We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Fishers At Work, Workers At Sea

Puerto Rican Journey Thru Labor & Refuge

David Griffith

Publication Year: 2002

Small-scale fishing, a house-hold based enterprise in Puerto Rico, rarely provides sufficient income for a family, but it anchors their culture and sense of themselves within that culture. Even when family members must engage in wage work to supplement house-hold income, they think of themselves as fishers. Liche typifies these wage workers: "When he was quite young, he left the island to struggle in other lands, to work, to raise a family, to send home the money he earned. Ten, twenty, thirty years passed...during which he did not once fish or even see the ocean. But in a boat-building factory in New Jersey, in a bakery in the Bronx, on the production line of a chemical factory, on dozens of construction sites, every single day he made a mental review of the waters, the isles and cays ...and entertained no thought that was not related to his return."

Fishers at Work, Workers at Sea describes Puerto Rican fishing families as they negotiate homeland and diaspora. It considers how wage work affects their livelihoods and identities at home and how these independent producers move in and out of global commodity markets. Drawing on some 100 life histories and years of fieldwork, David Griffith and Manuel Valdés Pizzini have developed a complex, often moving portrait of the men and women who fiercely struggle to hang onto the coastal landscapes and cultural heritage tied to the Caribbean Sea.

Published by: Temple University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (66.6 KB)
p. -

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (961.1 KB)
pp. ix- xiv

People around the world are trying to maintain their hold on cultural and natural resources that provide them with primary and supplemental incomes that many of us would consider quite meager. Much of this income enters family settings in the form of subsistence; yet much also enters the store of family security in...

read more

1. Divided Selves: Domestic Production and Wage Labor in Puerto Rico and Anthropology

pdf iconDownload PDF (6.0 MB)
pp. 1-33

The field boss speaks to the crew in the broken Spanish he picked up from the Mexican crews before they left for the Blue Ridge Mountains to shape Christmas trees. It is the tail end of a long Indian summer. Back home in Puerto Rico, where Angel and Miguel have not set foot since June, the threat of hurricanes...

read more

2. Palatable Coercion: Fishing in Puerto Rican History

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.8 MB)
pp. 34-55

The official incorporation of Puerto Rico and its people into United States hegemony was framed in the comments of Senator Vardaman made on the floor of the U.S. Senate on January 30, 1917: So far as I am personally concerned, I really think it is a misfortune...

read more

3. Puerto Rican Fisheries

pdf iconDownload PDF (6.6 MB)
pp. 56-94

A casual drive along Puerto Rico's coast reveals the diverse fruits of the island's fisheries. Nearly every villa pesquera, or fishing association, sells the seafood pastries known as empanadillas de pulpo, de langosta, de camarones, de chapinthe Caribbean pies made with octopus, lobster, shrimp, or little...

read more

4. Chiripas : Working-Class Opportunity and Semiproletarianization

pdf iconDownload PDF (5.3 MB)
pp. 95-130

While we were training Puerto Rican field assistants to interview fishers, we recommended that, during several portions of the life history interviews-especially when fishers recalled their work histories-the interviewers might probe for more information. Specifically...

read more

5. Injury and Therapy

pdf iconDownload PDF (5.3 MB)
pp. 131-161

Along with material and social consequences of semiproletarianization, discussed in Chapter 4, Puerto Rican fishers develop new and revised old conceptual categories to characterize their custom of moving among multiple livelihoods. These categories influence...

read more

6. Roads Less Traveled: Proletarianization and Its Discontents

pdf iconDownload PDF (5.4 MB)
pp. 162-193

Individual choices that seem to run counter to prevailing structural conditions tend to stimulate discussion about exactly how and how much those conditions influence opportunity and experience. In the many stories that constitute an individual's life history, specific choices ...

read more

7. Power Games: Work Versus Leisure Along Puerto Rico's Coast

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.6 MB)
pp. 194-219

In the late 1980s, working on behalf of the Southeast Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), we and several colleagues spent the better part of a year visiting coastal municipalities and small islands in the Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Island archipelago,...

read more

8. Fragments of a Refuge

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.9 MB)
pp. 220-248

In April 1999, residents of the island municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico, drew international attention when, in protest, they colonized a portion of the u.s. Naval Base that takes up about half of the island. For nearly sixty years before the protest, the Navy had routinely ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 249-262


pdf iconDownload PDF (270.0 KB)
pp. 263- 265

E-ISBN-13: 9781439907634
Print-ISBN-13: 9781566399111

Publication Year: 2002