Social Mobility via Occupational Perception: An Anthropological Study of the Fisherfolks of Kashmir Valley

Kashmir is home to a significant community of fisherfolks who dwell along the banks of lakes and rivers. This population is responsible for the artisanal/traditional fisheries in the Kashmir valley, which provide most of the fish consumed by the indigenous people. This community of artisanal fishers is the most marginalized and usually lives on the periphery of the economic, social, and political life. This article examines the process of social mobility that occurs because of vocational shifts. This study’s disparity to occupational mobility as the multidimensional processes with the ‘skill of knowledge’ functional theory postulates that mobility is uni-dimensional where skill does not affect the occupation, but ‘income is the only factor to affect movement between occupations. A tendency of social mobility has been noticed with the specific goal of enhancing the social status and economic standing of the fishing community along Asia’s famed Wular Lake’s shores. These indigenous people are presently diversifying their livelihoods away from fishing to achieve a more sophisticated standing in society, leaving this group vulnerable. Those that continue to fish traditionally face a backward existence, including a declining economic condition. Both upward and downward social mobility have been recorded in current times, putting this traditional fishing community at risk of extinction.