University of Manitoba - Faculty of Arts - Anthropology - Dr. Derek Johnson
Dr. Derek Johnson

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Dr. Derek Johnson

Acting Department Head
Office: 433 Fletcher Argue
Phone: (204) 474-8999

Ph.D. University of Guelph, 2002
 M.A. University of Guelph, 1994
 B.A. University of Toronto, 1990


Recent Courses:

  • ANTH 1220 – Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 2000 – Culture, Society, and Power
  • ANTH 2020 – Relatedness in a Globalizing World
  • ANTH 3200 – Anthropology of Food
  • ANTH 4780/7130 – Cultural Ecology
  • ANTH 4780/7900 -  Maritime Anthropology

Areas of Specialization:

Human-environment relations, small-scale fisheries, food, transition, political economy/ecology, relationality, wellbeing, governance, development, Gujarat, India.

Current Research:

In keeping with the complexities of the human-environment problems that interest me, I work most commonly in collaborative interdisciplinary research projects to which I seek to bring an anthropological sensitivity. Student research and training is central in these kinds of projects. To date, I have funded fully or partly five Master’s students, one PhD student, and two Post-doctoral Fellows.

Current Research Projects (as of August 2017):

2017-18 Project Director on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Grant Letter of Intent project Dried fish matters: mapping the social economy of dried fish in South and Southeast Asia for enhanced wellbeing and nutrition.

2014-2015       Co-Lead Researcher (with Micaela Trimble, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil) on the IDRC/AUCC Latin American and the Caribbean Research Grants Program project Evaluating adaptive co-management for the sustainability of Uruguayan and Brazilian small-scale fisheries.

2012-2018       Co-applicant on the SSHRC Partnership Program Grant Too Big to Ignore: Global Partnership for Small-scale Fisheries Research. Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Principal Investigator.

2011-2014       Co-Principal Investigator on the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund project Revalorizing small millets: Enhancing the food and nutritional security of women and children in rainfed regions of South Asia using underutilized species. Kirit Patel, Canadian Mennonite University, Principal Investigator. Project funder: International Development Centre of Canada.

Recent Publications:


  • Derek Johnson, Tim Acott, Natasha Stacey, and Julie Urquhart. (2017). Social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries. Dordrecht: Springer.

Refereed Book Chapters:

  • Derek Johnson, Tim Acott, Natasha Stacey, and Julie Urquhart. (2017). Conclusion: Reflections on social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries. In Social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries, eds. Tim Acott, Derek Johnson, Natasha Stacey, and Julie Urquhart. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Derek Johnson, Rajib Biswal, and Jyothis Sathyapalan. (2017). History and social difference in arguments for the societal values of small-scale fisheries in Gujarat, India. In Social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries, eds. Derek Johnson, Tim Acott, Natasha Stacey, and Julie Urquhart. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Derek Johnson. (2017). The values of small-scale fisheries. In Social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries, eds. Derek Johnson, Tim G. Acott, Natasha Stacey, and Julie Urquhart. Springer.

  • Kent Fowler and Derek Johnson. (2017). Given a Choice: Integrating Approaches to Choice and Wellbeing in Present and Past Societies. In Joshua Englehardt and Guy Heppe (eds.). These “Thin Partitions”: Bridging the Growing Divide between Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. (equal authorship)

  • Derek Johnson and Sölmundur Karl Pálsson. (2015). Governability and its discontents in the fishery of Lake Winnipeg since the late 1960s: The view from Gimli. In Svein Jentoft and Ratana Chuenpagdee (eds.). Interactive Governance for Small-scale Fisheries: Global Reflections. Springer, Dordrecht: 281-298. (equal authorship)

  • Derek Johnson. (2015). A political ecology of legal plural disconnection in the marine fishery of Junagadh District, Gujarat, India. In Maarten Bavinck and Amalendu Jyotishi (eds.). Conflict, Negotiations and Natural Resource Management: A legal pluralism perspective from India. Routledge, London and New York: 128-147.

  • Derek Johnson. (2013). Chapter 5. Livelihoods in the Context of Fisheries – A Governability Challenge. In Maarten Bavinck, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Svein Jentoft and Jan Kooiman (eds.). Governability of Fisheries and Aquaculture: Theory and Applications. Springer, Dordrecht: 67-86.

  • Derek Johnson and Maarten Bavinck (2010). Social Justice and Fisheries Governance: The View from India. Proceedings of the Sharing the Fish Conference. FAO. Rome.

Refereed Journal Articles:

  • Gartaula, Hom, Kirit Patel, Derek Johnson, Rachana Devkota, Kamal Khadka, and Pashupati Chaudhary. (2016). From food security to food wellbeing: examining food security through the lens of food wellbeing in Nepal’s rapidly changing agrarian landscape. Agriculture and Human Values: 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10460-016-9740-1.

  • Patel, Kirit, Hom Gartaula, Derek Johnson, M. Karthikeyan.  (2015).  The interplay between household food security and wellbeing among small-scale farmers in the context of rapid agrarian change in India. Agriculture & Food Security 4(1):1-16.

  • Nireka Weeratunge, Christophe Béné, Rapti Siriwardane, Anthony Charles, Derek Johnson, Edward Allison, Prateep Nayak, Marie-Caroline Badjeck. (2014). Small-scale Fisheries through the Wellbeing Lens. Fish and Fisheries 15: 255-279. DOI: 10.1111/faf.12016.

  • Maarten Bavinck, Derek Johnson, Oscar Amarasinghe, Janet Rubinoff, Sarah Southwold, and Kaleekal T. Thomson. (2013). From Indifference to Mutual Support – A Comparative Analysis of Legal Pluralism in the Governing of South Asian Fisheries. European Journal of Development Studies 25(4): 621-640.

  • Micaela Trimble and Derek Johnson. (2013). Artisanal fishing as an undesirable way of life? The implications for governance of fishers’ wellbeing aspirations in coastal Uruguay. Marine Policy 37: 37-45.

  • Derek Armitage, Christophe Béné, Anthony Charles, Derek Johnson, and Edward Allison. (2012). The Interplay of Wellbeing and Resilience Concepts: Towards a Transdisciplinary Social-Ecological Perspective. Ecology and Society 17(4): 15 pp.

  • Sarah Coulthard, Derek Johnson, and Allister McGregor. (2011). A Social Wellbeing Approach to Poverty and Sustainability in the Context of the Global Fisheries Crisis. Global Environmental Change 21: 453-463.

  • Derek Johnson. (2010). Institutional adaptation as a governability problem in fisheries:  patron-client relationships in the Junagadh fishery, India. Fish and Fisheries 11(3):  264-277.

  • Jentoft, Svein, Maarten Bavinck, Derek S Johnson, Kaleekal Thomson. (2009). Co-management and Legal Pluralism: How an Analytical Problem Becomes an Institutional one, Human Organization 68(1): 27-38.

  • Derek R Armitage, Ryan Plummer, Fikret Berkes, Robert I Arthur, Anthony T Charles, Iain J Davidson-Hunt, Alan P Diduck, Nancy C Doubleday, Derek S Johnson, Melissa Marschke, Patrick McConney, Evelyn W Pinkerton, and Eva K Wollenberg. (2009). Adaptive co-management for social–ecological complexity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(2): 95-102.

Other Outputs:

  • Derek Johnson. (2017). Lessons for understanding mobility across the land-sea interface from the agrarian transition literature. People and the Sea IX: Dealing with Maritime Mobilities. Amsterdam. July 7.
  • Derek Johnson and Jonah Olsen. (2017). Thinking conceptually about values, wellbeing, and transition in fisheries economies. People and the Sea IX: Dealing with Maritime Mobilities. Amsterdam. July 6.
  • Derek Johnson, Rajib Biswal, Marta Leite, and Sölmundur Pálsson. (2017). Anthropological reflections on time and the politics of space in marine spatial planning. Invited presentation. Workshop on Fisheries and Fishermen in Marine Spatial Planning. Université de Nantes. June 15.
  • Derek Johnson. Towards a Fisheries Theory of Value: Wellbeing, Values and Coastal Transition in Western India. (2017). Invited Seminar. Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs Canada Program, Harvard University. March 6.
  • Derek Johnson. (2017). Dried Fish Matters: An Anthropological View. International Week 2017 Panel Transitions: Cross-Cultural Reflections on Food. University of Manitoba. February 6.
    Tim Acott, Julián Idrobo, Svein Jentoft, and Derek Johnson. (2016). Diverse values, wellbeing, and the governance of small-scale fisheries. Too Big To Ignore: Global Partnership for Research on Small-scale Fisheries. Webinar. August 31.
  • Derek Johnson. (2016) Imperfect yet necessary: Governance responses to the challenges faced by small-scale fisheries. Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Hyderabad. June 30.
  • Derek Johnson. (2016). Social wellbeing, sense of place, and the values of small-scale fisheries. Society for Applied Anthropology conference. Vancouver. April 1.