The forms and processes of local-level social organisation seen today in fishing communities in northern Europe can be fully appreciated only after their history is recognized and explored. Until the middle of this century, the predominant form of organisation was the joint maritime household, which involved men and women in separate sets of collaborative activities. With changing technology, rising standards of living, and the intervention of the institutions of modernity, women everywhere in northern Europe have been able to disengage themselves from their former obligations, doing so largely in order to realise their aspirations for domestic independence. The men, however, continue to own their boats in partnerships and to pool their labour, drawing upon relationships of kinship, affinity, and neighbourhood as economic and social recnnrces
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