Phil Hubbard
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This chapter explores the north Kentish coast from the Thames estuary to Whitstable. It suggests that in contrast to other towns on this part of the coastline, Whitstable is a ‘seaside’ town that has become densely connected to flows of tourism and consumption centred on London. Arguing that this is fuelling rapid gentrification, this chapter considers the way that the town’s traditional oyster industry – and fishing more widely – has been caught up in debates about the identity of the town. The chapter argues that recent opposition to the cultivation of ‘non-native’ oysters off the town’s beach can only be understood with reference to these wider debates, and that questions of what or who belongs in the town often entwine with ideas of national identity. Invoking the idea of ‘eco-nationalism’ the chapter argues that questions of bordering often extend to encompass environmental issues, suggesting that distinctions between native and non-native need to be problematised in an era of unprecedented global environmental change.

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Identity and belonging at the edge of England


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