An Infinite Road to Reinvention: An ethnographic exploration of the embedding effects of space and time through the lens of inhabitants of the Dutch coastal village Wijk aan Zee
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This thesis offers an anthropological lens on the effects of space and time and how these are collectively perceived and made sense of in Wijk aan Zee. Wijk aan Zee is a small coastal village in the Netherlands where two seemingly incompatible worlds are uniting in all their complexity. The abstractness of globalization and system-thinking is embodied in the presence of powerhouses around the village, most significantly the steel factory Tata Steel Ijmuiden. On the other hand, there is the specificity of local small-scale practices in Wijk aan Zee wherein the presence of these powerhouses is contested whilst inhabitants also acknowledge that the same powerhouses constitute the fundamental basis of their past, present, and future. I uncover narratives of how the contexts of Wijk aan Zee are equated with symbolic islandness, narratives of Tata Steel Ijmuiden as both a source of ambivalence as well as a source of creative power rooted in nostalgic sentiments, and narratives of agency in standing up against the hegemony of powerhouses. In using the symbolic islandness as a productive site and by those means naturalizing flexible thinking toward the future, inhabitants of Wijk aan Zee perceive their place in the world through locating themselves not only in terms of space, but also in terms of time.