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Fisheries Management

New technologies, new demands and new literacies: The Changing Literacy Practices of Fishing Communities in Bangladesh and Ghana

This paper examines the changing uses of literacy in fishing communities in Bangladesh and Ghana. Poverty and illiteracy are common features in representations of fishing communities. Some have argued that formal schooling does not prepare children for a future in fishing, and that formal educational qualifications are rarely required to enter the labour market. These views have sustained a discourse on educational deficit and marginality. However, as documented in this paper’s cases from Bangladesh and Ghana, there is evidence that vernacular and official literacy practices, and ict, are becoming central to the lives and livelihoods of fishing communities. It is argued that the use of mobile phone technology, and practices of marketing, governance and environmental protection have created new opportunities and demands for literacy use and for technical knowledge. The observation of ‘new literacies’ in fishing livelihoods challenges the conventional view of a simple ‘trade-off’ between fishing livelihoods and schooling.


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Name of Author(s):
Bryan Maddox 1 and Ragnhild Overå 2
Institutional Affiliation:
1School of International Development, University of East Anglia; 2Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Norway
Type of Publication:
Journal Article
Name of Publisher or Journal:
Date of Publication:
Number of Pages: