Coastal communities have to be seen as a variety of places – work and home places, places for vacation and memorialisation as well as places that disappear and reappear – in times of severe changes.
Changes in fishing-rights, sea-born transportation, recreational use and the general demography of coastal areas give rise to new conflicts in coastal regions. Whether it is for surfing, yachting, fishing or bird-watching, conflicting life-modes claim ownership or seek to restrict access to the beach, harbour and sea. What new approaches do we need to the study of links between people and the places they inhabit? How is it possible for ethnologists/anthropologists to explore and engage in the struggles of coastal people for ecological sustainability, fishing-rights, cultural tourism etc? Coastal communities are terminals for relations over sea between different coastlines and their specialized communities. How are the identity formation and cultural history of those relations (to be) used in the shaping of actual lives and belongings to the coastal places around Europe? How are European coastal communities trying to develop sustainable life-modes in times of post-industrial conditions? How is it possible for ethnologists/anthropologists to take part in these processes in constructive and reflexive ways? The EU Common Fisheries Politics is under reconstruction (2010-2012) and the European politicians have invited to a public and disciplinary debate about how to manage fishing resources. The outcome will have a significant impact on which kinds of communities and cultural life-modes will survive and be shaped in the near future. How are ethnologists/anthropologists in different European costal settings taking part in these processes and do we have experiences to share with one another?