A Walk Around the Block: Creating Spaces for Everyday Encounters

Hilary Ramsden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Abstract

In an increasing number of fields from geography, social anthropology and urban planning to disability and cultural studies, transport and tourism the subject of movement through public space is receiving more attention.

This volume in which the above chapter is featured, is of interest to academics in urban studies (across departments of sociology, urban planning, geography, architecture, and anthropology), accessible to professionals, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates. The book is focused on contemporary urban landscapes and there are no other books which bring together so many empirical studies of walking in European cities with such a variety of ethnographic methods.

The chapter brings a new methodological perspective to the field, drawing together performance, geography, Situationist practices and the everyday to form an innovative methodology in using the everyday walk as a means of ethnographic and aesthetic research.

It examines the creation of a set of methodological tools for walkers to use to experience and understand their surroundings and environment in new ways. It includes the process by which this ethno-situationist methodology was arrived at as well as empirical findings of the participatory project that was conducted with thirty volunteer walkers over a period of two years. This innovatively-termed ethno-situationist methodology seeks to provoke new understandings of the ways in which we think, look, listen, perceive and relate to others, and our surroundings, facilitating opportunities for the creation of a new form of political civility through listening, encounter and dialogue.

The methodology is part of increasing understandings that mundane spatial practices make social agency visible as they change meaning by changing appearances and as a consequence challenge the previously accepted definitions of those spaces.

The research methodology continues to be used by students, walkers, artists, performers and other researchers to interrupt notions of the familiar and habitual within the everyday. It has been used in walkshops and conferences since 2005 and continues to form the basis for further practice as research projects and publications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWalking in the European City
Subtitle of host publicationQuotidian Mobility and Urban Ethnography
EditorsTimothy Shortell, Evrick Brown
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherAshgate Publishing
Pages225 - 243
Number of pages18
Volume3
ISBN (Electronic)9781315547770
ISBN (Print)9781138272781 , 9781472416162
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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