Local Narratives on the Blue Economy: An Analysis of Livelihood Mobility in Coastal Communities in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Rosemarie Mwaipopo, Thomas Ndauka


This study examined how women and men in coastal Bagamoyo of Tanzania experience and conceive the ocean and how, through such understanding, they seek to further its conceptualization to include their attachment to the ocean space, interactions and relationships they enter through the ocean, and their livelihoods in the context of the blue economy discourse. Borrowing from the culturalecological conceptual framework, the study investigated how women and men perceive grand approaches on ocean governance such as the ‘blue economy’ and its effect on their livelihoods. Although Mainland Tanzania has not been explicit on its ‘blue economy agenda’, the study interrogated how local people perceived the blue economy’s key assumption on sustainable governance of ocean resources, and how they resonated with their livelihood mobility. The conceptualization of livelihood mobility is used to depict the dynamic production and reproduction potentials of human life realisable through people’s interaction with resources. The findings illustrate that such interactions are often not well-captured by resource management strategies because of their multi-faceted and, sometimes, subtle nature. Thus, we conclude that efforts or policies seeking to promote the blue economy discourse need to, first, investigate the understanding of the coastal people, which is based on their lived experiences; and second, their cultural understandings of the ocean.


blue economy, coastal communities, livelihoods and livelihood mobility.


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