Skip to main content

Women in the Fishing: The Roots of Power between the Sexes

  • Paul Thompson (a1)

Fishing is commoniy thought of as a man's business. Yet fishing has a special interest for understanding the position of women, both past and present. There is a double reason for this: for the masculine image of the industry conceals the reality of an occupation which, by removing men to sea, makes them peculiarly dependent on the work of women ashore. And this dependence gives women not only more responsibility, but also the possibility of more power, both in the home and in the community. My concern here is therefore with the sexual division both of labour and of power. Of the two issues, the second is considerably more complicated. For while the character of women's work in fishing communities has again and again taken parallel forms in different societies, this is much less true of its consequences for the social position of women.

Hide All
Andersen, Raoul, ed. 1979. North Atlantic Maritime Cultures: Anthropological Essays on Changing Adaptions. The Hague.
Andersen, Raoul and C, Wadel., eds. 1972. North Atlantic Fishermen. St. John's, Newfoundland.
Andrews, Raymond A. 1973. “Female Participation in the Port de Grave Fishery.” Manuscript. Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's.
Anson, P. F. 1930. Fishing Boats and Fisher Folk on the East Coast of Scotland. London.
Berggreen, Brit. 1977. “Maritim etnologi, sjofartssamfunn og kvinner.” Dugnad, 2, 716.
Berggreen, Brit. 1979. “Kvinner i maritime naeringar.” Syn og Segn, 3, 163–76.
Berggreen, Brit. 1980a. “Kystens kvinner-kystens bonder.” Norges kulturhistorie, 5, 7592.
Berggreen, Brit. 1980b. “Skipet som hjem: kvinner og barn på langfatt.” Manuscript.
Bertram, James. 1865. The Harvest of the Sea: A Contribution to the Natural and Economic History of the British Food Fishes. London.
Blood, Robert O., AND Wolfe, Donald M. 1960. Husbands and Wives: The Dynamics of Married Living. New York.
Bochel, M. 1979. “Dear Gremista”: The Story of Nairn Fisher Girls at the Gutting. National Museum of Antiquities. Edinburgh.
Brox, Ottar. 1964. “Natural Conditions, Inheritance, and Marriage in a North Norwegian Fjord.” Folk, 6:1, 3545.
Buchan, Margaret. 1977. “Social Organisation of Fisher-girls.” Paper presented at Conference on Fishing Communitiesin Northeastern Scotland, Aberdeen, June.
Christensen, J. B. 1977. “Motor Power and Woman Power: Technological and Eco nomic Change among the Fanti Fishermen of Ghana,” in Those Who Live from the Sea, Smith, M. E., ed. St. Paul.
Conklin, George H. 1981. “Cultural Determinants of Power for Women within the Family: A Neglected Aspect of Family Research,” in Women in the Family and the Economy: an International Comparative Survey, Kurian, George and Ghosh, Ratna, eds., 927. Westport and London.
Cronin, Constance. 1970. The Sting of Change: Sicilians in S?cily and Australia. Chicago.
Davidoff, Leonore. 1974. “Mastered for Life: Servant and Wife in Victorian and Edwardian England.” Journal of Social History, 7, 406–28.
Davidoff, Leonore. 1977. “Power as an ‘Essentially Contested Concept’: Can It Be of Use to Feminist Historians?” Paper presented to International Women's History Conference,University of Maryland, November.
Davidoff, Leonore and Hall, C. 1983. “The Architecture of Public and Private Space: English Middle-Class Society in a Provincial Town, 1780–1850,” in The Pursuit of Urban History, Sutcliffe, al., eds., 326–46. London.
Davidoff, Leonore; L'Esperance, J. and Newby, H. 1976. “Landscape with Figures: Home and Community in English Society,” in The Rights and Wrongs of Women, Mitchell, J. and Oakley, A., eds., 139–75. London.
Davis, Dona Lee. 1980. “Women's Experience of the Menopause in a Newfoundland Fishing Village.” Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina.
Dubois, E., et al. 1980. “Politics and Culture in Women's History: A Symposium.” Feminist Studies, 6, 1.
Edwards, P. J., AND Marshall, J. 1977. “Sources of Conflict and Community in the Trawling Industries of Hull and Grimbsy between the Wars.” Oral History, 5:1, 97121.
Ek, Sven B. 1980. Borstahusen—ett fiskeläges uppgång och fall. Landskrona.
Engels, F. 1972. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. London.
Ennew, Judith. 1980. The Western Isles Today. Cambridge.
Faris, James. 1966. Cat Harbour: A Newfoundland Fishing Settlement. St. John's.
Firestone, Melvin. 1967. Brothers and Rivals: Patrilocaliiy in Savage Cove. St. John's.
Firth, Raymond. 1946. Malay Fishermen: Their Peasant Economy. London.
Forman, Shepherd. 1970. The Raft Fishermen. London.
Fox, Robin. 1978. The Tory Islanders: A People of the Celtic Fringe. London.
Frank, Peter. 1976. “Women's Work in the Yorkshire Inshore Fishing Industry.” Oral History, 4:1, 5772.
Gillespie, D. 1972. “Who Has the Power? The Marital Struggle,” in Family. Marriage and the Struggle of the Sexes, Dreitzel, H. P., ed., London.
Gulati, Leela. 1982. Profiles in Female Poverty: A Study of Five Poor Working Women in Kerala. Oxford.
Gulati, Leela. 1983. Women in Fishing Villages on the Kerala Coast: Demographic and Socio-Economic Impacts of a Fisheries Development Project. Population and La bour Policies Programme Working Paper 18. International Labour Office, Geneva.
Hall, Catherine. 1980. “Class Formation and Gender Dimensions: The Birmingham Middle Class, 1780–1850,” in People's History and Socialist Theory, Samuel, R., ed., 164–75. London.
Henningen, Marie-Luisa Rey. 1980. “Galicia, State of Women.” Spare Rib, 70, 2729.
Hornell, James. 1950. Fishing in Many Waters. London.
Jorion, Paul. 1977. “L'ordre moral dans une petite ile de Bretagne.” Etudes rurales, 67, 3545.
Löfgren, Orvar. 1974. “Family and Household among Scandinavian Peasants: An Exploratory Essay.” Ethnologia Scandinavica, 4, 1752.
Löfgren, Orvar. 1979. “Marine Ecotypes in Preindustrial Sweden: A Comparative Discussion of Swedish Peasant Fishermen,” in North Atlantic Maritime Cultures: An thropological Essays on Changing Adaptions, Andersen, Raoul, ed. The Hague. Loti, Pierre. 1888. An Iceland Fisherman. London.
Lummis, Trevor. 1978. The Family and Community Life of East Anglian Fishermen. Social Science Research Council. Final report, HR 2656. London.
H., Mackenzie, et al., eds. 1951-. Third Statistical Account. Edinburgh.
McLaughlin, Virginia Yans. 1971. “Patterns of Work and Family Organization: Buffalo's Italians.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 2, 299314.
Makhlouf, C. 1979. Changing Veils: Women and Modernisation in North Yemen. London.
Mead, Margaret, 1935. Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. New York.
Michel, Andrée. 1970. “Working Wives and Family Interaction in French and Ameri can Families.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 11, 157–65.
Mondardini, Gabriella. 1981. Villagi di Pescatori in Sardegna, Sassari.
Muir, Margaret. 1977. “Professional Women and Network Maintenance in a French and an English Canadian Fishing Village.” Atlantis, 2:2, 4555.
Muir, Margaret. 1978. “The Paid Housekeeper: Socialisation and Sex Roles in Two Fishing Villages,” in Papers of the Fourth Canadian Ethnology Society Congress, Preston, R., ed., 8598. Canadian Ethnology Service Paper 40, National Museum of Man. Ottawa.
Murray, Hilda. 1979. More than 50%: Women's Life in a Newfoundland Outport, 1900–50. St. John's.
Nelson, Cynthia. 1974. “Private and Public Politics: Women in the Middle Eastern World.” American Anthropologist, 1, 551–65.
Norbeck, Edward. 1954. Takashima, a Japanese Fishing Community. Salt Lake City.
Oakley, Ann. 1981. Subject Women. London.
Paine, Robert. 1965. Coast Lapp Society II. Tromsø.
Pedersen, Von Ragner. 1975. “Die Arbeitsteilung zwischen Frauen und Männern in einem Ackerbaugebeit-Das Bespeil Norwegen.” Ethnologia Scandinavica, 5, 3748.
Persson, Yvonne. 1977. “Evaluations and Roles at the Island of Ockerö.” Fataburen (Sweden).
Porter, Marilyn. 1982. “Women and Old Boats: The Sexual Division of Labour in a Newfoundland Outport.” Manuscript.
Porter, Marilyn. 1983. “‘A Tangly Bunch’: The Political Culture of Outport Women in Newfoundland.” Paper presented to the Association of Atlantic Sociologists and Anthropologists,Halifax.
Recher, Jean. 1977. Le grand métier: Journal d'un capitaine de pêche de Fécamp. Paris.
Reiter, Rayna Rapp. 1975. “Men and Women in the South of France: Public and Private Domains,” in Towards an Anthropology of Women, Reiter, R. R., ed., 252–82. London.
Safilios-Rothschild, Constantina. 1967. “A Comparison of Power Structure and Marital Satisfaction in Urban Greek and French Families.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 29, 345–52.
Scanzoni, J. 1972. Sexual Bargaining: Power Politics in the American Marriage. Englewood Cliffs.
Scase, R., AND Goffee, R. 1980. The Real World of the Small Business Owner. London.
Scott, Joan W., AND Tilly, Louise A. 1975. “Women's Work and the Family in Nineteenth-Century Europe.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 17:1, 3664.
Scott, Sir Walter. 1816. The Antiquary. Edinburgh. (Everyman, London, 1907.)
Sharma, Ursula. 1980. Women, Work, and Property in North-West India. London.
Smith, M. E., ed. 1977. Those Who Live From the Sea. St. Paul.
Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. 1975. “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-Century America.” Signs, 1, 130.
Stacey, Margaret, AND Price, Marion. 1981. Women, Power and Politics. London.
Stoklund, Bjarne. 1971. “Okologisk tilpasning et Dansk osamfund,” in Ekologi och Kultur, Daum, A. and Löfgren, O., eds., 3540. Copenhagen.
Thompson, Paul. 1975. The Edwardians: The Remaking of British Society. London.
Thompson, Paul. 1978. The Voice of the Past: Oral History. Oxford.
Thompson, Paul. 1981. “Life Histories and the Analysis of Social Change,” in Biography and Society: The Life History Approach in the Social Sciences, Bertaux, Daniel, ed., 289306. London.
Thompson, Paul. 1982. “Family, Economy, and Ideology: The Role of Women and Children in Change.” Paper presented at World Congress of Sociology,Mexico City, August.
Thompson, Paul, with Walley, , Tony, , AND Lummis, Trevor. 1983. Living the Fishing. London.
Tolosana, Carmelo Lison. 1971. Anthropologie social de Galicia. Madrid.
Tunstall, Jeremy. 1962. The Fishermen: The Sociology of an Extreme Occupation. London.
Whitaker, Ian. 1972. “Seafarer and Community: Aspects of Organisation in Maritime Communities.” University of Wales Institute of Technology, Cardiff.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *

Related content

Powered by UNSILO


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed