ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Scientific Worker and the Field

Seeing Value in Fisheries Science

Drawing attention to scientific work as labour, the need for a closer examination of the subjectivities of educated, trained government employees in charge of field data collection on marine fisheries is emphasised. Field sciences such as fisheries science offer an opportunity to examine how workers engage with the field to produce value. Tracing historical influences that contribute to dissimilar identities and experiences with the field among scientific workers in India today reveals how value in routinised forms of field-based scientific labour is better understood through embodied skills and cultural relations forged by fieldworkers.

The author would like to acknowledge all respondents for their personal insights into state science. She wishes to thank her supervisors Maarten Bavinck and Ajit Menon for their guidance and support, and Nandan Nawn and Sudha Vasan for valuable editorial suggestions. Nuffic’s Netherlands Fellowship Grant funded her doctoral research.

Convincing people higher up for [us to do] this stock assessment was always a problem for CMFRI … The top person will be mostly from agricultural science and he has to be made to understand what exactly is stock assessment, why this is necessary. To my mind, there is always a question—why you are keeping on doing it for the last […] for the last few decades! … what is it that you are doing? What is the value of that? What is the conclusion, how it is helpful for anyone, fishermen, or whoever it is?—a retired CMFRI scientist. (Interview conducted on 4 January 2018)

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Updated On : 16th Sep, 2019
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