Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marginality is a theme which pervades the social existence of merchant seamen. Work takes place in a setting without long term personal commitments to job, to place, or to co-workers. On the beach, social relations tend toward the transitory, and where long term relations are established, the seaman is forced to partial participation. This research explores the influence of this occupation on social marginality and social integration of its members. Data were collected using a survey instrument from a sample of 251 seamen, both officers and crew. Factors determining variance in levels of alienation are examined, as well as the effects of life as a merchant seaman on family organization and community participation. Supplementary qualitative data from participant observation and depth interview are also used. A typology of the lifestyle adaptations and social identities of merchant seamen are developed. Implications of industry changes for the occupational lifestyle are discussed.