Coastal resource foraging, the culture of coastal livelihoods, and human well-being in Southeastern Puerto Rico: consensus, consonance, and some implications for coastal policy

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Based on 3 years of fieldwork in Southeastern Puerto Rico (SE PR), we report on data showing that Puerto Rican coastal resource foragers (CR foragers) have a distinct cultural model of well-being, when compared with their non-foraging neighbors. The CR foragers’ cultural model of well-being is directly related to the foraging lifestyle. It emphasizes independence, investment in social relationships, and enjoyment of the natural environment over the more stable access to higher income available in the formal economy. As such, we view this cultural model as an alternative to the individualistic/capitalistic model of continual growth and wealth accumulation. Building on previous analysis in which we found higher subjective well-being for coastal resource foragers compared with non-foraging neighbors as reported by García-Quijano et al. (J Anthropol Res 71 (2):145–167 2015), we find that the higher well-being of CR foragers compared with their non-foraging neighbors is consistent with Dressler’s (2018) framework of cultural consonance, in this case between what they value in life and what they are able to obtain through their occupation and lifestyle as CR foragers. We discuss the implication of our findings for coastal policy in CR foraging dependent locales such as SE PR.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Maritime Studies