Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The Passage of Fish

Bachis, Francesco, Lyon, Dawn, Tiragallo, Felice (2016) The Passage of Fish. Journal of Video Ethnography, 5 (1). (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:55511)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
Official URL:


This short ethnographic film about the everyday life of the wholesale fish market in Cagliari, Sardinia (Italy) immerses the viewer in the material, sensory and affective atmosphere of the market space. It presents the broad temporal and spatial rhythms of the market. We see the fish arrive before daybreak, and later we watch as it is packed up and driven off to the next point of distribution or consumption. Within this narrative, the film focuses on the key social practices that underpin trade. At the beginning of the day, we witness the fish merchants’ labour of preparation and display – the act of ‘staging value’ - in readiness for exchange. Once the buyers arrive, they can be seen evaluating the fish with their ‘skilled vision’ or their touch. Negotiations are intense at times and happen in different emotional registers – challenge, anger, insult and humour (some of which appear to be embellished for the camera) – and through social relations which are animated by the market space and the alluring presence of the fish itself. Once trade is over, the remaining fish and the market space are the site of further care and work. The soundscape of the film is composed of multiple voices and the noise of actions and interactions but the film does not rely on language (with the exception of three subtitled exchanges with us), aiming instead to show how buyers and sellers of fish deploy their embodied knowledge and sensory perceptions in their everyday working lives.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Peer reviewed article in a visual format.
Uncontrolled keywords: Atmosphere, embodiment, evaluation, fish market, Sardinia, techniques of communication, touch, vision
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Dawn Lyon
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 10:18 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.