Weaving governance narratives: discourses of climate change, cooperatives, and small-scale fisheries in Mexico


Journal Article

© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. In the coming decades, accelerating processes of climate change are expected to impact the world’s fisheries. These changes will likely exacerbate ongoing challenges in the governance of small-scale fisheries, which play a significant role in supporting livelihoods and food security throughout the world. Among fishers in Mexico, the perceived impacts of climate change on coastal fisheries are increasingly salient. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the realities of climate change and other socio-environmental phenomena are discursively co-produced by fishers and government actors in a distinct type of political arena: the general assemblies of federated fishing cooperatives. Fishing cooperatives in Mexico organize into regional-level federations, which in turn form national-level confederations. Confederations are therefore multi-level, nested organizations for collective action and political representation. Here, we examine the interactions between fishers and federal government officials in the 2016 general assembly of one confederation, which represents 25 federations with 338 cooperatives. The general assembly of the confederation serves as a political space for open democratic participation among members and, in this case, discussions between fishers and government representatives. The discourses employed by fishers and government actors reveal tensions about the role of the state, the purpose of scientific knowledge in resource management, and the nature of the cooperative small-scale fishing sector. Insights from this case are used to advance discussions about the value of examining discursive practices to gain insights about fisheries policy, through a critical discussion of the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. We theorize discursive practices as part of politicized performances that coalitions of actors use to express policy preferences and weave together governance narratives, which are useful for understanding positions and broader debates at the national level.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • García Lozano, A; Smith, H; Basurto, X

Published Date

  • April 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 77 - 89

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2212-9790

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1872-7859

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s40152-018-0125-5

Citation Source

  • Scopus