Ramblings: A walk in progress (or the minutes of the International Society of the Imaginary Perambulator)
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractIn this paper, seven writers experiment with ethnographic and artistic responses to each other’s walking practices. The point of departure is a panel held at a conference at the University of Jyväskylä.1 In the morning session, five papers were presented and discussed. In the afternoon the panellists and audience engaged in a series of walking experiments that took us outside the confines of the lecture room, and indeed, the conference venue. In this chapter, we (the panel presenters and cochairs) re-embody this moment by walking together, writing together and engaging our understanding of self and our experiences of walking. This sense of experimentation is open to the reader, to whom we extend an invitation to travel with us through the process of ethnographic knowledge production. Walking is a pedestrian activity peculiarly elusive to academic categorisation. It engages the emotions, involves the senses, invites creativity, brings forth memories and provokes the imagination. All are notoriously difficult to capture in ethnographic writing. Consequently, some of the questions we approached in our initial meeting were focused on possibilities: how can the intangible experience of walking be conveyed in writing? Can walking be archived? What happens in the process of textualisation? Can genres like creative writing and ethnographic fiction help us understand and communicate the “unwritable”, including those emotive, mobile and sensory aspects? Finally, we wanted to know whether walking could be used as a hermeneutic tool – could enactment elucidate that which evades ethnographic description?
CitationCheeseman, M., Chakrabarti, G., Österlund-Pötzsch, S., Poole, S., Schrire, D., Seltzer, D., and Tainio, M. (2020) 'Ramblings A walk in progress (or the minutes of the International Society of the Imaginary Perambulator)’. In Lähdesmäki, T., Koskinen-Koivisto, E., Čeginskas, V., L., A. and Koistinen, A. (Eds.). ‘Challenges and solutions in ethnographic research ethnography with a twist’. London: Informa, pp. 1-17.
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