Sustainable Subjects: an Investigation of the Production of Subjectivities in San Francisco de Coyote, Costa Rica
Over the past decade, the fishers of San Francisco de Coyote, Costa Rica have experienced significant changes to the management of their coastal fishery. In 2006 and 2009, two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were created, bringing with them regulatory restrictions meant to revitalize the coastal ecosystem and encourage the development of a sustainable artisanal fishery. Involved in the creation of the MPAs and concerned with their management is the Costa Rican non-governmental organization (NGO) named Sea Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA). Since their establishment, PRETOMA has been involved in initiatives to promote sustainable artisanal fisheries management among the fishers of Coyote, chiefly through their involvement in local fishing association politics. The way these changes to the management structure of the coastal fishery of Coyote have impacted the lives of the fishers is the broad aims of this research. More specifically, I seek to answer the following questions: 1) What are the techniques of power exercised by PRETOMA to regulate the conduct of the fishers? 2) What subjectivities are created as a result of PRETOMA’s immanent presence among the fishers? These questions will be analyzed according to a Foucauldian theoretical framework on the creation of subjects through technologies of power. This is supplemented by literature on governmentality, environmentality, power topologies, and scalar discourses. The methods I used to collect information about the history of PRETOMA’s involvement in Coyote and current exercises of power being practiced in Coyote include participant observation and 12 informal, semi-structured interviews with PRETOMA employees and fishers. Ultimately, the analysis of the research questions in relation to the data collected centers around two themes: the production of scientific discourses by PRETOMA and the production of scalar discourses about PRETOMA. Analysis of the effects of these techniques of power reveal the presence and propagation of least three subject positions among the fishers: that of environmental subjects, political subjects, and non-subjects.
San Francisco de Coyote
Sea Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA)