Abigail Bennett

















I am interested in understanding how local governance of common-pool resources interacts with political and economic processes occurring beyond the local level and the implications for social and ecological outcomes. In my work, I incorporate perspectives from human geography and political ecology with New Instituitonalist approaches and Common-pool Resource theory. My research explores relationships between global seafood markets and the governance of small-scale fisheries in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. I am currently conducting 13 months of fieldwork addressing this topic through three related studies within the Yucatan Region: market-based sustainable seafood certification of a small-scale lobster fishery; a comparative case study of the local manifestations of high-demand markets for sea cucumber in two small-scale fishing communities; and an analysis of the historical and contemporary effects of neoliberalization on local institutional arrangements throughout the region’s fisheries. These cases allow me to ask questions about how local institutional arrangements respond to and are affected by market pressures, national-level political-economic reforms, and the proliferation of non-state governance institutions. Throughout my Ph.D. work I have put an emphasis on developing skills in ethnographic methods and am particularly interested in the insight that can be produced by combining participant observation, survey, and experimental methods. After much dedication and practice during my fieldwork, I now consider myself an amateur at catching and gutting sea cucumber and an expert at eating it.