UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Production of place : community, conflict and belonging at Wreck Beach Hemsing, Natalie


The preservation goals of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS) are explored through an analysis of the production of place and nature at Wreck Beach. Present social uses are contextualized, tracing historical uses of the area, including: Musqueam First Nations use, resource extraction, military defense, and finally recreational use and political contest. Information collected from WBPS meetings and conversations with beach regulars is analyzed, presenting social uses of the beach as naturalized, yet often contradictory. Wreck Beach provides an intriguing site of analysis as a place marked by years of defense against urban encroachment, with the beach and the values of the WBPS defined in relation to urbanity—as a proximal site of refuge. Preservation of this place (and thus a particular re-production of place) is inherently tied to the promotion and maintenance of social belonging for the WBPS and supportive beach regulars. For example, as a clothing-optional beach, the perception and preservation of nature at Wreck Beach is bound to understandings of the naked body as natural. Struggles for preservation are struggles to consolidate identities continually carved through the production of place. Responding to marginalization, the WBPS strives to legitimate their role as preservers, and belonging at Wreck Beach.

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