Coastal landscapes: The relevance of researching coastscapes for managing coastal change in North Frisia


Studies on the socio‐cultural dimensions of perceiving and framing landscapes represent a well‐established interdisciplinary field of research cutting across the disciplines of geography, anthropology and sociology. Most studies to date converge in the fact that they theoretically and methodologically revolve around textual and symbolic landscape approaches to investigate underlying social representations and practices permeating the physical land: littoral landscapes – to be understood as a subcategory of landscapes – have however received limited attention to date. The paper takes this gap as a starting point to conceptually explore the intersections of different approaches in landscape research for analysing the manifold bonds coastal inhabitants form with their coastal landscapes. The study draws on semi‐structured interviews conducted with coastal inhabitants in the district of North Frisia (Germany). Interviews were analysed following Grounded Theory and refined by a linguistic indepth investigation to reveal different representations of the North Frisian coastscape nestling in coastal dweller's discourse. The analysis brought about aesthetic, genealogical and other interpretative repertoires saturated with a variety of linguistic characteristics developing locally bound patterns of coastscape attachment. The aim of the paper is twofold: first, it consists of an attempt to analytically combine research undertaken in the area of landscape with research on coastal landscapes to uncover the multifarious relations coastal inhabitants form with their livelihoods. Second, it reflects on the epistemological challenges of research on various coastal landscapes for managing coastal change in terms of a “coast‐multiple”.
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