Sailing Through Life at Sea: The Physical and Emotional Aspects of Seafarers’ Welfare

Polina Baum-Talmor

    Research output: Published contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    The purpose of this study is to understand seafarers’ experience of life on-board ships and their transitions from ship to shore and vice versa. This paper addresses physical and emotional aspects of seafarers’ welfare on-board merchant ships. The theoretical framework used in this research is Goffman’s conceptualization of ‘total institutions’. The methodology involves two rounds of non-participant observation on-board merchant vessels, informal conversations and in-depth interviews. The findings of this research suggest that the ship could be characterized as a total institution in Goffman’s terms; however, there are additional sociological concepts to bear in mind in order to comprehend seafarers’ experiences. For instance, the ship as a contained space surrounded by the endless sea, in which the seafarers experience contradictory feelings of contained freedom and alternative family configurations that might characterize seafarers’ family life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2014
    EventVoice of Humanities - Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    Duration: 20 Mar 2014 → …


    ConferenceVoice of Humanities
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period20/03/14 → …
    Internet address


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