Why do we dig the beach (with bucket and spades)?

“The bucket and spade holds more significance than its role as a sandcastle-building tool; seen through the tidal changes and the different angles of photography, and especially through their relational engagement with the beach, the agency of the bucket and spade is revealed.”

– explains Adrian Franklin MA Kent, PhD Brist, (Professor of Sociology at theUniversity of Tasmania, Australia) in a newly published paper for the journal Tourist Studies, entitled: ‘On why we dig the beach: Tracing the subjects and objects of the bucket and spade for a relational materialist theory of the beach


With the aid of a series of historical photos documenting bucket-and-spade culture spanning more than 100 years, the author points out that the beach is :

“[…] a place where clear lines between the human and non-human world do not exist, where sensual, muscular and mental engagements are mediated by extensions of the body, the spade and the bucket. It is a choreography of failure for humanity, in which nature, the sea, triumphs every time, even though the child has an opportunity to struggle against it and to reimagine such relation­ships anew.”

Also see: An Improbable short series on ‘Sandcastles in Academia’.

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BONUS (cited in the paper) ‘Castles Made of Sand’ by Jimi Hendrix