Advertisement

Relational Geometries of the Body: Doing Ethnographic Fieldwork

  • Nick HopwoodEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 11)

Abstract

This chapter takes a practice-theory informed approach to understanding the body doing ethnographic fieldwork. It treats ethnographic fieldwork as a form of professional practice, albeit a contested one, in which the notion of embodiment is widely established. However new lines of understanding and new ways of giving accounts of these practices are opened up by contemporary practice theories. In particular this chapter takes up the work of Schatzki, and links this to the framing developed by Green and Hopwood (Chap. 2, this volume) – the body as background, resource, and metaphor. These are used to present and expand the concept of relational geometries of the body, a distinctive and useful tool for grappling with questions of the body in fieldwork practice. The geometric approach highlights relationality between the ethnographer and other bodies (including material artefacts), viewing this as central to judgements and performances in fieldwork, and intimately folded into the intellectual and ethical work of ethnographic research. In this way the account rejects Cartesian mind/body dualisms, and instead focuses on the shifting relationships of the doing body.

Keywords

Facial Expression Professional Practice Geometric Relation Aesthetic Judgement Practice Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The University of Technology, Sydney funded the research discussed in this chapter through the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship scheme. I would like to thank the staff of Karitane, in particular those on the Residential Unit, and the families who participated, for allowing me into their lives as professionals and as parents. Alison Lee provided immense inspiration in the early phases of this project. The community of ethnographers at UTS continues to offer inter-disciplinary support and colleagueship. I wish to thank Anne Kinsella and Mary Johnsson for their helpful comments on drafts, and Bill Green for his constructive input.

References

  1. Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831. doi: 10.1086/345321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boggs, J. S., & Rantisi, N. M. (2003). The ‘relational turn’ in economic geography. Journal of Economic Geography, 3(2), 109–116. doi: 10.1093/jeg/3.2.109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1997). Pascalian meditations. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. Burrell, J. (2009). The field site as a network: A strategy for locating ethnographic work. Field Methods, 21(2), 181–199. doi: 10.1177/1525822X08329699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caldwell, R. (2012). Reclaiming agency, recovering change? An exploration of the practice theory of Theodore Schatzki. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 42(3), 284–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2012.00490.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clerke, T., & Hopwood, N. (2014). Doing ethnography in teams: A case study of asymmetries in collaborative research. London: Springer Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Csordas, T. J. (1999). Embodiment and cultural phenomenology. In G. Weiss & H. Fern Haber (Eds.), Perspectives on embodiment: The intersections of nature and culture (pp. 143–162). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Ellingson, L. L. (2006). Embodied knowledge: Writing researchers’ bodies into qualitative health research. Qualitative Health Research, 16(2), 298–310. doi: 10.1177/1049732305281944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ezzy, D. (2010). Qualitative interviewing as an embodied emotional performance. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(3), 163–170. doi: 10.1177/1077800409351970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fenwick, T., Edwards, R., & Sawchuk, P. (2011). Emerging approaches to educational research: Tracing the sociomaterial. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Friedman, J. (2002). From roots to routes: Tropes for trippers. Anthropological Theory, 2, 21–36. doi: 10.1177/1463499602002001286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Green, B. (2009). Introduction: Understanding and researching professional practice. In B. Green (Ed.), Understanding and researching professional practice (pp. 1–18). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Hockey, J., & Allen Collinson, J. (2009). The sensorium at work: The sensory phenomenology of the working body. The Sociological Review, 57(2), 217–239. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2009.01827.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hopwood, N. (2013a). Ethnographic fieldwork as embodied material practice: Reflections from theory and the field. In N. K. Denzin (Ed.), 40th anniversary of studies in symbolic interaction (Studies in symbolic interaction, Vol. 40, pp. 227–245). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hopwood, N. (2013b). The rhythms of pedagogy: An ethnographic study of parenting education practices. Studies in Continuing Education, 36, 115–131. doi: 10.1080/0158037X.2013.787983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hopwood, N. (2013c). Understanding partnership practice in primary health as pedagogic work: what can Vygotsky’s theory of learning offer? Australian Journal of Primary Health. doi:  10.1071/PY12141.
  17. Hopwood, N. (in press). Using video to trace the embodied and material in a study of health practice. Qualitative Research Journal.Google Scholar
  18. Hopwood, N., & Clerke, T. (2012). Partnership and pedagogy in child and family health practice: A resource for professionals, educators and students. Hertsellung: Lambert Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Horsfall, D., Byrne-Armstrong, H., & Rothwell, R. (2001). Embodying knowledges: Challenging the theory/practice divide. In J. Higgs & A. Titchen (Eds.), Professional practice in health, education and the creative arts (pp. 90–102). Oxford: Blackwell Science.Google Scholar
  20. Kemmis, S. (2009). Understanding professional practice: A synoptic framework. In B. Green (Ed.), Understanding and researching professional practice (pp. 19–39). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Marcus, G. (1995). Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 95–117. doi: 10.1146/annurev.an.24.100195.000523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marcus, G. (2007a). How short can fieldwork be? Social Anthropology, 15(3), 353–357. doi: 10.1111/j.0964-0282.2007.00025_1.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marcus, G. (2007b). Response to Judith Okely. Social Anthropology, 15(3), 361–364. doi: 10.1111/j.0964-0282.2007.00025_3.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mason, J. I., & Davies, K. (2009). Coming to our senses? A critical approach to sensory methodology. Qualitative Research, 9(5), 587–603. doi: 10.1177/146879434628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Massey, D. (1993). Power-geometry and a progressive sense of place. In J. Bird, B. Curtis, T. Putnam, G. Robertson, & L. Tickner (Eds.), Mapping the futures: Local cultures and global change (pp. 59–69). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception (C. Smith, Trans.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Mills, D., & Ratcliffe, R. (2012). After method? Ethnography in the knowledge economy. Qualitative Research, 12(2), 147–164. doi: 10.1177/1468794111420902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Monaghan, L. F. (2002a). Embodying gender, work and organization: Solidarity, cool loyalties and contested hierarchy in a masculinist occupation. Gender, Work and Organization, 9(5), 504–536. doi: NA.Google Scholar
  29. Monaghan, L. F. (2002b). Hard men, shop boys and others: Embodying competence in a masculinist occupation. The Sociological Review, 50(3), 334–355. doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.00386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Monaghan, L. F. (2003). Danger on the doors: Bodily risk in a demonised occupation. Health, Risk & Society, 5(1), 11–31. doi: 10.1080/1369857021000069814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nairn, K. (1999). Embodied fieldwork. Journal of Geography, 98(6), 272–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Okely, J. (2007a). Reply to George E. Marcus. Social Anthropology, 15(3), 364–367. doi: 10.1111/j.0964-0282.2007.00025_4.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Okely, J. (2007b). Response to George E. Marcus. Social Anthropology, 15(3), 357–361. doi: 10.1111/j.0964-0282.2007.00025_2.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Park Lala, A., & Kinsella, E. A. (2011). Embodiment in research practices: The body in qualitative research. In J. Higgs, A. Titchen, D. Horsfall, & D. Bridges (Eds.), Creative spaces for qualitative researching: Living research (pp. 77–86). Rotterdam: Sense.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pink, S. (2005). Dirty laundry: Everyday practice, sensory engagement and the constitution of identity. Social Anthropology, 13(3), 275–290. doi: 10.1017/S0964028205001540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pink, S. (2008). An urban tour: The sensory sociality of ethnographic place-making. Ethnography, 9(2), 175–196. doi: 10.1177/1466138108089467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pink, S. (2009). Doing sensory ethnography. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a theory of social practices: A development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263. doi: 10.1177/13684310222225432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sandelowski, M. (2002). Reembodying qualitative inquiry. Qualitative Health Research, 12(1), 104–115. doi: 10.1177/1049732302012001008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schatzki, T. R. (1996a). Practiced bodies: Subjects, genders, and minds. In T. R. Schatzki & W. Natter (Eds.), The social and political body (pp. 49–77). London: The Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  41. Schatzki, T. R. (1996b). Social practices: A Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schatzki, T. R. (2000). The social bearing of nature. Inquiry, 43(1), 21–38. doi: 10.1080/002017400321352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The site of the social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Schatzki, T. R. (2003). A new societist social ontology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(2), 174–202. doi: 10.1177/0048393103033002002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schatzki, T. R. (2005). Peripheral vision: The sites of organizations. Organization Studies, 26(3), 465–484. doi: 10.1177/0170840605050876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schatzki, T. R. (2010). The timespace of human activity: On performance, society, and history as indeterminate teleological events. Lanham: Lexington.Google Scholar
  47. Schatzki, T. R. (2012). A primer on practices. In J. Higgs, R. Barnett, S. Billett, M. Hutchings, & F. Trede (Eds.), Practice-based education: Perspectives and strategies (pp. 13–26). Rotterdam: Sense.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schmidt, R., & Volbers, J. (2011). Siting praxeology: The methodological significance of ‘public’ in theories of social practices. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 41(4), 419–440. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2011.volindex.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Seyfert, R. (2012). Beyond personal feelings and collective emotions: Toward a theory of social affect. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(6), 27–46. doi: 10.1177/0263276412438591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shilling, C. (2003). The body and social theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  51. Stephens, N., & Delamont, S. (2006). Balancing the berimbau: Embodied ethnographic understanding. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 316–339. doi: 10.1177/1077800405284370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stoller, P. (1997). Sensuous scholarship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stoller, P. (2004). Sensuous ethnography, African persuasions, and social knowledge. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(6), 817–835. doi: 10.1177/1077800404265727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Strati, A. (1992). Aesthetic understanding of organizational life. Academy of Management: The Academy of Management Review, 17(3), 568–581. doi: NA.Google Scholar
  55. Strati, A. (2007). Sensible knowledge and practice-based learning. Management Learning, 38(1), 61–77. doi: 10.1177/1350507607073023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Todres, L. (2008). Being with that: The relevance of embodied understanding for practice. Qualitative Health Research, 18(11), 1566–1573. doi: 10.1177/1049732308324249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wacquant, L. (1995). Pugs at work: Bodily capital and bodily labour among professional boxers. Body & Society, 1(1), 65–93. doi: NA.Google Scholar
  58. Wacquant, L. (2002). Taking Bourdieu into the field. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, XLVI, 180–186. doi: NA.Google Scholar
  59. Wacquant, L. (2004). Body and soul: Notebooks of an apprentice boxer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Walford, G. (2009). For ethnography. Ethnography and Education, 4(3), 271–282. doi: 10.1080/17457820903170093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Weiss, G., & Fern Haber, H. (1999). Introduction. In G. Weiss & H. Fern Haber (Eds.), Perspectives on embodiment: The intersections of nature and culture (pp. xii–xvii). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Willis, P. (2000). The ethnographic imagination. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  63. Yeung, H. W.-C. (2002). Towards a relational economic geography: Old wine in new bottles? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  64. Yeung, H. W.-C. (2005). Rethinking relational economic geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 30(1), 37–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2005.00150.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations