Fishing as a way of life: a cultural geography of fishing communities in Castletownbere (Ireland) and Le Guilvinec (Brittany)

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O'Driscoll-Adam, Elaine
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University College Cork
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Using the lens of contemporary cultural geography, this research develops an understanding of fishing as a way of life in Castletownbere (County Cork) and Le Guilvinec (Brittany) through relational and reciprocal processes. Drawing on the hermeneutics of both Gadamer and Ricoeur, I argue that pre-understandings are essential to the awareness of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’. This approach fuses different strands of cultural geography, including a focus on experiential enquiry, mobilities and motion arenas, religion and rituals, emotional and affective geographies. I explore how fishing families and their communities experience and give meaning to their being-in-their-world. Enhanced interpretations of the meanings that participants give to their maritime environment emerge through my encounters with three fishing realms − the home, the boat, and the pier. The immersive character of ethnographic methodology allows for a meaningful engagement with participants and their maritime environment. The insights generated from these encounters provide new and emerging narratives of the lifeworlds of Castletownbere and Le Guilvinec. By focusing my study on the experiences and practices of the different performances and activities of two fishing communities in Ireland and Brittany, this research produces rich and novel understandings of fishing as a way of life and contributes to the debates concerned with people-place relationships and how these people construct and maintain senses of identity and place.
Cultural geography , Sense of place , Idenitity , Fishing communities
O'Driscoll-Adam, E. 2018. Fishing as a way of life: a cultural geography of fishing communities in Castletownbere (Ireland) and Le Guilvinec (Brittany). PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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