The "public face" of the New England Regional Fishery Council : year 1
Smith, M. Estellie
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The first year of the New England Regional Fisheries Management Council has been marked by its experimental aura. Neither the Council nor the various sectors (representatives of the Federal and State agencies, members of the fishing industry, the public at large) were clear as to exactly what they were to do and how they were to do it--except in the broadest, most flexible (ambiguous?) terms. This created certain operational difficulties, and confusion for those whose livelihood was affected by the Council's operation. This latter group, particularly the fishermen, knew little of what went on, save in terms of the 'public facet of the Council--i.e., that portion of the Council's performance which occurred during the monthly meetings which were open to the public and which, supposedly, received public input at that time. This study defines that public face, deliberately avoiding the presentation of any data which was not accessible to the average audience participant, in an attempt to present some of the behavior which all participants demonstrated and which generated responses and reactions on the part of the other sectors. It uses standard anthropological techniques of data gathering and analysis to show the degree to which impression management on the part of all the actors operated in a systematic fashion to produce action, reaction, and counter-action. Particularly emphasized is the communication aspects.
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