The Landing Obligation and the practice of discarding:

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The Landing Obligation and the practice of discarding:

An investigation of stakeholder perceptions and an application of the social practice theory.

June 9th, 2021

MSc International Development Studies

University of Amsterdam, Graduate School of Social Sciences

Flip van de Westeringh 10735127 Supervisor: M. Bavinck Second reader: D. Arnold



With the world’s human population exponentially growing until 2050, an increasing pressure on our world food systems is expected. This pressure also implies that our fisheries should be managed more sustainably to avoid overexploitation. Therefore, the EU has installed a Landing Obligation (LO) in the year of 2015, which was gradually phased in by member states in the period until 2019. The LO was introduced to reduce the practice of discarding, which entails the disposal of unwanted fish and by-catch by fishermen. The LO faced heavy opposition by the Dutch demersal fisheries sector as it was said to be a non-feasible policy, while other stakeholders were in favor of implementing this policy. This study aims to investigate what current stakeholder perceptions and discarding practices are. Data was collected by the means of participant observation on board of a Dutch demersal fishing vessel to investigate the practice of discarding and semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders. This research has shown that the current practice of discarding is highly routinized, has economic meaning and translates into a variety of material practices. Knowledge sharing on discards among fishermen was thereby found to be minimal and was mostly about good or bad catches. Furthermore, a business as usual effect is present as no monitoring of implementation takes place, exemptions have been granted and fishers have little incentive to become more selective. Perceptions of stakeholders differ widely with NOG representatives arguing the due to low monitoring and exemptions the LO has not even been introduced yet, while representatives of the industry states that the LO is unworkable. This study concludes that the practice of discarding has not changed due to the LO and contributes to a better understanding of what discarding entails and how fisheries policies should be adapted to change this practice.

Keywords: Landing Obligation (LO), CFP, Dutch, Demersal, Fisheries, Social Practice Theory, Discarding, Stakeholders, Perception, Fish.



My genuine appreciation goes out to my thesis supervisor Maarten Bavinck as being critical, supportive, compassionate and most of all enthusiast during the course of this research. I would also like to thank Marloes Kraan as being by second supervisor for arranging my fieldwork and providing me with the necessary contacts, feedback and support during this research.

Furthermore, I would like to thank my family and my friends Bram Verbrugge and Lewis Genet, who came by the Roeterseiland campus to drink a daily coffee and discuss the obstacles of doing this research. Lastly, I would like to thank those who have participated in this research for giving me an amazing educational experience.


Table of contents

Abstract ... 2

Acknowledgements ... 3

Acronyms & Abbreviations ... 7

List of figures and tables ... 8

1.0 Introduction ... 9

2.0 Theoretical framework ...12

2.1 Food systems approach ...12

2.1.2 Practical framework ...14

2.2 Governance theory ...15

2.2.1 Modes of governance ...16

2.2.2 Orders of governance ...17

2.2.3 Practical framework ...18

2.3 Social practice theory ...19

2.3.1 The elements of practice ...20

2.3.2 Zooming in, zooming out ...22

2.3.3 Practice theory in practice ...22

2.3.4 Practical framework ...23

2.4 Conceptual framework ...26

3.0 Methodology ...27

3.1 Case study...27

3.2 Unit of analysis and sampling ...28

3.3 Data collection ...28

3.4 Data analysis ...29

3.5 Ethical considerations ...30

3.6 Positionality ...31

3.7 Ontology ...32

3.8 Quality criteria ...32

3.9 Challenges & limitations ...34

3.10 Concluding remarks ...35

4.0 The Common Fisheries Policy ...35

4.1 The CFP and its introduction ...35

4.2 The first reform of the CFP: 1992 ...36

4.3 The second reform of the CFP: 2002 ...37

4.4 The third reform: 2013 ...37

4.4.1 The Landing Obligation ...38 The LO and its exemptions and flexibility ...39 The LO and TACs...40

4.5 Concluding remarks ...40


5.0 Context of research ...41

5.1 The Dutch demersal fleet & fisheries ...41

5.2 Demersal fishing gears in transition ...42

5.3 TACs, ITQs & Swaps ...44

5.4 Discards in the Dutch demersal fisheries ...45

6.0 Social practice of discarding ...47

6.1 General information on the fishing trip ...48

6.2 The discarding process ...50

6.3 The practice of discarding (on board) ...53

6.3.1 Materials ...53

6.3.2 Meanings ...55

6.3.3 Competences ...56

6.4 Practices on shore (related to practice of discarding) ...59

6.4.1 Owning quota, fishing gear & exemptions ...59

6.4.2 Fish prices & Covid-19 ...60

6.5 Implications and general findings ...60

6.6 Concluding remarks ...61

7.0 Stakeholder perceptions of the LO ...62

7.1 Business as usual ...62

7.1.1 Non-monitoring & control ...62

7.1.2 Exemptions and feasibility ...64

7.1.3 Selectivity and non-target species. ...65

7.1.4 Illegal practices, free-riding and divided opinions ...67

7.2 Discarding perceptions ...68

7.3 Research and LO...70

7.4 Concluding remarks ...70

8.0 Conclusion ...72

8.1 Summary & sub-questions ...72

8.1.1 SQ1: What is the CFP and what does the Landing Obligation entail? ...73

8.1.2 SQ2: What are the current practices of discarding? ...73

8.1.3 SQ3: What are the current perceptions of the Landing Obligation of the multi-level governance actors (science, policy-makers, the fishing industry and NGOs)? ...75

8.1.4 Answer to main research question ...76

8.2 Discussion ...76

8.3 Recommendations ...78

8.3.1 Research implications ...78

8.3.2 Policy implications ...79

References ...81


Appendix 1: Operationalization table ...90

Appendix 2: Interview questions for stakeholders regarding perceptions of LO ...94


Appendix 3: Interview questions for fishermen and skippers regarding perceptions of LO and practices of discarding...97 Appendix 4: Overview of basic characteristics of respondents ... 100 Appendix 5: Overview of elemental constitution of the practice of discarding ... 103


Acronyms & Abbreviations

CCTV Closed Circuit Television CFP Common Fisheries Policy EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone FDF Fully Documented Fisheries FSA Food Systems Approach

ICES International Council for Exploration of the Sea ITQ Individual Transferable Quota

LO Landing Obligation

MEP Member or European Parliament MLS Minimum Landing Size

RAC Regional Advisory Council REM Remote Electronic Monitoring PO Producer Organization

SPT Social Practice Theory

STCF Scientific and Technical Committee for Fisheries TAC Total Allowable Catch


List of figures and tables

Figure 1: Conceptual Framework of Food Systems (HLPE, 2017).

Figure 2: Conceptual framework

Figure 3: Landings of flatfish in Dutch Cutter fisheries (Agrimatie, 2020a).

Figure 4: Beam trawl (van Ginkel, 2009).

Figure 5: Quota allocation from ICES to NL fishermen Figure 6: Average prices of flatfish (Agrimatie, 2020g).

Figure 7: Sea bass Figure 8: Turbot

Figure 9: Thornback ray Figure 10: Monkfish

Figure 11: Cod-end emptying in "boxes"

Figure 12: Picking sized fish out mesh of cod-end Figure 13: Fish are flushed on conveyor belt Figure 14: Second round of discarding and sorting

Figure 15: Third round of discarding and re-measurement Figure 16: Fish on ice in storage room

Figure 17: Blue tub with undersized plaice Figure 18: WW2 propeller stuck in fishing line

Table 1: approximate catches of fishing trip


1.0 Introduction

With a growing world population, peaking at 9 billion in 2050, the world’s food production, including the catch of fish, is growing as well. Fish production has increased almost tenfold since 1950, from 20 million metric tons to 180 million metric tons in 2012 (NRC&CP, 2000;

Hannesson, 2015). Fisheries an important source of animal proteins and fisheries and aquaculture contribute to a global average of 17 kg of nutrient-rich food per person per year (Mcclanahan et al., 2013). The Netherlands, with its large coastline, has always been strongly involved in the North Sea fisheries and is still involved in several fisheries sectors of which the demersal, pelagic, and shellfish are the most important ones (Kuhlman & van Oostenbrugge, 2014).

Dutch fisheries landings have been fluctuating between 330 and 550 million kilograms between 1999 and 2019, of which pelagic landings have always accounted for the largest quantity (Agrimatie, 2020a). Pelagic fish, like herring, mackerel and blue whiting occupy the middle water column, are migratory, live in big shoals, and are increasingly used in the world’s food system (Brochier et al., 2018). The fish and its products are used for both human and non- human feed of which the latter entails that pelagic fish are reduced to fishmeal and fish oil, to be incorporated in livestock and aquaculture feed (Tacon & Metian, 2009). Pelagic species are often caught by the means of large freezer-trawlers, whereas demersal species are mainly caught by smaller cutter vessels. Demersal species are species that live on or close to the seabed; demersal fisheries in the Netherlands accounted for approximately 64 million kilograms of landings in 2019 (Agrimatie, 2020a).

Demersal fishing is a form of mixed-fisheries, meaning that no single species is targeted but a mixed ‘basket’ of species is caught. This implies that by-catch of other species can occur when fishing for example for sole or plaice, as these demersal fish do not live in big shoals.

This by-catch might be unwanted as certain species are of low economic value, the fish is too small or juvenile or the catch has been damaged. Fishermen might therefore choose to “discard”

the catch. “Discarding is the practice of returning unwanted catches to the sea, either dead or alive, because they are undersized, due to market demand, the fisherman has no quota or because catch composition rules impose this” (EC, n.d.1.0). To reduce the practice of discarding, the European Commission included a Landing Obligation (LO) in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in 2013. This obligation was phased in from 2015 onwards.


At the time, discarding was seen as being undesirable as it was a wasteful use of resources, can account for overexploitation of our seas; quota management systems do not work optimally with this practice and undocumented catch can lead to unclarity in the determination of maximum sustainable yields as big shares of catch are not accounted for (Guillen et al., 2018).

Taking the human population growth and increased demand for food into consideration, the view was that our resources should thus be managed more sustainably. The LO itself implies that all species which are caught, excluding some exemptions, should be landed to prevent wasteful use of marine resources and to increase selectivity of the fishing practices and gears.

The LO, however, has proven controversial, and especially the fisher community itself had a negative attitude towards the introduction, arguing that reaching zero discards would be rather optimistic (Fitzpatrick et al., 2019). Fishermen also argue that the LO is a radical change of the fisheries policy and that a substantial amount of discards would survive the discarding process and could be returned to the ocean (Holm et al., 2013). The LO for demersal fisheries was introduced in 2016 and gradually phased in onwards (van Hoof et al., 2020). This led to heavy opposition in the Dutch fishing sector due to the mixed character of these fisheries and both economic and ecological considerations (van Hoof et al., 2019). Some research on Dutch fishermen’s perceptions of the LO exists, which mainly takes a multi-level governance perspective on the LO (van Hoof et al., 2019). Holm et al. (2013) have also researched fishermen and stakeholders’ perceptions of the LO by the means of Q-sorting whereas Maynou et al. (2018) & Fitzpatrick et al. (2019) have researched fishermen perspectives on the LO in Southern Europe.

Now the LO is fully implemented, this research aims to find out what the practice of discarding entails and what current perceptions of different stakeholders of the LO in the Netherlands are. I will investigate the practice of discarding by applying the Social Practice Theory (SPT) on board of a Dutch demersal fishing vessel and making use of the qualitative data from interviews with people from several stakeholder groups involved in the LO. These concern representatives from the Ministry of LNV, NGOs concerned with the LO, the Dutch demersal fisheries sector, marine science, and the Directorate General MARE, which is the EU department responsible for EU fisheries and maritime policy.

As approximately 40% of total weight of catch in Dutch demersal fisheries consisted of discards in 2014 (Quirijns & Pastoors, 2014), the LO aims to heavily reduce this share. With the negative attitude prevailing towards the LO, this research thus aims to bridge the gap


between policy-making and the actual practical execution of these policies on board and will investigate what current perceptions of stakeholders are. The main research question to be answered here is:

RQ: What are the practices of discarding since the introduction of the Landing Obligation and what are the perceptions of stakeholders of the Landing Obligation in Dutch demersal fisheries?

To answer this question, several sub-questions have to be answered as well, which are as follows:

SQ1: What is the CFP and what does the Landing Obligation entail?

SQ2: What are the current practices of discarding on board of a Dutch demersal fishing vessel?

Sq3: What are the current perceptions of the Landing Obligation of the multi-level governance actors (science, policy-makers, the fishing industry, and NGOs)?

To answer these research questions, I will firstly commence with the theoretical framework, which will provide the theoretical stances and conceptual framework of this research. I will then describe the methodology, after which I will describe what the CFP, the LO, and the Dutch demersal sector entail. Subsequently, I will describe what the current practices of discarding are, based on participant observations on board of a Dutch demersal vessel and applying an SPT approach. I will then describe what stakeholder perceptions of the LO are, which will then lead to conclusions and a discussion. Finally, I will elaborate on the implications for further research and provide some policy recommendations.


2.0 Theoretical framework

The aim of this chapter is to discuss the three theoretical perspectives which form the analytical framework for this thesis. The first theoretical perspective is the food systems approach, which takes a holistic view on how food systems work. Secondly, the governance theory will be examined as a useful theoretical lens as this theory elaborates on the practice of collective decision-making with an array of multiple local, international and private or state actors.

Thirdly, the SPT will be described as a useful analytical lens to examine what the practice of discarding entails and how several bundles of practices are interconnected. Lastly, these theories will be combined in a conceptual framework for this research.

2.1 Food systems approach

A useful theoretical lens to apply to this research is the food systems approach (FSA), which takes a holistic approach to food-related activities, ranging from the inputs of production to the matter of consumption and its outcomes. With the increasing globalization, food systems have been changing as well. The change of these systems accompanied by global environmental change have been putting increasing pressure on food production and food security (Ericksen, 2008).

As all human beings around the world have the right to a decent quantity and quality of healthy food (HLPE, 2017), which should be achieved through sustainable food systems, malnutrition is still a problem. Many people suffer from undernutrition, overweight, and micro- nutrient deficiencies which in turn affect global food security and the achievement of sustainable development (HLPE, 2017). Global food systems thereby influence which foods are produced and how they are distributed. The food systems themselves are also drivers of environmental change and create feedback loops within these global systems (Ericksen, 2008).

On the one hand, natural resources, climate change, and our ecological resources influence which foods are available to consumers, while our consumption patterns and demands also influence which foods are produced and thus influence the amount of pressure on our ecosystems (Global Nutrition Report, 2020). The vast transformation of our food systems has led to highly processed and low-nutritional foods being widely available while food loss and waste increase and our ecological footprint expands (FAO, 2018). With this unsustainable way of consumption and production in mind, there is a call for a collective and integrated approach


to managing the world’s food resources and its policy-making (HLPE, 2017; Ericksen, 2008).

As the HLPE (2017, p. 23) mentions, there is a “challenge for agriculture and food systems to meet the increasing and evolving dietary needs of a growing population in a sustainable way, in the context of climate change and increased pressure on natural resources, paying specific attention to the rights and needs of the more vulnerable groups.”

The HLPE (2017, p. 23) therefore describe a food system as: “a food system gathers all the elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructures, institutions, etc.) and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and the output of these activities, including socio-economic and environmental outcomes.” Van Berkum et al. (2018) add that a food system is influenced by social, political- cultural, economic and natural environments as can also be seen in the figure below. An important element of systems thinking in general is that it looks at the different subsystems in terms of feedbacks mechanisms instead of causal relationships.

Figure 3: Conceptual Framework of Food Systems (HLPE, 2017).


Input interventions, for example, should be evaluated based on outcomes within the system instead of solely focusing on increasing production quantities (van Berkum et al., 2018). Ingram (2011) argues that the food systems approach provides a useful tool to analyze synergies and trade-offs across different societal goals. A food systems approach considers all causal variables of a problem and thereby analyses all social, environmental, and economic outcomes of the solutions to achieve change within the system (FAO, 2018).

As can be seen (figure 1), a food system as depicted by the HLPE (2017) consists of external drivers, food supply chains, food environments, and consumer behavior, which in turn influence diets and nutritional and health outcomes. The food supply chains are long and complex entities in which the production and processing of the food take place after which the food reaches the market. The food environments are the link between the supply and demand systems of a food system and are comprised of the socio-cultural, physical, economic and political contexts in which consumers engage with the food systems and make their choices about the acquisition and preparation of food. As food environments play a crucial role in the determination of the nutritional outcomes, inequities within this part of the food system can lead to substantial deterioration of food security due to for example a lack of access to food or a lack of financial resources (Global Nutrition Report, 2020). FSAs can thus be seen as an encompassing and holistic perspective for investigating broader socio-economic and environmental aspects influencing food security, environmental and socio-economic outcomes. This broader framework might thereby also aid to analyze the vulnerability of separate parts of the food system (Ingram, 2011). As the world is increasingly globalizing, an FSA might also be a useful approach to understand how interventions might influence different parts of the system.

2.1.2 Practical framework

For this research, I will apply the FSA definition by the HLPE (2017) as it provides a clear overview of how food systems of fish are interconnected. As to investigate the practice of discarding I will mainly focus on the production system within the food supply chain part of the food system as depicted in figure 1. Fish are caught in this part of the system and might be discarded due to policy interventions such as the LO, or innovative or less innovative fishing gears applied. This also relates to the aspects of hierarchical and self-governance on which will be elaborated in the following sub-chapter about governance theory. It is thus essential to see


Dutch demersal fisheries and discarding in the broader context of the food system of fish as the discarding practice, for example, has effects on food availability and the exploitation of fish stocks.

2.2 Governance theory

The second theoretical perspective for this research is the governance theory, which has gained ground in both the social sciences and the policy world. Governance theory elaborates on the practice of collective decision-making with an array of multiple local, international and private or state actors. According to Kooiman & Bavinck (2005) governing is a public, and a private matter in which non-state actors rather than solely state actors address societal problems and opportunities. Secondly, Kooiman & Bavinck argue (2005) that the interests of the public and private sectors are not inherently divided but are often shared in a more globalizing world where the role of the state has been shrinking. Thirdly, these authors argue that governance is a reflection of the growth of socio-economic and political interdependencies and other trends such as globalization and localization. Berkes (2010) underwrites this trend with the fact that the increasingly globalized world calls for a local link to higher levels of social and political incorporation. In other terms: a single management institution is no longer capable of grasping the increasingly globalized issues. Following this line of argumentation, Kooiman & Bavinck (2005, p. 17) define governance as: “Governance is the whole of public as well as private interactions taken to solve societal problems and create societal opportunities. It includes the formulation and application of principles guiding those interactions and care for institutions that enable them.” These “interactions” can be seen as an action whereby multiple actors interact to tackle a specific problem. The “societal” aspect of this definition refers to everything that has a common, collective and social component. The institutions in this definition are of importance since these institutions assure structure in human behavior and social relations.

These institutions are according to Hodgson (2006, p. 2) those “structures that matter the most in the social realm: they make up the stuff of social life” as human interactions are formed by implicit rules.

Chhotray & Stoker (2013, p. 3) define governance as: “Governance is about the rules of collective decision-making in settings where there is a plurality of actors or organizations and where no formal control system can dictate the term of the relationship between these actors


and organizations.” This definition does not assume that there is a formal control system in place which dictates the interactions between the actors. They argue that governance is ‘a world where no one is in charge’. The definition of Kooiman & Bavinck (2005), on the contrary, implies that there are institutions in place that enable and mediate the interactions between actors. For this research, the definition of Kooiman & Bavinck (2005) is chosen, as certain overarching rules, regulations, and institutions by for example governments are in play.

2.2.1 Modes of governance

An important element of governance theory is that it differentiates between three different types or modes of governance. The first, and most classical mode of governance is hierarchical governance, which is mostly expressed in laws and policies and can be seen as an interventionist top-down approach. The state plays a regulatory role within this mode of governance and interventions have a formalized character (Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005; Kooiman &

Chuenpagdee, 2005). Hierarchical governance is a common mode of governance within fisheries, as the state is often involved in its regulation. The state, however, is oftentimes retreating and is replaced by the market as a regulating actor.

The second mode of governance is called co-governance, which can be recognized by the fact that societal parties collaborate for the same purpose, where no one actor is in control, but horizontal governance is in place (Kooiman & Chuenpagdee, 2005). Within this mode of governance, parties remain autonomous but communicate, cooperate and coordinate without anyone playing a dominant role. An example of this mode of governance is public-private partnerships (PPP’s) where the state and private actors cooperate horizontally, which is effective if all actors are equally represented and transparent interactions take place. This mode of governance in fisheries is an alternative to the more classical way of top-down hierarchical governance. Self-organization of the involved actors is thereby necessary to overcome issues of disparity among the actors, cooperation, and shared responsibility (Bavinck et al., 2005).

The third mode of governance is self-governance, in which groups, individuals and organizations govern themselves. In self-governance, the actors take care of themselves without governmental intervention. Self-governance is not created by the government but arises by itself (Kooiman & Chuenpagdee, 2005). This mode of governance is mostly present within the local fishing communities in the Global South rather than the North (Bavinck et al., 2005).


Apart from these modes of governance, fishery systems can be characterized by the fact that they are becoming more complex due to globalization, which has expanded the chains of interaction. Globalization, according to Thorpe & Bennet (2001, as cited in Kooiman &

Bavinck, 2005) has three manifestations: in production, trade and regulations. Globalization of production and trade connects more fishermen and places to larger markets, whereas the globalization of regulations has led to a complicated body of rules and policies at all levels. An interrelated concept is that of scale, which in geographical sense, refers to the fact that some fish species are geographically limited, while others are globally found. Markets and fishermen can shift spatially to follow the migratory patterns of the species (Thorpe et al., 2005). The time aspect of scale, refers for example, to time needed for fishing or life-cycles of ecosystems (Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005). Governance thus relates to both time and spatial scales but the concept of scale can also refer to the operational scale of fishing itself.

2.2.2 Orders of governance

Another important element of governance theory relates to the orders of governance, which are subdivided into day-to-day activities, institutions, and its rules and regulations, and the normative values and principles guiding the former two (Bavinck et al., 2005). The first order of governance relates to the day-to-day activities of the people and organizations interacting together to solve problems or create new opportunities. Kooiman & Bavinck (2005, p.19) describe this in the case of fisheries as “solving the constant stream of problems which surface in the fish chain – problems of supply, price, market, employment, work satisfaction, etc.” It includes the enforcement of rules and regulations, the acquisition of information to make appropriate decisions but also relates to the solution of inter-actor governance conflicts. These societal problems, however, are not objective realities but are all perceived differently by different actors and should be separated from private problems as they share a common interest (Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005).

The second order of governance relates to the design, maintenance and change of governing institutions that provide frameworks for governing interactions in which first-order governance takes place (Bavinck et al., 2005; Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005). It includes the agreements, rules, regulations and laws that are used by the first order governors to make decisions. These institutions, if appropriate, create the framework for first order governance


these institutions and organizations do not match with the societal problems, they might obstruct the solution of these problems. It can be the case that the institutions cannot keep up with changing circumstances. Within this second order, the state is an important actor controlling fishing activities, while the market institutions play a role in the supply chain from fish to consumer. Civil society in the form of NGOs can in this second order of governance act as a custodian of the ecosystem and thereby try to ensure that environmental damage is minimized (Kooiman & Chuenpagdee, 2005). This second order of governance thus includes the institutional arrangements such as rules and regulations on limiting by-catch (Kooiman &

Bavinck, 2005).

The third order of governance is also called meta governance and relates to the values and principles guiding interactions against which governance practices should be evaluated and new goals are set. These principles, if clear, thus regulate the way governance actors interact (Bavinck et al., 2005). These principles can be normative, but can in itself be either universally applicable or contextual and understood within its cultural context (Kooiman, 2005).

2.2.3 Practical framework

The governance theory as explained by Kooiman & Bavinck (2005) is a useful lens for this research as is it provides a framework to investigate how forms of governance work in the context of the CFP and the LO. First of all, it appears that the CFP and the LO are rather interventionalist top-down approaches. The Dutch government can be viewed as a hierarchical governance actor as it has to enforce the LO in practice. Secondly, each Dutch demersal cutter, where the practice of discarding occurs, can in the scope of this research be seen as a self- governing entity (self-governance) since the skipper and vessel crew might decide whether to comply with the LO or not.

Thereby, there is a division between the several orders of governing, which co-exist in Dutch demersal fisheries and its policies. Within the first order of governance, the societal problem of discarding is a shared societal problem as described by Kooiman & Bavinck (2005).

“Once problems, and problem systems, have been identified, attention shifts to the solution space” as Kooiman & Bavinck (2005, p.19) state. Furthermore, the first order of governance is the location where problems are solved and the day-to-day activities occur, which is thus on the vessel.


The second order of governing implies the institutional framework (CFP & LO) in which the first order governing (the discarding and problem-solving) takes place. This second order of governance mainly occurs on land, as this is where the institutional framework is formed. According to Kooiman & Bavinck (2005, p. 20) these are “the systems of agreements, rules, rights, laws, norms, beliefs, roles, procedures and organizations that are applied by first- order governors to make decisions.” Furthermore, the aspect of globalization in terms of trade, regulations and production as described by Thorpe & Bennett (2001, as cited in Kooiman &

Bavinck, 2005) is also of importance since the CFP and LO are rather regional policy interventions accounting for intervention in all European fisheries. This also relates to scale as described by Thorpe et al. (2005), as certain demersal species might be geographically limited while the time aspect of scale refers to time needed for fishing or life-cycles of ecosystems (Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005). Governance is thus a part of the food system of fish as can be seen in figure 2. In the next section, I will describe how SPT can be applied to this research and how these three theories combine in a conceptual framework for this research.

2.3 Social practice theory

The third theoretical perspective to be applied to this research is the social practice theory (SPT). This theory shifts the attention from the individual to the practice and has increasingly gained ground in social sciences. Practice theories tend to seek the balance between structure and agency and subjectivist or objectivist interpretations of the social construct (Spaargaren et al., 2016). This theory ranges from analyzing general aspects of everyday life to the most structured processes within institutions and social behavioral change. These practices range from momentary doings to more longstanding activities and can be of a geographically localized or general nature. Practices can range from shaking a hand to cooking a meal or making phone calls, or in the case of this research: the practice of discarding fish. These practices involve an examination of the material culture and equipment in place, but are also culturally dependent (Rouse, 2007). This part of the theoretical framework will elaborate on the elements of practice and how this theory is conceptualized for this research.


2.3.1 The elements of practice

According to Reckwitz (2002) practice theory encompasses the fact that the body is not an instrument that an actor uses for actions, but the routinized action or practice itself is a form of bodily performance. The practices or routinized bodily movements involve a form of mental state or being which is necessary to carry out the practice. Reckwitz (2002, p. 255) defines a social practice as routines: “Routines of moving the body, of understanding and wanting, of using things, interconnected in a practice.”. There are thus certain elements which interconnect the practices. The first element according to Reckwitz (2002) is the body. He argues that a practice is social as these are executed at different points in time by different bodies and on different locations. A practice does not focus on the individual but on the multiplicity of bodies carrying out the practices. The routines of moving the body are according to Reckwitz (2002) the practice itself. He, therefore, argues that the body is trained in a certain way, which then constitutes a practice. The second element is, according to Reckwitz (2002) the mind, as the routines of bodily performances at the same time also incorporate mental activities. It is thus important to have the know-how and the bodily performance which together constitute a certain practice. The third element according to Reckwitz (2002, p. 252) is “things”, as “objects are necessary components of many practices”. Objects or things are often involved in carrying out a practice in a certain way. Another element of a practice is knowledge, which means according to Reckwitz (2002) that an individual has an understanding of the world, humans and objects.

Knowledge encompasses the way of what one wants or feels. Reckwitz (2002) argues that every practice has an intention; wanting or avoiding certain results. The fifth element, he explains is the one of discourse or language which means that the world is composed of language and sign- systems with a meaning. In a discursive practice, the practitioner attributes a connotation to an object to understand another object and to do something. Furthermore, structure or processes are important elements of a practice. This structure means that social practices are routinized actions of understanding, moving and using objects. If this structure of routine is broken or shifted, this means that a practice is challenged. The world is thus constructed from social practices which are carried out by agents which all have their knowledge and know-how according to a certain practice that is carried out. Reckwitz (2002, p. 249) combines these elements in the following definition of a social practice: “a routinized type of behavior which consists of several elements, interconnected to one other: forms of bodily activities, forms of


mental activities, ‘things’ and their use, a background knowledge in the form of understanding, know-how, states of emotion and motivational knowledge”.

Shove & Pantzar (2005) describe social practices as being constituted of a combination of three elements: materials (tangible objects, things, technologies), competences (skills, know- how and technique) and meanings (ideas, symbolic meanings, and aspirations). According to Holtz (2014, p. 2), material covers all physical aspects of performing practices including the human body: “It is a sequence of bodily activities involving the use of material artefacts.” He explains this with the example of going to work by bus which involves that one buys a ticket, takes a seat and pushes the stop-button. Holtz (2014, p. 2) hence argues that meaning refers to the “issues which are considered relevant with respect to that material, i.e. understandings, beliefs and emotions.” Issues that are associated with going by bus can for example be price or environmental considerations. The “competence” element then refers to “which skills and knowledge are required to perform the practice” (Holtz, 2014, p. 2). One who takes the bus should know how the system works and where the stop is. Repeated staging of these elements over time will then lead to the recognizable coherence of these elements, with practices becoming visible as relevant matters. The elements of practices can according to Holtz (2014) be socially shared, which means that practices can be carried out by more people than one and that there can be a division of labor within the practices as elements of practices are socially shared among the practitioners.

“Practices emerge, persist, shift and disappear when connections between elements of these three types are made, sustained or broken” as Shove et al. (2012, p. 14) argue. Spotswood et al. (2015) argue that these three elements must co-exist to perform a practice. All practice theories recognize the fact that materials are of high importance within social spheres and a practice-based approach cannot be used when the role of materiality is not acknowledged, which is thus as Spaargaren et al. (2016, p.8) call it: “the crucial hardware of the social”. Shove et al. (2012) see material, competences and meanings being at the same level, while Schatzki (2002) sees materiality as being constructed and manipulated by the practitioners in their practices in which human agency thus plays an important role. According to Schatzki (2002, p.

71), practices are a “bundle” of activities, which is “an organized nexus of activities”, consisting of activities and organization and doing and sayings. The doings and sayings that constitute a practice are interconnected through practical understanding, rules, emotions, purposes, and


2.3.2 Zooming in, zooming out

As a means of making this theory more practically applicable, Nicolini (2012) firstly argues that ‘zooming in’ on practices should happen. This zooming-in can occur in several ways of which one is becoming engaged in the practices through participation or participatory observation and getting an insider’s view. With this view, one can observe which order of interactions takes place within this practice. By following people, different relational patterns and perspectives become visible among the practitioners. Nicolini (2012) adds that this zooming-in on practices also means that the relevant artefacts and should be investigated, and how these materials are used in practice. Another way of zooming-in on practices, is following the path of emergence, development, maturing, and aging of a practice. This way of historicizing a practice can show how robust a certain practice is or whether this practice is resilient over time (Spaargaren et al., 2016).

Regarding the fact that practices are interdependent Nicolini (2012), and cannot be carried out without the existence of other related practices, it is also of importance to apply a ‘zoomed out’ perspective when studying social practices. As zooming-in only focuses on situated practices, this zooming-in needs to be supplemented with zoomed-out data, when for example focusing on processes of social change (Spaargaren et al., 2016).

Spaargaren et al. (2016) add that practices can be clustered in broader networks of practices and that these practices can be interdependent. Practices can only be studied relationally and should be understood as a part of an interconnected web (Nicolini, 2012).

Nicolini (2012, p. 229) describes this zooming out of practice as “moving between practice in the making and the texture of practices, which causally connect this particular instance to many others.”

2.3.3 Practice theory in practice

Practice theory has increasingly gained ground in social sciences and has been applied to a variety of studies on behavioral change and basal everyday practices. Spotswood et al. (2015) have applied practice theory to the behavioral change of the uptake of cycling in the UK, shifting the focus from the individual to the practice of cycling, finding that cycling is embedded in a web of other practices. These authors argue that policymakers, urban planners, and marketeers should thereby collaborate rather than work in isolation of each other when trying to establish the increased uptake of cycling. Hargreaves (2011) applied practice theory in a case


study of pro-environmental behavior which also shows that individual behavioral change interventions are “too narrow to capture the full range of what is involved in behavior change initiatives.” (Hargreaves, 2011, p. 95). Shove & Pantzar (2005), however, did not focus on behavioral change but applied the material, competences and meaning approach to Nordic walking, as they explore the emergence of a new practice with the interdependence of these elements. Saputra (2020) has applied SPT in the context of illegal fishing in Indonesia, whereas practice theory has also been applied to organizational studies to investigate how strategy is shaped through actions of organizational participants (Feldman & Orlikowski, 2011). However, no research exists on how practice theory can be applied to the globally occurring practice of discarding. Understanding the constitution of this practice might therefore help to develop a framework to influence the practice in such way that it can lead to social change occurring.

2.3.4 Practical framework

As this research investigates the practice of discarding fish on-board, I will apply the three- element construction of Shove & Pantzar (2005) which includes the meaning, competence, and material elements constructing the practice of discarding in which the fishermen are the practitioners. I will therefore describe what this three-element conceptualization of the practice of discarding entails for this research.

• Materials and activities of discarding: Materials include all activities and physical artefacts which are used in the practice. The activities involved in the practice of discarding are thus: sorting the fish, the use of different fishing gears for fishing, throwing fish overboard, or storing the fish. The materials involved refer to the physical artefacts and technology used (Shove & Pantzar, 2005) such as the fish and the fishermen themselves, the fishing gear, the mesh size, but it can also relate to the amount of quota owned by the fishermen or the amount of storage space available for storing discards. It must, however, be noted here that the practice of discarding is part of the practice of fishing and that these two cannot be seen separately.


• Meanings: Refer to the issues which are relevant to the materials and activities, like emotions, beliefs or attitudes or values (Holtz, 2014). The core purpose of the discarding of fish is getting rid of the fish by throwing it overboard. This meaning is most likely shared among the different stakeholders. However, the values the stakeholders attribute to this meaning of the practice might differ. The value the fishermen ascribe to the meaning of discarding can follow from the fact that they think it is better to discard due to economic reasons (as storage capacity is not sufficient and other fish have higher value) or that it is better to discard from an ecological point of view as juvenile fish should be in the sea and can survive the discarding process. A fisherman might also decide to discard as quota may be exhausted. Discarding might in this sense also occur as a means of complying with the LO as fish have scientifically proven high survivability, fall under the de minimis exemption or are damaged. However, from different stakeholder perspectives, the practice of discarding might have a different meaning as it relates to waste of marine resources and has to do with non-compliance of the LO. The value attributed to the practice of discarding can thus be conflicting among stakeholders.

• Competence: Refers to skills and knowledge which are incorporated in performing a practice (Holtz, 2014). For discarding, I argue that a fisherman must know which fish are (not) allowed to be discarded and have to be landed, when a fish has (lower) economic value due to for example its age or size. This knowledge incorporated in this practice means that one knows when to discard or not or where to fish (or not) to prevent discards. The latter can be a way of knowledge sharing among fishermen on board but also among fishermen of different vessels through for example social media channels.

It must be noted that the regulatory intervention of the LO had as a main purpose to try to influence the practice of discarding by increasing selectivity measures on board and to make best use of the catch which was otherwise discarded. I argue that this intervention thus involved trying to change of the value of the meaning of discarding for fishermen while also changing the material and knowledge element. The elements and it’s social sharing of a practice, occur in different locations (see section 2.3.2) as I identify as being on shore and on board:


• On shore: This is the location where the elements of practices are socially shared. The meanings and knowledge of discarding can be shared here by the different stakeholders and fishermen, while material artefacts such as quota or increased selectivity fishing gear can also be shared and be placed here. Also, the regulatory intervention of the reformed CFP with the LO (a hierarchical form of governance) has occurred on land. It must however be noted that the practices on shore will not be analyzed on the basis of meanings, materials and competences as this would broaden the scope of this research too much. Therefore, I will only map out which practices on shore are related to the practice of discarding. The practices on shore are therefore less extensively operationalized in the operationalization table (appendix 1).

• On board: This is the location where the actual practice of discarding occurs and where the relevant artefacts (gear and fish), meanings, beliefs and values (economic/ecologic) and competences (when to discard or not) come together as being the practice of discarding.

Nicolini’s (2012) “zoomed-out” perspective will be applied as it is of great relevance for this research to find out what the relevant interdependencies between the practices on board and on shore are. The zooming-in perspective as described by Nicolini (2012) might thereby also be a helpful way as this zooming-in method follows the path of maturing, aging and development of a practice as one of the aims is to find out whether the LO has led to any change in the practice of discarding.


2.4 Conceptual framework

As described in the theoretical framework, this research combines three theoretical stances. It is essential to understand that the governance of fisheries occurs within the broader food system of fish and that the three-element constitution of practices on board can be seen as the first order of governance and a mode of self-governance as this is the place where day-to-day activities exist and where is decided to (not) comply with the rules. The CFP and the LO can be seen as the second order of governance as this is the institutional framework that shapes the first order of governance (Bavinck et al., 2005; Kooiman & Bavinck, 2005). The CFP and LO are a form of hierarchical governance (taking place on land) and the bundles of practices occurring on shore and on board should be seen as interrelated, as practices would cease to exist when other practices do not exist (Saputra, 2020). Furthermore, the research concepts have been operationalized in an operationalization table (see appendix 1) to have a clear overview of

which data should be collected for the main research concepts. In this chapter, I have described the three relevant theoretical perspectives and how these combine to form a useful theoretical framework to study the practice of discarding. In the next chapter, I will elaborate on the methodological and ethical considerations regarding this research.

Figure 4: Conceptual framework


3.0 Methodology

This research has made use of primary and secondary data collection. Primary data was collected by participant observation and informal and semi-structured face-to-face and online interviewing. Secondary data was collected as a basis for writing the interview questions and to answer the first sub-question regarding the CFP and the LO. This chapter will describe the research design and data collection and analysis, ethical considerations, positionality, ontology, quality criteria of this research, and the challenges and limitations of this research.

3.1 Case study

To understand the practices of discarding, this research applied a case study approach on board of a Dutch cutter, carrying out participant observations and semi-structured interviews. As this research is the first in its kind to apply SPT to find out what the practices of discarding are, this research is explorative and ethnographic in nature. The researcher therefore participated actively in the non-controllable field as a guest for a week during a fishing trip. Consequently, it was of importance to become intimately involved with the crewmembers by building some kind of friendship and trust to gain full insight of the activities (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999).

Semi-structured interviews with (ex)-fishermen and stakeholders substantiated my observations considering the practice of discarding for which I have chosen to apply the framework as explained by Shove & Pantzar (2005). To find out what the interrelated practices are on board and on shore (see section 2.3.4), I have distinguished between these two. A zoomed-out perspective as described by Nicolini (2012) was thereby applied as these bundles of practices might influence each other in a certain way. The zoomed-in perspective was also be applied since this perspective can follow the path of aging, maturing and development of a practice.


3.2 Unit of analysis and sampling

The units of analysis for this research were (1) the fishers and the stakeholders (from NGOs, scientists, policymakers and people from the industry) identified as being relevant for this research and (2) the hierarchical governance interventions (CFP and the LO) affecting the practice of discarding and the perceptions of stakeholders.

Sampling of the on-board and on-shore participants for the interviews occurred by the means of purposive sampling as this form of sampling allows for the fact that the ones sampled and interviewed are most relevant for this research. Variety of sample characteristics is important so that different sample members contribute to questions regarding different subjects (Bryman, 2012). On-board interviewees were contacted personally on-site, while the on-shore interviewees were contacted by phone or email. Selective sampling was in this case applied since a part of the sampling population was already identified before the actual data collection.

Snowball sampling was thereby used as a form of theoretical sampling since cooperating participants could provide me with further relevant contacts and information as the process of research and data collection further evolved (Draucker et al., 2007).

3.3 Data collection

Firstly, this research applied a participant observation method as a means of collecting primary data on the practice of discarding. This participant observation has been done by joining a Dutch demersal fishing vessel for a period of a week (from the 13th -20th of May, 2021) and engaging in the fishing and discarding practice. Participant observation helped to understand how and why people communicate, how they spent time on certain activities and observations increased the validity of the study as the observer was able to better understand the context of behaviors and activities. This validity becomes stronger by combining it with for example interviewing (Kawulich, 2005). Participant observation also helps the researcher to become engaged with the participants which can ease the research process of interviewing (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999).

As said, these observations provided the content of the physical settings, acts and activities taking place aboard, as LeCompte & Schensul (1999) point out. This data was then used to evaluate what the practices of discarding on board are. The (informal) semi-structured interviews and conversations with the fishermen on board were held to substantiate the


observations of the practice of discarding and to find out what the materials, meanings and competences entail of this practice and what the perceptions of the fishermen are of the LO.

These interviews were also used to find out what the bundles practices on shore are and whether these have changed due to the introduction of the LO. To maintain the informality of these conversations, there was chosen to only take notes during the conversations and interviews.

Thereby comes that semi-structured interviews allow for context-specific explanations of observations and findings during the research. To thoroughly interview the participants it was considered of importance to have conducted literature research of secondary data on the CFP, LO, and the Dutch demersal fisheries sector. This secondary data served as a means for providing background information and context of the Dutch demersal fisheries sector and answering the first sub-question.

Furthermore, semi-structured (online) interviews with representatives from several stakeholder groups involved in the LO have also been conducted. The research includes a total of 23 interviews with 24 participants, ranging from people from the Wageningen Marine Research Institute, Stichting Noordzee, the Ministry of LNV (Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit) (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality), The Directorate General of Maritime Resources and Fisheries of the EU (DG Mare), WWF, Fisheries Unions and other EU and Dutch institutions. The basic respondent characteristics have been described in appendix 4 as anonymity was guaranteed to all respondents.

These people have also been recruited by the means of purposive sampling. The interviews with these stakeholders contributed to showing what the perceptions of these different stakeholder groups are on the LO are, and how these differ among these among the stakeholder groups.

3.4 Data analysis

Data on participant observation, the semi-structured interviews and the actual physical settings on board of the fishing vessel was collected by the means of written and taped fieldnotes and a diary. This method was chosen to comprehensively understand the context of the practice of discarding. The first stage of analysis of data commenced in the field. During the collection of the data, I therefore tried to see if I could link my observations with the operationalized variables and indicators or that new indicators and variables emerged during data collection.


The second stage of the analysis commenced after the fieldwork and interviews were completed and consisted of transcribing and coding the semi-structured interviews, conversations and field notes with Atlas.ti., which was also the central tool of analysis. To group my data, I applied several types of coding; in the first cycle of coding, I coded the data of my transcriptions by the means of descriptive coding, which gave me a detailed inventory of the contents of the transcripts of the interviews, conversations and fieldnotes (Saldaña, 2015).

The second cycle of coding occurred by the means of deductive coding, which is based on the concepts of the conceptual framework (Saldaña, 2015). This means that I coded the data regarding practice of discarding by the means of the material, competence and meaning elements as described by Shove & Pantzar (2005), whereas data on perceptions were coded on key elements arising from the interviews by the means of open coding.

3.5 Ethical considerations

As this research concerns a sensitive subject, it is of importance to be aware of the ethical considerations as described in the UvA/GSSS ethical guidelines(2019) of which the basic premise is to avoid doing harm. This section will therefore describe how ethics were taken into account during the course of this research.

As appeared from the interviews, the LO has led to great division among several stakeholders and within the Dutch demersal fisheries sector. Any information from which can be derived who the relevant participant is, was therefore anonymized in such way that this is not possible anymore. The interviewees have therefore been called (ex)-fisherman (1-4), NGO representative (1-7), fisheries’ representative (1-3), employee from DG MARE or policy-maker of ministry of LNV (1-2) – also see appendix 4.

To reach out to participants, they were recruited by either phone or email or personally contacted on board of the vessel. Voluntary participation was achieved by explaining what the purpose of research is and by explaining who my supervisors are (who are known in the fishing industry). The interviews were conducted both in person and through Zoom or Microsoft Teams, which was due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Full trust-building with participants online was difficult but was not deemed as a substantial limitation for this research. These online interviews have always been done in a private setting to ensure the respondents’ anonymity and online safety. Thereby, all data was stored in a secured Dropbox through iCloud which was only accessible to myself. All steps were therefore taken to ensure respondents’ anonymity and


confidentiality as Bryman (2012) points out. It is possible, however, that from the contents of the interviews and transcriptions appears which function the respondent has within the organization. Before publication, the data will therefore be further checked against the possibility of causing harm and will therefore be anonymized. The raw data is stored on an external secured hard drive for a maximum of five years as the data might be used for further research. As interviews were mostly conducted in an informal setting and anonymity has been assured, a signed, written statement of non-disclosure was not deemed to be necessary. As I recorded most of the conversations and made use of video and photographs, full consent has been asked beforehand from the participants, which all agreed with recording the conversations, provided that everything will be treated anonymously. I have not discussed a re-reading of transcripts by the participants as they all agreed upon usage of their data provided that all data was anonymized. Consent regarding recording of interviews was achieved by asking participants if they agreed on this. A form of consent for photo/video-graphs was also not deemed to be necessary since this could influence the relationship I built up during the ethnographic research on the fishing vessel with the relevant fishermen and employees. I, therefore, asked whether I could take pictures and chose to not include any faces when using photos for this thesis. To not harm this relationship, I also chose to not make use of rewards for participation. Furthermore, as I worked on a forty-meter fishing vessel with heavy industrial fishing gear and machinery, no work was executed without consent or direct supervision of a crew member in charge as to ensure my safety. I therefore asked where I could help without risking my safety. By following these guidelines, no health or safety risks were encountered during the fieldwork.

3.6 Positionality

In doing my research about the LO, it was of great importance to be aware of my position as a young 26-year old Caucasian male living in urban surroundings researching a very sensitive subject. Acknowledging the fact that I am highly aware of sustainability issues and that I am joining the vessel as a researcher, this might lead to a biased view of the practices of the fishermen and the fact that the fishermen might not be entirely open to me. I have therefore decided to not immediately start researching on board of the vessel but to firstly blend in with the crew for two days by doing chores, helping in the pantry and helping with the standard


routines on board of sorting and cleaning the fish. This way of working was chosen to guide myself on the ship, to see how routines and relations work on the vessel and to see how I fit in the hierarchy on the ship. As being a researcher in these settings, I tried to be fully transparent about the goals of this research and my positionality within this issue. I, therefore, explained to all my participants that I solely want to show what current perceptions and practices of discarding are, whilst staying most objective in my questioning and the analysis of my data. I thereby explained that I have no personal background in fisheries and that I execute this research out of own interest as to assure that no other parties are involved in this research and there is no conflict of interest.

3.7 Ontology

This research takes on the ontological constructivist approach as it “asserts that social phenomena and their meanings are continually being accomplished by social actors. It implies that social phenomena and categories are not only produced through social interaction but that they are in a constant state of revision.” (Bryman, 2012, p. 32). Nicolini (2012, p. 5) hereby explains that “practices are not simply points of passage between human subjects and social structure. Rather, practice is positioned center stage.” As Taylor (1971, as cited in Nicolini, 2012 p. 5) describes: “practices cannot be conceived as a set of individual actions, but which are essentially modes of social relations, of mutual action.” The researcher hereby shows a certain version of social reality which cannot be regarded as being a form of definitive social reality. It is thus for this research of importance to understand that the studied phenomena, practices and reality are thus in a continuous state of change.

3.8 Quality criteria

As Bryman (2012) points out, trustworthiness is an essential criterion to evaluate qualitative research, which consists of four criteria: (1) credibility, (2) transferability, (3) dependability and (4) confirmability. The issue of credibility implies that the research is carried out according to the “canons” of good practice, and the fact that data should be triangulated (Bryman, 2012, p. 390). Triangulation of the data regarding the practice of discarding and its perceptions is done as I applied both participant observations and interviews with people from different


stakeholder perspectives. Another example is that I discussed several interview outcomes with other participants to verify previous findings.

As this research was focused on a relatively small group of stakeholders and a single case study which is highly context-specific, generalizability and transferability (or external validity) however, might be hard to achieve since this study only shows the practice of discarding in a single space and location. It can thus not be compared to other instances of discarding in the same research, but can be replicated to find out what the practices on board of other demersal or pelagic vessels are. Geertz (1973) as quoted in Bryman (2012, p.392) therefore calls for a thick description of the research context and culture. This so-called thick description can help others to make judgements about the transferability of the data to other circumstances. I have chosen to obtain a broad understanding of respondent’s attitudes and experiences with the LO by asking them about their historical work and perceptions of rules and regulations and how stakeholder consultation was done according to them. Social settings, however, cannot be frozen but a researcher might adopt the same role on the boat as I did to verify previous findings (Bryman, 2012).

Dependability of data refers to creating trustworthiness of research, researchers should keep records of all the phases of their research to ensure that peers can act as “auditors”, ensuring that the researcher has followed the proper research procedures (Bryman, 2012, p.

392). To do so, I have decided to stay in touch with my supervisors throughout the entire research process to discuss any possibly occurring problems with participants, transcriptions or other problems occurring during the research process. In this instance, the research details for auditing entail interview questions, contact information, transcripts of interviews, the interview recordings and the interview schedule.

Confirmability of the research is according to Bryman (2012, p. 392) concerned with the fact that “the researcher can be shown to have acted in good faith”. Personal values and theoretical predispositions should thereby not influence the research process and its findings.

To prevent this from occurring I have tried to reflect on my positionality (see sub-chapter 3.6) within this research as much as possible. Any form of subjective questioning and subjective reasoning in data findings and conclusions has therefore been avoided as much as possible by discussing this with my supervisors. Furthermore, as practices and social realities can be subjective, I have decided to make use of diaries in which I explained what certain observations




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