A Queen's Drowning: Material Culture, Drama, and the Performance of a Technological Accident
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Drawing on ethnographic data collected among residents of northwest British Columbia's coastal and island residents, I examine a technological accident: the sinking of the M/V Queen of the North. This accident is examined as an instance of social drama, as a succession of what Victor Turner calls breach, crisis, redress, and reintegration and what in this case I call wrecking, coping, inquiring, and mending. Ethnographic description, performative representation, and dramaturgic analysis of the sinking yield the impression that the Queen of the North was a person. Examined throughout this article are the performative processes through which the personhood and agency of this material object is accomplished. In so doing I posit an original dramaturgic approach to technoculture.