Call for abstracts session Senses of place and identity in coastal regions in transition

Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies 1-3 July at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Call for abstracts
Inhabitants of coastal regions have been living with and struggling against the sea for centuries. With the beginning of the settlement of coastal areas it was the fight against the incoming sea as well as the effort to reclaim arable land from the sea. “God created the sea, the Frisians created the coasts” – is a common saying along the European North Sea Coast. Over centuries, people developed a special emotional nexus with the sea, be it as a resource space or spatial threats from the sea. Nowadays, many coastal regions have established a technical approach to coastal protection and dealing with natural hazards. But with the newly emerging pressures revolving around climate change such as rising sea levels and an increase in storm surges the question arises if emotional attachments to coasts have diminished or changed.
Based on the concept the sea formed the land, and the land formed the people, the session focuses on how inhabitants of coastal regions feel about their changing home. The session would like to address the following questions:
•    In which ways do coastal dwellers still feel connected to the sea in their everyday lives?
•    How do coastal inhabitants perceive their home areas?
•    Now that traditional industries like fishery and agriculture have become less important, does the sea still have a pivotal importance to the people?
•    Have the risks of storm surges been actually diminished since the development of modern coastal protection or is it just a question of perception?
•    Do (changes in) the social and physical landscapes of the coast play a role in the ways in which inhabitants identify with their region?

We invite papers dealing with the changing emotional attachment to coastal areas in general – be it negative or positive – and its impact on the mental and technical construction of coasts as living spaces as well as papers dealing with the emotional attachment as the basis for an intrinsic motivation to foster and to engage in future coastal areas development.

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Beate Ratter ( or Tialda Haartsen ( The submission deadline is January 25, 2013.

See for more info on the Emotional Geographies Conference.

Please note that there are more sessions on coastal issues!