Occupational risks, safety and masculinity: Newfoundland fish harvesters' experiences and understandings of fishery risks

Power, Nicole Gerarda (2008) Occupational risks, safety and masculinity: Newfoundland fish harvesters' experiences and understandings of fishery risks. Health, Risk & Society, 10 (6). pp. 565-583. ISSN 1469-8331

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There is no single, objective place from which to assess risk, and the best way to assess and minimise risk is through seeking input from a variety of different knowledge agents focusing on different sources and dimensions of risk and using multiple methodologies. This paper draws on Wynne's work on constructivist-realism and on the feminist literature on masculinity to examine fish harvesters' understandings and experiences of risk and safety in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada's east coast. Using data drawn from focus groups, phone interviews and from individual boat tours with Newfoundland fish harvesters, it is argued that their understandings and practices of risk and safety are dynamic and that this dynamism reflects the intersection of everyday requirements to get the job done in what are often uncertain and constrained circumstances associated with the interacting and changing regulatory, industrial and environmental contexts in which this work is done. From this perspective, while quantifying fisheries risks in terms of fatality, accident or Search and Rescue incident rates is important, the inclusion of fish harvesters' experiences and related safety knowledge in research and policy-development designed to reduce risk is imperative. The view from the deck of the vessel and fish harvesters' experiences on the water not only informs their observations and interpretations of risk but offer potential insights into risk and into expert claims about risk that should be taken into account when trying to understand fishing risk and improve safety.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8488
Item ID: 8488
Keywords: risk, risk perception, uncertainty, masculinity, fishing, fisheries
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 27 November 2008
Date Type: Publication
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