'Any port in a storm': responding to crisis in the world of shipping
Johanna Markkula (University of Oslo)
In order to keep their businesses "afloat" in the global financial crisis, shipping companies increasingly opt for Flags of Convenience: a solution which compromises the wellbeing of their crews, entailing lower salaries and poorer working conditions. During research aboard a cargo ship in midst of a local crisis of flag change, I encountered the anxieties and imaginations of seafarers who felt helpless against more powerful external actors, such as shipping companies, manning agencies and unions. While these feelings of insecurity had devastating effects on the ambience and social cohesion of the crew, imagination sometimes also functioned as a source of hope, a tool for the seafarers to "ride out the storm". This paper attempts to understand the role of crises, real or imagined, and the effects and functions of imagination on a small "local" population in crisis, which, despite its apparent isolation, is deeply embedded in global events and processes.
Young Scholars Forum