chapter
11 Pages

Finding Our Feet

WithCharlotte Bates, Alex Rhys-Taylor

There are two key strands in writing about the relationship between walking and social science. These strands reflect schisms running through the related disciplines of anthropology, human geography and sociology, characterised by a divergence around the variable emphasis placed on theoretical meditations and empiricism. Aligning themselves firmly with the more meditative tradition, many books on walking typically begin with one of an assortment of heroic characters. Anyone who has watched a baby take her first steps will know that walking is something we learn, and only after a lot of falling over. An engagement with pedestrian encounters, and with the pavements and pathways that lead us to places beyond our doorsteps, opens up a broad range of possibilities for re-engaging with the things we seek to understand. Discovering the world on foot is also a way in which to reawaken the scholar's body and practice a more sensuous form of scholarship.