Adaptive learning, technological innovation and livelihood diversification: the adoption of pound nets in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

Carlos Julián Idrobo and Iain J Davidson-Hunt
Latin America and the Caribbean
Type of Resource: 
Case Studies

This paper examines the adoption of a technology to appropriate an ecologically constrained resource within the context of a restructuring fisheries sector utilising the conceptual lenses of adaptive learning and practice. Participant observation and semi-structured interviews were undertaken in the coastal community of Ponta Negra, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from May 2010 to March 2011. The materials collected were translated and transcribed into English and then manually coded. Through a restorying process the English transcripts were developed into an analytical narrative that described the process of the adoption of pound nets and how this initiated a process of social differentiation between fishing households. The pound net technology constituted a new field of practice that both created and constrained opportunities for livelihood diversification. In this case, individual adaptations made to diversify household economies initiated a cascading process of social differentiation within a coastal community.