Sonar-o-Graphy: The Submerged Tourist Gaze of Sportfishing

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Fishing tourism is a very common leisure practice in sport fishing, and fishing grounds are in the core of the servicescape of this tourism form. The sportfishing waterscape consists of the interconnected above-water and underwater “landscapes”. Fishers’ particular interest is in the latter as they attempt – in order to read the underwater landscape – to move toward the fish. In doing so, they also try to sense like the fish.

A fisher endeavours to interconnect with the fish mostly via “distant” technologized observing, without actual close “contact zones”. This is done for instance by closely following the screen of a sonar system. The subsurface observation of the posthuman fish, water, vegetation or bottom is a messy combination of sensory ethnography and multispecies ethnography. I refer to this novel method as Sonar-o-Graphy.

Sonar-o-Graphy leans on a practice theory combination that emphasizes the importance of mobility, the body and the senses. It also acknowledges the involved agency of the posthuman (e.g. fish, sonar) in the pursued practices.

This is an empirical study of two sportfishing modes: trolling and casting. The trolling data was gathered by the writer’s own extended sensory ethnographic fieldwork. The casting data consists of interviews with enthusiasts and their own sonar related videos. This study applies narrative analysis and epi-reading of the visual.

In a similar way as photovoice, Sonar-o-Graphy offers a visual means for exploring the embodied dimensions of human–animal entanglement. The sonar allows the ethnographer to “see” and to be “touched by” the water conditions as well as to “feel” the bodily micro-motions and actions of the fish. The sonar, along with water, thereby provides possibilities for human–animal communication through sensory-rich body language. The aspiration is to create a sensorial connection and embodied understanding between the studied fish and the human.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeNot Eligible
EventNordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research: Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times - Akureyri, Iceland
Duration: 24 Sept 202129 Jul 2022
Conference number: 29


ConferenceNordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research
Abbreviated titleNSTHR

Field of science

  • Tourism research

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