Toward 'sense of place': an ethnographic exploration of islandness
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 12:50 authored by Sandra Craig
This work combines ethnographic research with concepts drawn from island studies, and phenomenology of place, to investigate local constructions of island identity on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) Queensland, Australia. The research project explores embodied senses of place, lived experiences and perceptions of the environment, in the everyday lives and discourses of diverse island residents. Fieldwork was undertaken on North Stradbroke Island throughout 2014. The ethnographic material is analysed using approaches to islandness drawn from the evolving interdisciplinary field of island studies. Island studies seeks to explore the distinct features of island lives and cultures, studying islands ‘on their own terms’ (McCall 1994). The extreme diversity of physical islands, and the complex elaboration of island metaphors present conceptual obstacles to a coherent theorisation of islandness. Following Hay (2006) this thesis posits phenomenology of place as a productive approach to addressing the ‘radical particularity’ inherent in the vast diversity among islands. Drawing on concepts of place from philosophy, human geography and existential anthropology, sense of place opens up the everyday lived experience of embodied island existence, and identity. Phenomenology and the ‘lifeworld’ concept can address socially constructed intersubjective, and material physical dimensions of bodily entanglements in divergent local island landscapes.