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Visibility, legitimacy, and power: a North Carolina fishing community and governance of the commons

dc.contributor.authorMay, Candace K., author
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Peter Leigh, advisor
dc.contributor.authorCarolan, Michael S., committee member
dc.contributor.authorLacy, Michael G., committee member
dc.contributor.authorStevis, Dimitris, committee member
dc.description.abstractResearchers studying common pool resource (CPR) governance argue that the participation of natural resource dependent people in formal processes of natural resource governance is essential for the sustainability of those resources. In accord with the vast body of related research and political activism, the United States fisheries management system promotes co-management practices as the pathway to sustainable fisheries governance. Nevertheless, empirical evidence illustrates that local fishers are increasingly disappearing from the fishing industry and their communities at the same time as the degradation of fisheries is increasing. I examine this contradiction through a case study of a community of commercial fisherpeople in Two Rivers, North Carolina. I develop the concepts of visibility, legitimacy, and power to capture the multiple levels and scales of structure and agency that shape the participation of local fishers in governance activities and lead to environmental degradation. Data was collected through interviews, observations, and review of policy documents and local archives. An important finding from this study is that many local fishers practice active non-participation, - intentional non-involvement in formal political activities while instead engaging in informal fisheries governance activities. However, the political inactivity associated with active non-participation decreases the legitimacy and power of local fishers, hastening their disarticulation from the fisheries, further decreasing the efficacy of formal political processes and ultimately resulting in unsustainable fisheries governance. Through the active political participation of commercial fishers, there is hope and a way forward for the future of fisher livelihoods and the sustainability of the nation's fisheries.
dc.format.mediumborn digital
dc.format.mediumdoctoral dissertations
dc.publisherColorado State University. Libraries
dc.rightsCopyright and other restrictions may apply. User is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. For information about copyright law, please see
dc.subjectcommon pool resources
dc.subjectnatural resources
dc.subjectpolitical participation
dc.titleVisibility, legitimacy, and power: a North Carolina fishing community and governance of the commons
dcterms.rights.dplaThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights ( You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). State University of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


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