All at sea

An auto-ethnography of a slowed community, on a container ship

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Travelling by cruise ship is undergoing a renaissance. It is more popular than ever. It represents a return to slowness as a revered aspect of mobility. Journeys are valued for their own sake. This paper examines life aboard a container ship, which is not only slow but also 'visits' ports sans tourist allure. In what is a working not a pleasure space, passengers are left to their own devices, for there is an absence of the organized hedonism that is a feature of cruise ships. On the surface, it is a 'nothing to do' space. Passengers experience time feast not time famine, where the sturm und drang of being 'at sea' assumes particular interest. Using an autoethnographic approach, the temporal and special practices of four passengers travelling on a French container ship from Sydney to Philadelphia are analysed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-68
    Number of pages14
    JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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