Accepted paper:

Producing the canalscape: engaging with mobile materialities in UK's inland waterways tourism

Authors:

Maarja Kaaristo (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Steven Rhoden (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Paper short abstract:

Mobile practices are conjured materially through everyday encounters with diverse material objects. These objects help to produce the canalscape as well as become the means through which power is exercised in various interpersonal relationships in canal tourism situations.

Paper long abstract:

While auto- and aeromobilities have been quite extensively studied in the new mobilities paradigm framework, water-going vessels have received much less attention in anthropology. Mobile practices on water are conjured materially through sensory everyday encounters with various physical objects. Bringing the discussions on materialities and mobilities together with those on everyday life in tourism we aim to identify the key material objects producing the spatial, social and sensory canalscape. A mundane material object such as windlass, key or teacup has potential to modify the canalscape, as the objects become the means through which power is exercised in various interpersonal situations. The holiday boaters have to negotiate with different actors such as other boaters, 'liveaboards', anglers, cyclists and walkers on the towpaths as well as institutions such as Canal and River Trust or Inland Waterways Association and thus become part of (and important player in) the wider canalscape politics. We will discuss the ways the subjects realise themselves in the mundane materialities and create co-dependencies between the artefact and individual. This enables us to illuminate the processes via which human-technological systems and assemblages (such as boat-human) are (per)formed and practiced in water tourism context. The paper is based on ongoing ethnographical fieldwork (mainly participant observation and semi-structured interviews), focusing on the holiday boaters on the canals in north-west of England.

panel P102
The power of mobile materialities: human movement, objects and the worlds they create [ANTHROMOB]