“We Are Fishermen and Businessmen”: Effects, Agency, Motivations, and Change Among Pagi Fishermen in Goa (India)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Seeing tourism as one of many factors that trigger social change allows us to see it less as a negative or positive external and abstract entity of change with impacts on passive people and more as an arena strategically used by the different subjects involved. This approach contributes to reflections about the responses and motivations underlying people’s involvement in tourism (Boissevain, Coping with tourists. European reactions to mass tourism. Berghahn Books, 1996; Stronza, Annual Reviews Anthropology, 30, 261–83, 2001; Leite and Graburn, The SAGE handbook of tourism studies. SAGE, 2009; Adams and Sandarupa, Asian Journal of Tourism Research, 3(1), 1–27, 2018).

Based on a long-term ethnography carried out with a group of Hindu artisanal fishermen – the Pagi – in South Goa and through a focus on the material and social entanglements that are produced in fast-changing and disturbed landscapes (Lounela, Berglund, and Kallinen, Dwelling in political landscapes. Contemporary anthropological perspectives, 2019) or overheated ones (Ericksen, Overheating: An anthropology of accelerated change. Pluto Press, 2016) and where disturbance is understood as incorporating possibility (Tsing, The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press, 2015), this chapter shows how responses and motivations beyond the Pagi involvement in tourism reveal a process of social change that was driven and influenced by other dimensions of their lives.

Due to their beachfront location, as other Goan fishermen (Trichur, Refiguring Goa: From trading post to tourism destination, Goa, 2013), the Pagi soon became active players in the industry. Their entrepreneurial and resilient attitudes are visible until today. However, their adherence to tourism is linked to a response to fishing mechanization. Besides the activity’s economic advantages that contributed to the end of a generational cycle of extreme poverty, tourism also became an arena where negotiations of social status and personal control over what is understood as the good life (Fischer, The good life: Aspiration, dignity, and the anthropology of wellbeing. Stanford University Press, 2014) are at least a possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Change
EditorsRajendra Baikady, S. M. Sajid, Varoshini Nadesan, Jaroslaw Przeperski, M. Rezaul Islam, Jianguo Gao
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87624-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87624-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Tourism
  • Fishermen
  • Goa
  • Agency
  • Social change


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