Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Labor
Secondary Theme: The Political
Oceans have long been spaces of interconnection, allowing for the exchange of goods, people and ideas. Today, over 11 billion tons of goods are shipped across the world every year. The global shipping industry links producers to consumers, the maritime circulation of goods being central to the global economy. The movement of goods and the vessels that carry them is dependent on the development of port infrastructures, a flexible labor force (including port workers and seafarers), and regulations that allow the movement of certain goods and people, while restricting others.
This panel focuses on the labor practices and the regulatory regimes that make movement across vast oceanic spaces possible. What quotidian social practices allow seafarers to live an itinerant life at sea? How is this flexible, and often highly racialized labor force regulated? The shipping industry also relies on port infrastructures for the movement of goods. Yet, recent mega port projects have been highly contested, as ports become sites for the assertion of local, regional and global power. What are the national and international regulatory regimes that facilitate the movement of goods across borders and how is this regulation negotiated on-the-ground at port, and at sea?
Together, our papers show that ships and ports are crucial nodal sites for the movement of goods and people, and can be especially productive spaces to examine the infrastructures, labor practices, and regulatory regimes that are constitutive of the dynamics of capitalism.