The Maritimer Way? Mobility Patterns of a Small Maritime City
Hanson, Natasha Evangeline
MetadataShow full item record
This anthropological, ethnographic study investigates the mobility patterns of Maritimers within Canada, with a focus on political economy. Specifically, I have analyzed the links between mobility, livelihood and identity within Miramichi, New Brunswick, as indicative of broader mobility patterns. This analysis is based on ethnographic data gathered over the course of two sessions of fieldwork in Miramichi itself, phone interviews with people who had moved away from the area, and extensive research of the historical regional political economy. I argue the historical and global context of the political economy and predominance of natural resource-based industries in the area are intricately related to mobility decisions. These contexts have also influenced understandings as to what work is available in the area and what is considered to be “good” work. Local understandings of livelihood are intricately linked to mobility decisions, which take many different and complex forms. I formulate a typology of the various mobility patterns which emerged from the data collected. Out-migration takes place largely for two reasons: for education and for work. Commuter migrants leave the community for work purposes, at varying distances, but maintain their household or home in Miramichi. In-migration takes place with the two main categories: retirees, many of whom lived in Miramichi during their youth and have “come back”; and educated people in-migrating for employment. This work also contributes to the greater understanding of the potential role communal ties, attachment to place and sentiments contribute to mobility decision-making. My analysis of social sentiments surrounding mobility in relation to notions of community, drawing on the concept of structures of feeling, lead to the formulation of the concept of nostalgic resilience. The nostalgic remembrances of the community past can lead to collective ideas that it was resilient and thus would persist, and even thrive, in the future. In arguing the Miramichi area has ongoing patterns and understandings of mobility, though, I am careful to note that there are negative lived realities in connection with these patterns. Nor are the nostalgic notions of community resilience without negative aspects.