Cultural survival and resource use at the margin
Greenawalt, Robert David
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This dissertation focuses on the Garifuna people living in the community of Punta Gorda in the Bay Islands of Honduras and the relationship between their marginal social, economic, and political status and their maritime resource use practices. Its theoretical approach is strongly grounded in cultural ecology and draws inspiration from recent developments in maritime anthropology and political ecology. Conclusions based on field research in Punta Gorda demonstrate that socioeconomic marginality is one of the primary factors that led to the unsustainable use of their local maritime resources. Contemporary resource use strategies in Punta Gorda focusing on fishing for profit, rather than fishing for subsistence, have drawn its inhabitants into an economy upon which they are now dependent. Driven by poverty and out of necessity, they have continued to exploit their maritime resources to the point of ecological collapse.