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Title: The bathing water directive and beach management at Silversands, Scotland, and La Herradura, Spain : constructing bathing areas and rationalising management practices
Author: Campbell, Colin J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis examines the production of bathing beaches with reference to the 1976 European Bathing Water Directive and contemporary trends in environmental policy discourse. In contrast to studies in environmental policy, which tend to assess effectiveness of implementation, the thesis seeks to understand beach management by investigating how bathing areas in Scotland and Spain are connected to the Bathing Water Directive by practices of bathing area usage and management. The thesis argues that practices of bathing area management – such as beach flags and litter collections – and practices of bathing area usage – such as kayaking and dog-walking – are important in producing what has become known as a ‘bathing area’. Engaging with current debates on constructivism, the thesis demonstrates how different social constructions of a bathing area are created and coexist. Beach management is shown to be rationalised according to particular ideas of beach cleanliness, order and best practice. Empirical research concentrates upon two field study sites: Silversands in Scotland and La Herradura in Spain. Particular attention is paid to beach awards, marine litter collections, and scientific processes of bathing water measurement. The thesis is based on interviews with beach users, beach managers, environmental regulators, politicians and representatives of coastal conservation charities. The thesis investigates the materiality of beach flags to show how different interpretations of cleanliness are promoted and represented. It explores how knowledge of bathing areas is created through water quality measurement, litter surveying and personal experience. This knowledge of bathing areas is shown to be dependent on traditional science-based expertise. The thesis claims that expertise is currently used to distance many beach users from expressing their knowledge of potential bathing risks. While revisions to the Bathing Water Directive emphasise public inclusion, the thesis concludes that current practices of bathing area management are not participatory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available