Accepted Paper:

Cans full of memories: Remembering the fish-canning industry in the North-Eastern Adriatic  


Tanja Petrovic (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

The paper sheds light on memories of fish-canning industry in North-eastern Adriatic in the second part of the 20th century. It highlights strong social-structuring function of these factories and the capacity of memories related to fish-canning to question dominant tourism-oriented ideology.

Paper long abstract:

Based on ethnographic work and interviews with former workers employed in fish-canning factories in Banjole (near Pula) and insular towns of Cres and Mali LoĊĦinj (Croatia), this paper sheds light on memories of labor in fish-canning industry in the second part of the 20th century. It seeks to highlight the ways in which these memories complicate and challenge prevalent views of fish-canning industry as "primitive", unwanted, "stinky", marginal, and strongly un-preferred in comparison with another source of income - tourism. Looking at both personal memories and public memorizations of labor in the fish canning factories, the paper argues that these factories did not only provide workers with an income, but created a framework for a meaningful social and community life. It looks at the ways the memories and narratives of work in the fish-canning industry, as well as practices of memorization and heritage-making related to this industry engage with the current social and economic conditions, in which tourism is privileged over any other economic activity, and the maritime industry is globalized and detached from the ecosystem in which humans, the fish and the sea are closely interconnected.

Panel Econ01
Remembering the factory: industrial pasts and presents