Matthew Warren Ylitalo, Sarah Easterby-Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Ships, once described by Michel Foucault as ‘heterotopias par excellence’, are invitingly complex spatial entities. Maritime vessels are unique spaces which have over time acted as containers for specific sets of social and cultural relationships, and which have been subjected to a wide array of imaginative projections. From among the huge range of sources from which we might reconstruct ships’ spatial histories, this chapter discusses the bureaucratic materials surrounding 19th-century mercantile shipping. Its primary focus is on merchant vessel Crew Agreements, government-mandated contracts that were written up by the managing owner and master, and signed by the rest of the crew. These and other sources portray the ship not as a static entity but as a malleable space that was in constant flux both within and without.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDoing spatial history
EditorsRiccardo Bavaj, Konrad Lawson, Bernhard Struck
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429291739
ISBN (Print)9780367261542, 9780367261566
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge guides to using historical sources


  • Spatial history
  • Maritime History
  • Early modern history
  • Scottish history


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