Living with water brings together sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, artists, writers and poets to explore the ways in which water binds, immerses and supports us. Drawing from international research on river crossings, boat dwelling, wild swimming, sea fishing, and draught impacts, and navigating urban waters, glacial lagoons, barrier reefs and disappearing tarns, the collection illuminates the ways that we live with and without water, and explores how we can think and write with water on land. Water offers a way of attending to emerging and enduring social and ecological concerns and making sense of them in lively and creative ways. By approaching Living with water from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives, and drawing on research from around the world, this collection opens up discussions that reinvigorate and renew previously landlocked debates.
Disentangling the affective meshwork of the Belize Barrier Reef
In 2017 we travelled to Belize as part of a multi-site ethnographic project focusing on the meanings of wildness worldwide. What may have appeared as pristine and wild waters and atolls just a few years before, were now under the multiple threats of commercial and industrial development. But not all hope was lost. As our interviews revealed, many Belizeans were committed to fighting for the health of the Barrier Reef in as many ways as they could. Fishers, law enforcers, NGO executives, young students, heritage interpreters, and guides told us that without their barrier reef Belize simply could not exist. Their efforts were rewarded – in 2018 the Belize Barrier Reef was taken off the list of World Heritage sites in danger. In this chapter we examine what the barrier reef means to Belize and to the people we interviewed. Couching our arguments in the broader context of the significance of wildness, we argue that water runs through the bodies of coastal and island people, forming a deeply entangled meshwork of human and non-human lives.
Rain is just the briefest moment in the cyclical journey of water, yet arguably one of the most emotionally loaded ones, for its absence or abundance. The ability to predict precipitation has evolved, but it is still part of our desire to know what is happening above our heads and under our feet. This essay takes us on a journey from dinosaurs to reservoirs, from Glasgow to Seattle, from Punk culture to sewer overflows, and from Admiral Fitzroy’s weather instruments on the Beagle to the Georgetown Wet Weather Station in Seattle, and its Monument to Rain.
Questions of what it means to be related pervade all sibling relationships in some way. Whether ‘close’ or distant, linked by shared genes, upbringing or neither, siblings bring to the fore some of the conundrums of relationality. This chapter contemplates the meanings of relatedness between siblings, reflecting upon how people make sense of who is and isn’t a sibling, considering the uncanny role of resemblance between siblings and exploring the role of ethereal or otherworldly connections. The chapter contemplates how siblingship is done and enacted in different contexts such as school, home, the local area and holiday clubs, and explores the ups and downs of everyday life as a sibling as well as how siblings care for one another. The chapter also explores the significance of material and embodied aspects of the sibling relationship as well as the meaning of resemblances and affinities that can feel magical or otherworldly.
The Teenage Fishers was made over a series of visits to Walthamstow Reservoirs as part of a project about the passions and interests of teenagers in London. This essay consists of a series of black and white photographs and an accompanying audio transcript.
Being a sibling can have a profound effect on our identity and sense of self, and this chapter explores how sibling relationships can influence our sense of who we are and what we can become in the future. This chapter begins with an extended discussion of two sisters, unpacking narratives of similarity and difference in their relationship, demonstrating how these processes shape the sisters’ ideas about the people they are, their understandings of their experiences of school and their sense of their future. The remainder of the chapter discusses some of the key themes involved in the relationship between siblings and the self, outlining how sibling identity is relationally constructed through a discussion of the comparing of siblings and the application of relational labels concerning character and appearance. A paradox between the relational construction of sibling identity and Western ideals of authentic personhood is identified. The chapter then moves on to discuss the role of others in the relational construction of sibling identity through an exploration of how they are shaped through the telling of family stories. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how identity can be informed by a sibling’s reputation in and between different contexts such as school, home or community.
Anthropocene entanglements and unravellings in the Bay of Fundy
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Nova Scotia, in this chapter I explore the ways in which independent and community fishers in the Bay of Fundy are seeking to carry forward old ways of living with tidal waters through the shifting present and into uncertain futures. Recent initiatives to develop tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy have intensified efforts to stake out claims to legitimate uses and ways of knowing based in everyday, practical encounters with, and intergenerational memories of, its tidal waters. In considering this particular case of living with marine tides, I attend to the ordinary practices of care for (and in) entangled socio-ecologies, the performance of memory and tradition, and the politics of resistance enacted through everyday ways of living and working on the Bay. Throughout, I reflect on the ways in which marine tides are never just a background or resource, but always active participants in the co-constitution of rapidly shifting socio-ecologies in the Bay of Fundy and beyond.
Sibling relationships are full of sociological intrigue. Siblings can pervade our everyday lives, shaping our identities and relationships through the life course, tapping into profound questions about who we are and who we can become, about family, relatedness, self and time. It is surprising, then, that the role of lateral ties between siblings has received relatively little sociological attention. Drawing upon innovative qualitative data sources and focusing on four key themes in sociological thought – self, relationality, imagination and time – Siblings and sociology addresses this omission by exploring the sociological significance of siblingship. Grounded in theories of relatedness but spanning theoretical work on generation, life course, emotion, sensory worlds, normativity and identity, Siblings and sociology demonstrates how and why siblings matter, asking what sociological insights can be gained by using siblingship as a lens through which to re-examine these familiar sociological ideas.