Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty Advisor(s)

Hillary Crane

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Natural Resource Economics | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Work, Economy and Organizations


This study explores the intersections of masculinity, rurality, the family, and ecology through the experiences of commercial fishermen in Alaska. By understanding the plurality of masculinities and how men operate within a rural space, this study investigates the relationship between the masculine rural and the rural masculine and how that relationship pertains to commercial fishermen. This study examines existing discourse about Alaska and the masculinity of commercial fishermen in light of the concepts of cultural and economic capital, as well as local ecological knowledge (LEK). It further examines how fishermen describe their experiences in the industry as ones that are rooted in family influence and economic gain, while also believing that in order to make money, a “true fisherman” needs to be able to learn fast and endure what the industry throws at them. By exploring these parallels, this study reveals that Alaska commercial fishermen shape their gender identities on the notion that only a “true fisherman” is capable of achieving success through hard work, family support, and the utilization of local knowledge.