Walking methods in landscape research: moving bodies, spaces of disclosure and rapport


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Macpherson, Hannah (2016) Walking methods in landscape research: moving bodies, spaces of disclosure and rapport Landscape Research, 41 (4). pp. 425-432. ISSN 0142-6397

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Walking methods or accompanied visits are increasingly being used to investigate people’s encounters with landscape. Walking methods are often celebrated for opening up new spaces of disclosure, building rapport and generating new knowledge of landscape. However, stating these benefits of walking as a research method has now become somewhat of a methodological orthodoxy that risks ignoring the diverse contexts and cultural circumstances within which people walk and the relational qualities of landscape. Walking methods do not simply ‘uncover’ people’s responses to landscape, they open particular relational spaces of ‘people-landscape’. Furthermore, walking does not just open up research avenues, it closes them down too. This paper explores in more depth these propositions and the complex interplay between people (as social and embodied beings), walking and landscape. The focus is on examples drawn from walks utilised as method, walks for pleasure and walks for pilgrimage, where I propose some features of the walk and the cultural context of the walker’s body that should be given critical consideration when adopting a walking methodology. These include: the rhythm and style of the walk, the walk route terrain and distance, and the fitness and embodied dispositions of the walker. I then question further the presumed utility of ‘rapport’ that leisure walks and research walks are often thought to create. In so doing, this paper offers some critical insights for researchers of landscape who are considering adopting a walking methodology

Item Type: Journal article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Landscape Research on 18/05/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01426397.2016.1156065
Uncontrolled Keywords: Landscape perception; walking methods; walkers; mobile methods; embodiment
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences > L700 Human and Social Geography > L720 Human and Social Geography by topic > L726 Cultural Geography
K000 Architecture, Building and Planning > K300 Landscape Design > K320 Landscape studies
L000 Social Sciences
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/01426397.2016.1156065
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 03:01
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2017 01:38
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/16340

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