Narrative assemblages for power-balanced coastal and marine governance. Tara Bandu as a tool for community-based fisheries co-management in Timor-Leste uri icon

abstract

  • Poverty alleviation and resource governance are inextricably related. Mainstream resource management has been typically criticized by social scientists for the inherent power imbalances between fishery managers and small-scale fishing communities. Yet, while a number of mechanisms of collective action to address these power imbalances have been developed, they remain undertheorized. This paper builds upon first-hand experience of the authors in assisting the community of Biacou to strengthen the resource management role of a local ban called Tara bandu, as well as a qualitative study conducted one year after its implementation. Our argument is fourfold. First, we suggest that in geographies where mainstream resource management cannot be implemented, strengthening custom-based institutions in hybrid mechanisms provides an opportunity to promote a more sustainable use of coastal and marine resources in a cost-effective manner. Second, by analyzing the different narratives that were embedded in the process, we argue that community-based fisheries co-management can benefit from creating narrative assemblages. Third, we explore how the principles of agnosticism. generalized symmetry, and free association can be integrated in the work of fisheries managers to neutralize power imbalances with fishing communities. Fourth, we contribute to the current conceptualization of hybrid organizations in fisheries co-management.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018