“I show you my coast…” - a relational study of coastscapes in the North Frisian Wadden Sea


In recent years, there has been an upsurge in research on relational approaches in geography and in the study of cultural landscapes. Following these strands of research, the relationality of human beings with their natural environments has been highlighted, emphasising the various ways people engage with their lifeworlds. This development is motivated by the perceived need to analytically expand landscape research towards a more-than-representational point of view, challenging the still prevalent dichotomy of nature and culture. The paper takes these insights as a starting point and provides an insight into a more-than-representational understanding of coastscapes that is combined with a more-than-representational understanding of language. Its aim is threefold: to theoretically engage with a more-than-representational and enlanguaged understanding of coastscapes; to explore the relevance of mobile methods for such an approach; and to empirically illustrate the emotive and relational bonds coastal dwellers form with their littoral environs. To capture the dynamism of a more-than-representational understanding that coastal dwellers develop with their coastscape, walking interviews were conducted in the district of North Frisia (Germany). All interviews were examined following a grounded approach and refined by a linguistic in-depth investigation. The analysis revealed four prevailing interpretative repertoires reconfiguring the boundary between nature and culture. They exhibit what we call a coast-multiple that adds to coastal nature-society-mixes which might be of interest for future coastal management at the German Wadden Sea.
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