AbstractsGeography &GIS


Palk Bay, in South Asia is witnessing a complex socio-ecological crisis. This crisis is intrinsically tied to the modernization of fisheries in the region, the civil war in Sri Lanka and the politics of ethnic identity. This crisis now manifests itself in the form of a fishing conflict between the Indian trawl fishers and the small scale fishers of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. In this research I take a spatial perspective to better understand this conflict from the Indian side. The socio-spatial relations of the Indian trawl fishers with regard to their continued access into present day Sri Lankan waters, are studied. Further, I analyze these socio-spatial relations using various spatial dimensions, particularly territory, scale, place and network. While analyzing territory, I use the concept of relational territoriality as described by Swiss-French geographer Claude Raffestin, in order to understand the continued intrusion of the Indian trawl fishers into what is now Sri Lankan water. While studying scale, I use the politics of scale to understand the scalar complications in the socio-spatial relations of the Indian trawl fishers. Relational place-making grounds my main arguments when dealing with place and socio-spatial relations. Finally, I attempt to tease out the various networks of Indian trawl fishers that aid their political agency using actor-network theory. Through this research I advocate for a more relation approach when it comes to understanding natural resource conflict.