The Fishers of the Archipelago Sea – Resilience, Sustainability, Knowledge, and Agency

Kirsi Sonck-Rautio

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This doctoral dissertation combines ethnology and environmental science in order to recognise changes in the operational environment of the livelihoods and lifestyles of coastal small-scale fishers in the Archipelago Sea and the constraints that mostly influence the abundance and resilience of fisheries in the Archipelago Sea — from the fishers’ perspective. This study focuses on recognising the mechanisms that are decreasing resilience as well as examining the relationships between policy-making, scientific research and knowledge by applying the framework of political ecology. Finally, the aim is to find solutions for promoting transformations that will foster cultural resilience and sustainability as well as other dimensions of both.The research material for the doctoral dissertation was gathered by conducting ethnographic fieldwork, including 23 in-depth interviews and participant observa¬tion. Media and scientific articles and reports also formed a portion of the material analysed for this study. The research material was analysed abductively, and as a practical tool, qualitative analysis software Nvivo was applied as well. The timeframe of the analysis is from 1880 to the present, starting from the commercialisation of winter-seining in the Archipelago Sea and concluding with a discussion of the pres¬ent-day challenges facing fisheries. There is, however, an embedded future-oriented thinking present throughout this study, as many of the concepts applied, such as resilience and adaptation, contain an implicit future-thinking aspect.It was found that according to fishers, the most important constraint influencing the resilience of small-scale fisheries is the ever-increasing number of environmental policies and an unwillingness to acknowledge the local ecological knowledge pos¬sessed by the fishers. The ensuing environmental conflict is to some extent a con¬sequence of not including the dimension of cultural sustainability in policy-making processes, or in research involving environmental management and conservation, and not recognising the potential offered by local ecological knowledge both for pro¬moting overall sustainability and also as a tool for enhancing the social acceptance of environmental policies

Original languageEnglish
Print ISBNs978-951-29-7824-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Cultural sustainability
  • Fisheries
  • Sustainability
  • Political ecology


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