Knowledge atlas Science

Assistant Professor Dražen Cepić, Ph.D., Sociology

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Dražen Cepić is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Zadar, where he has been working since 2016. After receiving his postdoctoral degree in Birmingham in 2021, he assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists and initiated the project ‘Sustainable fishing: Social Relations, Identity and Co-management of Adriatic Fishery Resources’ pioneering its relevance within sociological research in Croatia.

Name of Field in the local language
Area of Expertise
Sociological aspects of fisheries and natural resource management; the intersection between class inequalities, identities, and sociability; social processes of valuation
Scientists / Scientific team
Assistant Professor Dražen Cepić, Ph.D.
Location, Institution, Website
Department of Sociology, University of Zadar, Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV, br. 2, 23000 Zadar, Croatia; Link to website
Contact, +385 (0)23 200681
Type of Institution
Years of Active working in the Field
Collaborators or Successors

Laboratory and research space
Office space, field research, fieldwork
Materials and equipment
Software for data analysis such as Nvivo; external associates: sound recording devices
Research Methods / Processes
Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods of data collection, observational study with predefined objectives, survey and ethnographic research, literature review, analysis of research results with different levels of participation, presenting results at conferences and gatherings/case reports, writing scientific papers, creating public policy (policy and research brief), workshops with local residents (participatory)
Members / Employees
Students or other Researchers
Assistant Professor, Ivan Puzek, Ph.D.; Associate Professor, Sven Marcelić, Ph.D.; Mislav Škacan, Research Asistant and Ph.D. student at the Department of Sociology; Associate Professor Mario Katić, Ph.D. from the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology; Associate Professor Bosiljka Mustač, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Bruna Petani, Ph.D. from the Department of Ecology, Agronomy, and Aquaculture
Education of the Scientist
2008 – 2013 European University Institute, PhD in Sociology; 2007 – 2008 Central European University, Master of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology; 2001 – 2007 University of Zagreb, Bachelor's degree in Sociology

Most impactful project
2021 – 2026 Principal investigator, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar. Croatian Science Foundation-funded project ‘Sustainable Fishing: Social Relations, Identity and Co-management of Adriatic Fishery Resources’; 2014 – 2016 Postdoctoral researcher, International Development Department, University of Birmingham. Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Networking for Fisheries Co-management on Lake Victoria, East Africa’
Grant or funding information
Croatian Science Foundation

Awards, certifications, or scientific recognition
Dražen Cepić acts as an Action Chair of the COST (European cooperation in science) Action ‘Rethinking the Blue Economy: Socio-ecological impacts and Opportunities and Technology, and is an active member of the Editorial Board of the Journal ‘Croatian Sociological Review’.

Sustainable fishing: Social Relations, Identity and Co-management of Adriatic Fishery Resources

Dražen’s main research area revolves around Adriatic fisheries, natural resources management and blue growth. His postdoctoral research at the University of Birmingham, focused on fisheries on Lake Victoria in east Africa, inspired him to research fisheries in Croatia. Since 2021, he has acted as the principal investigator on a five-year project on sustainable fishing, where he leads an interdisciplinary team of scientists with diverse methodological approaches from the fields of sociology, ethnology, anthropology, marine biology, agronomy, and others.

He emphasizes the significance international involvement and networking have had for his work and development. He was selected as the Action Chair for a project focused on the blue economy through a competitive COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) competition. The blue economy serves as a framework for sustainable maritime economic activities and new sea-based technologies. As part of this project, he will advocate for tackling issues such as overfishing, climate change, and plastic pollution.

The platform is directed towards scientists whose research promotes the sharing of knowledge within the scientific community through the writing of collaborative articles. It also enables short-term traveling, simplifying access to research centers and encouraging the sharing of ideas.

Fernando Soprano Sr., Fishing Nets, 1965; Franjo Mosinger, Fishing - Placing the Lamp, 1946; Franjo Mosinger, Fishing - Pulling a Fishing Net, 1947. Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb: MUO 29478, MUO 27891, MUO 27892

The Department of Sociology at the University of Zadar, established in 1976 as part of the former Faculty of Philosophy, is a research-oriented university unit. It is dedicated to societal development and addressing the challenges faced by the local community. The department’s strategic focus and orientation also include the development and strengthening of the international scientific network in the field of maritime sociology, initially represented by joining the Social Science and the Sea (SSASEA) network and organizing the professional conference ‘Sociology at Sea: Culture, Economy, and Society in a Maritime Perspective’ in 2013. The department’s work, as well as Professor Cepić’s personal involvement, are characterised by actively involving doctoral students in scientific projects.

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    Đuro Janeković, Fisherman, c. 1934, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, MUO 44060

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    Đuro Janeković, Fisherman, c. 1934, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, MUO 44055

For the Sustainable Fisheries project, a team of scientists created a questionnaire to evaluate certain characteristics of the respondents. This questionnaire explored the fishermen’s values, their working conditions, knowledge transfer between generations, attribution of guilt between different fishing sectors, and the potential for a collective resource management model. The questionnaire was conducted by an autonomous research agency. Upon collecting the necessary data, the research results were analysed in the form of written documents and presented to the broader scientific community through guest lectures and presentations at scientific conferences, and publication of scientific papers. The final research outcomes inform the creation of proposals and guidelines aimed at influencing public policy through policy briefs. A key aspect of this process is the participatory involvement of stakeholders, who contribute to the development of these guidelines during workshops.

Đuro Griesbach, Pulling a Fishing Net, c. 1956; Andrija Đorđević, Fisherman, c. 1980. Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb: MUO 16981/11; 16986/12

Development of aforementioned research project ‘Sustainable Fishing: Social Relations, Identity and Co-management of Adriatic Fishery Resources’ is one of Dražen’s key projects. The research examines various social aspects of fisheries: from the attitudes and values of professional fishermen and recreational anglers, to aquaculture explored through the lens of social licensing and the impact of fish farming on local communities. It also analyses value chains among different stakeholders in the trade of marine organisms, from primary extractors to final consumers (fishermen — middlemen — traders — processors — restaurateurs — consumers).

(Cover photo: Branko Kojić, Old Fisherman, 1938, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, MUO 24354)