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Title: Sailing Through Life. Experiencing Difference Within Mutuality on Tall Ships
Author: Pijoan Vives, Montserrat
Director/Tutor: Bestard Camps, Joan
Ingold, Tim, 1948-
Keywords: Antropologia marítima
Navegació a vela
Relacions humanes
Maritime anthropology
Interpersonal relations
Issue Date: 3-Sep-2020
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] This study sets out to understand the experiences of young people as they undergo Sail Training aboard tall ships (i.e., traditional rigged sailing ships propelled exclusively by wind). It goes beyond current literature on the educational value of Sail Training by focusing on how youngsters actually experience sailing as a way of life. Many young people sense a tension between what they are expected to do, for themselves or their families, and what it feels like to live with everyday decisions. To find harmony in one’s path of life, just like in sailing a ship, one must deal with these contrary forces. On board a tall ship, a manifold of lines is continually generating harmony by way of the tension imparted from the ropes to the sails, from the sails to the whole boat, and from any part of the boat to its crew members. Dwelling on board arises from within this tug of contrary forces. It is a creative dwelling since movement is a constant to which every element in the oceanic medium adjusts itself. In the introduction, I establish the theoretical basis of the study in the maritime environment, in which sailing was practised long before the science of the West attempted to put the ocean under control as it had already done with the territorialisation of the land. To follow the history of the maritime environment and its inhabitants reveals a complex set of skills not only for building the boat as a craft, but also for staying afloat once at sea. Sailing on tall ships offers opportunities to become involved in this process in which, as in every society in past times, experts instruct novices in the course of working together. In the first chapter, tall ships are presented as large sailing vessels that, like earlier craft, need permanent maintenance to remain seaworthy. To keep them so, some friendship races and regattas are organised by Sail Training International, with host ports using the fleet to hold heritage events. These events help to raise the funds to enable young people to participate. Chapter two describes how youngsters without previous experience of sailing, and amateurs including myself, enter this environment as crew members. In the process of becoming familiar with this environment, they get their sea legs. Chapter three shows how the craft, as a shelter affording movement and perception, is both a home in which to stay afloat on the waves and a calming of the wind that, thanks to the sails, provides the required energy to glide the hull over the water. Chapter four describes the organisation on board, with its system of watches or work shifts. This seems simpler than life on land because one does not have to worry about anything other than the established routine. However, since one follows the same daily routines, an awareness of environmental changes emerges with the perception of non-human phenomena like wind, dolphins, waves, clouds and so on. Crew members become sensitised to the ocean environment, to the others and to themselves when responsibilities on board are shared day and night. Attention at sea is existential, it is a matter of life and death, whereas on land it remains contingent on particular interests. At sea, the watch system leads to the development of a meshwork of relationships, described here as a taskship, a creative and trustworthy bonding which lasts for the duration of the voyage. The mutuality on board, discussed in chapter five, allows crew members to develop a sense of who they are while in the company of others. Thus the taskship is constitutive of dwelling on board. Optimal sailing is evidence of the quality of the relationships on board and vice versa, the quality of the relationships on board is shown through the best set of sails to get underway. Finally, in chapter six, it is shown that the wisdom and skills obtained in this ocean-sky world make the difference between an experience that is intentionally transformative for the young person undergoing it and a sailing experience that opens up to an understanding of life.
[cat] Aquesta tesi pretén entendre les formes d'habitar el mar a partir de les experiències de navegació d'altura en grans velers. A partir d’un extens treball de camp a bord de grans velers, s’hi detalla les particularitats d’aquest l'entorn, que són de flexibilitat, equitat i intimitat; com es gestiona l'organització social a bord en grups de guàrdies, a la vegada que a partir de les habilitats marineres, es construeix el vaixell com un lloc per viure i en permanent construcció. Aquest lloc habitat, es construeix com un refugi (‘shelter’) que al mar ofereix les condicions necessàries per sobreviure. El fet que ofereixi la protecció necessària sense ser una construcció físicament sòlida per a habitar el mar, fa que el mar es percebi de forma diferent a com percebem l’habitar la terra ferma. Al mar, una nova manera de percebre ‘hàptica’, requereix l'adaptació contínua dels membres de la tripulació al moviment i ritmes del mar. Gestionar aquest equilibri comporta uns tres dies de malestar i vòmits, i es diu que quan un ja té ‘cames de mar’, ja no es mareja més. Un cop obtingudes les cames de mar, el vaixell, viscut com una extensió del propi cos, ofereix a tots els participants sense previ coneixement d'aquest entorn, la possibilitat de conèixer i desenvolupar les habilitats marineres necessàries per a la navegació. A través d’aquestes habilitats s'estableix una relació amb els materials i les formes que es van conformant en l’embarcació (anomenat ‘taskship’ o línies de treball a bord), totes elles fruit de la participació i resposta de cadascun dels components humans i no humans d'aquest entorn. Per tant, la relació que s'estableix amb l'entorn és d'aprenentatge a través de processos concentració (i no pas de cognició) sobre l'experiència viscuda. A bord, el compromís moral preval al compromís per obligació, ja que, de no ser així, difícilment es podria forçar la participació de tots els tripulants en la construcció contínua del propi vaixell. Aquest compromís moral facilita l'equitat, amb la qual cada membre resulta rellevant en aquest entorn hostil, on d'un moment a l'altre tot pot canviar, i on el treball continu així ho exigeix. Una bona navegació reflecteix la qualitat de relacions a bord i de correspondències amb l'entorn, amb el vaixell i entre els participants. Finalment, aquest anàlisi reflecteix el concepte de lloc com un lloc amb profund moviment de relacions, més que un espai físicament localitzat. Aquest lloc és compartit i viscut amb gran atenció, i per aquest motiu roman en la memòria de tots els participants com un saber adaptar-se a allò que ha d’esdevenir, tot esperant sempre que es donin les millors correspondències per l’òptima qualitat de les relacions i de la navegació. És a dir, a través del flux en la navegació tradicional i la seva xarxa de correspondències, els participants en aquestes experiències entendran la vida principalment com un conjunt de relacions en moviment.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Antropologia Social

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