«Tim Martindale Thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology of Goldsmiths, University of London, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, ...»
This research has also shown another, perhaps neglected, side of heritage – its potential constructiveness, especially forms of heritage practice which may be found outside of museums and in non-institutional contexts, that may involve informal methods of learning, practical skills and the production of tangible things. These can be a source of critical nostalgia, an imaginative approach to the past as a resource, and a pragmatic approach to promoting economic diversification and alternative forms of fishing production and consumption. As with some examples of art and craft production, heritage may not only reflect a concern regarding the erosion of local resourcefulness (Macdonald 2002; Laviolette 2006) but also be a means to shape new forms of resourcefulness through reviving or maintaining elements of older forms. Whilst heritage can be exclusionary, and other hidden, invisible and undesirable heritages may be obscured, this is not a significant aspect of the example of the heritage boatbuilding and sailing project I have considered. It’s important to distinguish practices and technologies of heritage production from other kinds of economic and cultural practice, but this example challenges any rigid distinction and opposition between notions of heritage and industry.
Directions for future research A number of exciting research directions emerge from this research. My thesis has approached work patterns, attitudes, knowledges and material cultures of fishing, primarily through the media of narratives, historical literature and records, and participant observation both on shore and to a certain extent at sea. Future research could further explore not only views of the sea from the land in the context of fishing
culture, but also the ‘ocean itself as a meaningful space of interaction’ (Basu 2008:
4); and examine in greater depth how various kinds of fishing organisation and shifting political economies of fishing are reflected in work patterns at sea, as well as how these interact with life on shore. I have focused on ideologies and practices surrounding owner-skippers, but further research is needed in terms of fishing crews and company fishing contexts (although Howard 2012a, 2012b has set a good example). Studies of fishing practice could be enriched through the use of visual and other sensorial methods such as sound, to more effectively explore the ‘craft’ of fishing as Lyon and Back (2012) have demonstrated in work with fishmongers at Deptford market, London.
Further research is also needed in terms of relations within fishing families in the UK and further afield – including those where one or more members fish for a living, combine other kinds of work with fishing, or decide to take paths away from fishing – and the factors that influence education, work opportunities and incomes, intergenerational transmission and career choices. It would be particularly interesting to explore how young people in maritime industry settings feel about the past, present and future, what kinds of opportunities they are seeking and what are the constraints or barriers they experience. The methodologies Ray Pahl used in his study of the Isle of Sheppey (1984) might be instructive in this regards, as would the current restudy sociologists are carrying out at the University of Kent (Crow et al 2009). This thesis particularly highlights a promising area for research in terms of fisheries and other maritime heritage, particularly comparative research between two maritime regions for example in Britain and across the North Sea in Norway. Such a study might looks at attitudes and practices (especially amongst young people) towards maritime heritage and the ‘recovery’ of skills and crafts such as boatbuilding and sailing as a means of transmission, life-skills development, and economic regeneration and diversification. The revival and/or maintenance of traditional and vernacular forms of boatbuilding would be a fascinating point of departure for an interdisciplinary ethnographic, historical and archaeological study of maritime seascapes, ‘memory-scapes’, and material culture.
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