In this presentation, (1) we will first examine the diverse roots of a deeper interest in fisherfolk from a naturalist/positivist point of view to an esthetic experience, from sociography to arts (literature and fine arts); (2) we will then focus on what will be so called in the 1970’s maritime anthropology. This presentation will end by an analysis of research topics and their connexion with national scientific research policies today.
In the first part of this presentation, we will give an overlook on many emblematic researches, from the folklorist Paul Sébillot and the historian Jules Michelet to field-works of Anita Conti and René-Yves Creston, first maritime ethnologists, more adventurers than scholars properly in a contemporary meaning. We will also present sociographies of Paul Bureau, a disciple of Frédéric Le Play.
In the second part of this presentation, we will focus on what has been quite recently called “maritime anthropology”, which gather three main directions of studies – local knowledges, fishing activities and market, and material culture matters/museography.
The last part of the presentation will give an overview on the evolution of problematics and topics of researches in maritime studies in social sciences in France, from classical monographies to matters of gender specificities among fisherfolk, globalization, collapse of fish stocks, new resource management policies, conservation policies, commoditization of fishing rights and their consequences on fishing communities, fishing activities and perception of the sea and marine species among fishermen.