The Phenomenon of Fishing in the Context of Human-Northern Nature Interaction: Network, Vitality, Communication
The article analyzes the fishing phenomenon in the context of interaction between people and Northern nature. An attempt is made to move away from a purely social aspect of considering the phenomenon and come to a broader, namely, network-related context of its understanding. The theoretical and methodological approach (theoretical framework) of the research team is based on: (a) the actor-network theory of French sociologist Bruno Latour and his conceptual studies on the history of understanding of “nature” that serve, directly or indirectly, as the basis for the modern Western ecological discourse; (b) Vladimir V. Bibikhin’s phenomenological reception of the Aristotelian understanding of living nature as a kind of perfect automaton, i.e., self-moving order of living matter change; (c) Yan V. Chesnov’s conceptual understanding of the phenomenon of “vitality” as part of the development of Nikolay A. Nosov’s virtual paradigm. At the empirical level, the research used the method of in-depth and expert interviews. 27 semi-structured interviews were conducted in the spring and fall of 2022 in the Murmansk region. All the respondents were directly or indirectly connected with fishing practice: fishermen of the Murmansk region, including those who systematically violate fishing rules for the Northern Fishery Basin, employees of the territorial department of Rosrybolovstvo [Russian Federal Fisheries Agency], employees of Poliarnyi nauchno-issledovatel’skii institut morskogo rybnogo khoziaistva i okeanografii (PINRO) [Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography] named after N. M. Knipovich, representatives of local administration in the Tersky, Kola, and Kandalaksha districts of the Murmansk region, representatives of the tourist branch, etc. The interviews became the empirical basis of the research. This paper considers the popularity of informal fishing practices in the Murmansk region as an expression of existential and mental craving in response to the stimulating appeal, or even “challenge”, of nature. Accordingly, the researchers link the inherent desire of fishermen to catch fish for food, refreshment, and sale not so much with the sociocultural context, as with the natural (vital) desire to fulfill oneself as a natural being. The work understands the natural not as being in opposition to the social order, but as underlying and permeating that order.