The ship as a dwelling place becomes a living organism: experiences of liminality among youngsters
(University of Barcelona)
Paper short abstract:
Based on an ethnography in Sail Training experiences for youngsters, my aim is to develop the idea of the ship as a dwelling place that becomes a living organism in interaction with the ocean. Being immersed within this environment supposes a liminality experience for the youngsters on board.
Paper long abstract:
The fieldwork on board Tall Ships, conducting in-depth interviews and gathering data from questionnaires among different crews crossing the Atlantic resulted in a meshwork of mutuality as the main substrate of the experience.
The paper explores the ship as a dwelling place, built as a dynamic process of bodily co-presence of youngsters who happen to be in that place at that time, performing activities together. In doing so, their Sail Training ship becomes an entity of shared intentionality, a living organism with its own personality (Ingold, 2000). It describes the process of formation of the metaphor of the ship as a living place.
In this paper, I present the theoretical foundations of a home place, with a spirit of place, based on noticeable dialects, gestural styles and whole ways of thinking (Casey, 1993), giving rise to a 'commonplace' or shared moments in a flow of social activity which afford common reference (Shotter, 1986).
It gives evidence of this process comparing diagrams of kinship and diagrams of the relationships on board, through trainees' drawings that keep a similar structure in both diagrams, just substituting family names with names of the crew.
Finally, the analysis of the ship as a dwelling place bears the porosity character of the place out, allowing the development of experiences of liminality among youngsters across spatiotemporal zones (Munn, 1977).
Dwelling on water: mobilities, immobilities and metaphors