Using discourses for policy evaluation: The case of marine common property rights in Chile

Stefan Gelcich, Gareth Edwards-Jones*, Michel J. Kaiser, Elizabeth Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


In an attempt to combine marine conservation and economic development, the Chilean government introduced a policy that gives formal property rights over defined areas of seabed to artisanal fishers. This study used discourse analysis to understand the impacts and consequences of this policy. Story lines based on sustainability, livelihood maintenance, and historical right claims are mechanisms by which three different groups of fishers adopted postures toward the policy and each other. These act as a means of legitimizing claims when adapting to conditions generated by the policy and also vindicate poaching between syndicates, thereby jeopardizing the whole system. Results show the fishing groups studied adopt the policy for different reasons than those espoused by government during its development. Discourse analysis assists the understanding of actors’ policy responses and provides an insightful tool to investigate incentives and dominance of particular sets of ideas in a comanagement framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-391
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Artisanal
  • Comanagement
  • Concholepas concholepas
  • Fisheries
  • Human dimension
  • Marine management
  • Marine protected areas
  • Territorial user rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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