As an ethnographic method walking has a long history, but it has only recently begun to attract focused attention. By walking alongside participants, researchers have been able to observe, experience, and make sense of a broad range of everyday practices. At the same time, the idea of talking and walking with participants has enabled research to be informed by the landscapes in which it takes place. By sharing conversations in place, and at the participants’ pace, sociologists are beginning to develop both a feel for, and a theoretical understanding of, the transient, embodied and multisensual aspects of walking. The result, as this collection demonstrates, is an understanding of the social world evermore congruent with people’s lived experiences of it.  

This interdisciplinary collection comprises a unique journey through a variety of walking methodologies. The collection highlights a range of possibilities for enfolding sound, smell, emotion, movement and memory into our accounts, illustrating the sensuousness, skill, pitfalls and rewards of walking as a research practice. Each chapter draws on original empirical research to present ways of walking and to discuss the conceptual, practical and technical issues that walking entails. Alongside feet on the ground, the devices and technologies that make up hybrid research mobilities are brought to attention. The collection is bookended by two short pedestrian essays that take the reader on illustrative urban walks, suggesting routes through the city, as well as ways in which the reader might make their own path through walking methods.

An innovative title, Walking Through Social Research will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and academics who are interested in Sociology, Geography, Cultural Studies, Urban Studies and Qualitative Research Methods.

chapter |11 pages

Finding Our Feet

ByCharlotte Bates, Alex Rhys-Taylor

chapter |7 pages

Railway Lands

ByEmma Jackson

chapter 1|17 pages

Marchers and Steppers

Memory, City Life and Walking
ByLes Back

chapter 2|15 pages

Seeing the Need

Urban Outreach as Sensory Walking
ByTom Hall, Robin James Smith

chapter 3|15 pages

Desire Lines

Walking in Woolwich
ByCharlotte Bates

chapter 4|15 pages

Keep Walking

Notes on How to Research Urban Pasts and Futures
ByHelena Holgersson

chapter 5|17 pages

Walking Together

Understanding Young People’s Experiences of Living in Neighbourhoods in Transition
ByAndrew Clark

chapter 6|23 pages

Westfield Stratford City

A Walk Through Millennial Urbanism
ByAlex Rhys-Taylor

chapter 7|15 pages

Walking, Falling, Telling

The Anecdote and the Mis-Step as a ‘Research Event’
ByMike Michael

chapter 8|17 pages

Air Walk

Monitoring Pollution and Experimenting with Speculative Forms of Participation
ByJennifer Gabrys

chapter 9|15 pages

Listening Walks

A Method of Multiplicity
ByMichael Gallagher, Jonathan Prior

chapter 10|17 pages

Wild Walking

A Twofold Critique of the Walk-Along Method
ByPhillip Vannini, April Vannini

chapter |4 pages

Walking W8 in Manolos 1

ByCaroline Knowles