Sailing in Transformation. Ethno-graphic dialogue
Hannah Wadle (Adam Mickiewicz University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper reflects on contemporary dilemmas of shifting values, commercialization, and changing cultural traditions in the Polish sailing landscape. The reflections are presented as ethno-graphic dialogue between anthropologist Hannah Wadle and Masurian sailor-cum-artist Jerzy Tyszko.
Paper long abstract:
Sailing culture and sailors are an integral part of the Great Masurian Lakes, a post-glacial landscape in the Northeast of Poland. Connected by canals created under East Prussian rule, the lakes form an intricate water network, a paradise for sailing and other water sports. Sailing was introduced in the area in the beginning of the 20th century, and - apart from during and immediately after the two World Wars - never ceased in popularity. If the activity transcended the change of the national states and political regimes, the infrastructures and ideologies, under which it was practiced, transformed accordingly. In socialist Poland, sailing was popularized as a sport for the masses. The Masurian Lake District became a national destination, among others, because the landlocked waterscape gave no eventuality of physical escape for citizens. After the break down of socialism, sailing tourism was privatized and commercialized. This paper reflects on contemporary dilemmas of shifting values, commercialization, and changing cultural traditions in the Masurian sailing landscape. The reflections are presented as intergenerational ethno-graphic dialogue between anthropologist Hannah Wadle, who conducted fieldwork in the area, and Masurian sailor-cum-artist Jerzy Tyszko, who created 16 drawings that accompany and comment Wadle's observations from a local perspective.
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