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Tracing lines in the Hilbre sands: a spatial anthropology of islandness and other fictions

Roberts, L and Andrews, H Tracing lines in the Hilbre sands: a spatial anthropology of islandness and other fictions. Irish Journal of Anthropology. (Accepted)

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The Hilbre Islands are an archipelago of three small islands situated one mile off the west coast of the Wirral peninsula. The islands lie at the tip of the Dee Estuary which marks the border between Flintshire in Wales and Cheshire in England. Historically, this liminal landscape (Andrews and Roberts 2012), with its shifting sands and treacherous tidal marshes, was crossed on foot along fords and pathways snaking between and connecting the Welsh and English foreshores. Although located nearer to the English mainland than the Welsh, Hilbre has continued to play host to myths, legends and spatial stories that speak to questions of identity, mobility and the betwixt-and-betweenness of place and cultural belonging. Travel to and from the islands today is still undertaken on foot, with navigation across the sands possible at low tide. Inasmuch as the Hilbre Islands can be said to embody geographical or anthropological characteristics of ‘islandness’, it is the social, cultural and spatial practices that are constitutive of Hilbre’s very particular form of islandness that warrants closer critical attention. Accordingly, it is the spatial anthropology of what islandness is or looks like with reference to Hilbre that is the focus of this paper. It is the negative space that symbolically and geographically gives form to the islands themselves – that is, the connectedness and socio-spatial relations that the Hilbre Islands serve to delineate – that the paper sets out to explore.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Publisher: University College Cork, Ireland
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2023 11:40
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2023 11:40
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21990
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