanish gave me motivation to carry on a little longer:

If a fisher is too sick to go fishing, he receives 4 pesetas daily, if this is not caused by the following (free translation from Catalan): Alcoholism, syphilis, venereal disease and its derivatives (….) the use of dynamite when fishing (…) (Alegret and Alfons Garrido, 2004: 74, “Historia de la confraria de Pescadors de Palamos”).

On a more serious note, what I take from the pictures and the little I understand is that the collective aspects and regulation (i.e. dynamite in above quote) have been central to Palamos “forever”. What I need to find out is the identity of the cooperatives here.

I am a bit puzzled because according to some literature, the cooperative organization is perceived as a Franco legacy, something that was pushed over their head to make fishers’ organization in Cataluña similar to the rest of Spain. I am surprised at this since cooperatives have such a “good identity” in Spain and Latin-America (also in Galicia, where GAP2 also is present). (Note: Some issues like language is very political and can potentially damage my fieldwork if I say something wrong – find out what not to say, ask etc!).

Hasta pronto!



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