International Seafarers and Transnationalism in the Twenty-First Century

International Seafarers and Transnationalism in the Twenty-First Century

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Winner, 2014 BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed inaugural award for ethnography, in association with the British Sociological Association

This ethnographic account of seafarers considers issues of transnationalism in the twenty-first century and discusses the detailed life experiences of migrant workers in this context. It argues for a consideration of the social space available to transnational migrant workers and suggests that the transnational experiences of migrants may be more likely to involve exclusion and alienation than an expansion of social space as a result of bi-location in more than one community.

Based upon original qualitative research in three different settings, the book draws upon voyages undertaken by the author on five different working cargo ships. It describes the situation of seafarers from Cape Verde and Ghana searching for work in northern Germany and considers the perspectives of women married to Indian seafarers resident in Goa and Mumbai.

This highly readable book will be of interest to readers from a variety of disciplines who are interested in ethnography, particularly in the fields of social sciences and humanities who are interested in issues of migration, transnationalism, work, the shipping industry and globalisation. It will also appeal to individuals with a connection to, or an interest in, the merchant navy. -- .
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Product details

  • Paperback | 196 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 10.16mm | 272.16g
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Halftones, black & white|Figures
  • 0719095530
  • 9780719095535
  • 1,024,099

Table of contents

1. All at sea
2. Transnationality and structured space
3. Changes in the shipping industry and their consequences for contemporary seafarers
4. Transmigrant seafarers in Germany
5. Life on board: ships, hierarchy, and workloads
6. Physical places and social spaces: seafarers at work and rest
7. Nationality and transnationality at sea
8. The transnational household?
9. On transnationalism, people, and space
Index -- .
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Review quote

"Although the fundamental question addressed by the book is fairly theoretical, the arguement is illustrated by much vivid, poignant and often amusing material from Sampson's observation and interviews"

(Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education Supplement, 19th June 2014), Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education Supplement, 19 July 2014|"It is hard to imagine an industry as globalized as merchant shipping, and yet the 1.5 million seafarers employed within it are largely absent from scholarly discussions of transnationalism. This book, which assesses whether international seafarers are transnational and why it matters, is hence overdue. Drawing on fieldwork at sea and in India and Germany, Helen Sampson evaluates the extent to which seafarers are 'embedded' within the social life of ships, on the one hand, and within communities on land, on the other. In addressing this question, she attends primarily to the structural factors that impact upon seafarers' ability to integrate into 'communities' aboard and ashore."

(Olivia Swift, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, March 2014)
, Olivia Swift, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol20, Issue 1, 2014 -- .
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About Helen Sampson

Professor Helen Sampson is the Director of the Seafarers International Research Centre based within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University -- .
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