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Environment, Labour and Capitalism at SeaWorking the Ground' in Scotland$
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Penny McCall Howard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994143

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994143.001.0001

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Structural Violence in ecological systems

Structural Violence in ecological systems

(p.181) 6 Structural Violence in ecological systems
Environment, Labour and Capitalism at Sea

Penny McCall Howard

Manchester University Press

The final substantive chapter explores the structural violence in the fishing industry. The circumstances of the wreck of the fishing boat Kathryn Jane and the death of her crew are examined in detail, along with the effect of the wreck and deaths on other fishers. The logic of seamanship meant taking the time and care to stay safe at sea, yet the logic of the market pressurised fishers to catch as quickly as possible and created incentives to fish in dangerous conditions. Fishers experience structural violence, with a fatality rate 115 times higher than the average workforce – but this was not recognised by fishers or government agencies. Instead, an ideology of nature naturalised deaths on a dangerous sea, and an ideology of accidents blamed fishermen for their own deaths. Fishers themselves coped with the deaths of their friends and workmates by isolating each event and ‘not keeping score’. Fishers and other seafarers were sometimes traumatised by these experiences. Ecological systems produced by capitalism include structural violence.

Keywords:   Structural violence, Wrecks, Work-related fatality, Fishing fatality, Death, Trauma, Capitalism, Accidents, Nature, The sea

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