Special Issue "Spatial Bricolage: Methodological Eclecticism and the Poetics of “Making Do”"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 January 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Les Roberts

Department of Communication and Media, University of Liverpool, 19 Abercromby Square L69 7ZG, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44-(0)151 794 3102
Interests: spatial anthropology; urban cultural studies; spatial humanities; film, space and place; popular culture and memory; cultural geographies of travel and tourism; liminality, place and space

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This is a proposal for a Special Issue of the journal Humanities, on the theme of ‘Spatial Bricolage’: the art and poetics of ‘making do’ (de Certeau 1984: xv) in spatial humanities research. Expanding on themes explored in an earlier Humanities Special Issue on ‘Deep Mapping’ (Roberts 2015/16), this follow-up collection places firmer emphasis on questions of method: the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ that variously informs the doing of deep mapping and spatial anthropology. Provisionally organized around the twin concepts of cultural bricolage and the researcher/practitioner as bricoleur, this Special Issue aims to collate and provoke critical discussion trained on spatial bricolage as an interdisciplinary (or ‘undisciplined’) nexus of practices and pick-and-mix methods. Claude Lévi-Strauss described bricolage as ‘[the making] do with “whatever is at hand”… [; to address oneself] to a collection of oddments left over from human endeavours’ (2004: 17, 19). If eclecticism informs a deep mapping practice increasingly oriented around the embodied and embedded researcher, then it is one that correspondingly finds its creative expression in the art and poetics of ‘making do’. As a ‘maker of quilts’, or, as in filmmaking, ‘a person who assembles images into montages’ (Denzin and Lincoln 2011: 4), the researcher-as-bricoleur makes do insofar as what it is she or he is ‘mapping’ is recast as a representational and affective assemblage. In the same way that calls for a ‘more artful and crafty’ sociology are underwritten by a push towards more ‘open methods’ in the social sciences (Back and Puwar 2012: 9), approaches in the interdisciplinary field of spatial and geo-humanities strive to embrace a methodological eclecticism adaptable to the qualitative dynamics of experiential, performative or ‘non-representational’ (Vannini 2015) geographies of place. Engaging with deep mapping ‘in all its messy, inclusive glory’ (Scherf 2015: 343), contributions for this Spatial Bricolage Special Issue are therefore sought from a wide range of fields that address questions that speak to issues of methodological eclecticism in spatial/geo-humanities research. Papers are especially welcome that examine the role of autoethnographic methods and practices, performance and gonzo ethnography, digital methods, or which address some of the ethical questions and constraints thrown up in relation to urban cultural bricolage as a mode of critical spatial research within the academy.

Dr. Les Roberts
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

References:

Back, L, and N Puwar. “A Manifesto for Live Methods: Provocations and Capacities.” In Live Methods. Edited by L. Back and N. Puwar. Oxford: Blackwell, 2012.

Bodenhamer, D. J., J. Corrigan, and T. M. Harris, eds. Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.

de Certeau, M. The Practice of Everyday Life. London: University of California Press, 1984.

Denzin, N. K., and Y. S. Lincoln. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: SAGE, 2011.

Lévi-Strauss, C. The Savage Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Scherf, K. “Beyond the Brochure: An Unmapped Journey into Deep Mapping.” In Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry. Edited by D. MacLennan, W. F. Garrett-Petts, and N. Duxbury. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Roberts, L. “Mapping Cultures: A Spatial Anthropology.” In Mapping Cultures: Place, Practice, Performance. Edited by L. Roberts. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015.

Roberts, L., ed. “Deep Mapping.” Special Issue, Humanities 4, nos. 4-5 (2015–16): www.mdpi.com/journal /humanities/special_issues/DeepMapping

Roberts, L. “Deep Mapping and Spatial Anthropology.” Humanities 5 (2016): article 5.

Vannini, P., ed. Non-Representational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.

Keywords

  • spatial anthropology
  • deep mapping
  • bricolage
  • autoethnography
  • gleaning
  • performance
  • non-representational methods
  • interdisciplinarity and deep mapping
  • psychogeography
  • place-making
  • urban bricolage

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Spatial Bricolage: The Art of Poetically Making Do
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020043
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper provides an introductory overview to the Humanities special issue on ‘spatial bricolage’. The individual contributions that make up the special issue are outlined and salient themes pulled out that address and respond to some the wider discussion points raised throughout this
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This paper provides an introductory overview to the Humanities special issue on ‘spatial bricolage’. The individual contributions that make up the special issue are outlined and salient themes pulled out that address and respond to some the wider discussion points raised throughout this introduction. These are closely focused around the central concept of bricolage and the idea of the researcher as bricoleur. Some background context on the anthropological underpinnings to bricolage is provided, alongside methodological reflections that relate the concept to ideas of ‘gleaning’ as a creative and performative engagement with everyday spaces as they are ‘found’ and rehearsed in practice. A core focus on questions of method, and of autoethnographic approaches in particular, is presented alongside questions of research ethics and the policing thereof by institutional structures of disciplining and audit in the neoliberal academy. It is argued that bricolage is, among other things, a practical response to a field of practice that at times constrains as much as it allows space to roam, unimpeded, across disciplinary boundaries. From the overarching purview of spatial humanities and spatial anthropology, it is shown that discussions of bricolage and the researcher as bricoleur can help make explicit the poetics and affects of space, as well as the ethical and procedural frameworks that are brought to bear on how space is put into practice. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Gleaning and Dreaming on Car Park Beach
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020033
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
This article explores beachcombing and gleaning as practices that combine mobility with daydreaming and which allow us to experience our environment with the perception of ‘tactile nearness’ (Benjamin). Through eco-poetics shaped by ‘inconceivable analogies and connections’ (Benjamin), the author re-imagines a neglected space
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This article explores beachcombing and gleaning as practices that combine mobility with daydreaming and which allow us to experience our environment with the perception of ‘tactile nearness’ (Benjamin). Through eco-poetics shaped by ‘inconceivable analogies and connections’ (Benjamin), the author re-imagines a neglected space used as a short-cut on the way to work—the Liverpool Adelphi car park in Liverpool—as “Car Park Beach”. Inspired by the situationists’ slogan ‘Sous les pavés, la plage’, the author argues that Car Park Beach opens up imaginative possibilities for a different form of ecological encounter with our own precarity, one ushered in by a ‘close-up’ awareness of how waste transforms our world. Car Park Beach is a site that the author associates with the drift-like, distracted movements of both people and matter, and this article therefore attempts to deploy an equivalent method of analysis. Drawing on her own practice of gleaning photos and objects on the way to work, the author places a vocabulary of flotsam and jetsam at the axis of her discussion. Allusive, often layered, connections are followed between a diverse range of sources including beachcombing guides, literary memoirs, documentary films, eco-criticism, and auto-ethnography. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Year in the Life of a Public Park: Route-Making, Vigilance and Sampling Time Whilst Walking
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7010018
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper offers a systematic, experimental, walking methodology to facilitate an ethnography of a major urban public park undertaken in the north-east of England in 2009–10. Ethnography puts the body in-place, placing the senses within the streams of life to be observed through
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This paper offers a systematic, experimental, walking methodology to facilitate an ethnography of a major urban public park undertaken in the north-east of England in 2009–10. Ethnography puts the body in-place, placing the senses within the streams of life to be observed through experience; walking is one means of so doing. Walking traditions have frequently been used to observe, record and analyse the minutiae of urban life, with recent qualitative methodologies seeking to use walking to underpin ethnographies. Walking must negotiate the specificity of place and time, with all walks taking place in a real-world of materially, spatially, complex, vital and rhythmic landscapes. My aim was to systematically capture some of these patterns. Ethnographies typically use sustained field-based immersion; yet, some research utilises sampling strategies to guide observational procedures. Combining these methodologies allowed me to develop a methodology with three objectives: to create a series of routes to be followed; routes which allowed me to both scan and closely observe distant, and proximate, surroundings; and to construct a diurnal, weekly “sampling” frame, which allowed me to “immerse” myself within the park’s life through repeatedly walking these routes, building up a picture of everyday life, whilst (hopefully) capturing unscheduled events. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle bricolage, poetics, spacing
Humanities 2017, 6(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040095
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
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Abstract
Contemporary concern for bricolage both transcends and supersedes de Certeau’s important intervention that resituated the term as actions undertaken in everyday life. In particular, he engaged the notion of bricolage in ways that presented tactics, evasions, resistances, ruses and even tricks in his
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Contemporary concern for bricolage both transcends and supersedes de Certeau’s important intervention that resituated the term as actions undertaken in everyday life. In particular, he engaged the notion of bricolage in ways that presented tactics, evasions, resistances, ruses and even tricks in his consideration of everyday life as practiced. Whilst these considerations may be read, as indeed he asserted, as ‘making do’, there are further possibilities of this term. For example, bricolage may be considered to ‘occur’. In this we may take the anthropologist Hallam and Ingold’s grasp of creativity as something in our bodily and mental response to situations, calm, anxious and otherwise; responding to the detail of a situation, a required or desired action. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Soundwalking: Deep Listening and Spatio-Temporal Montage
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030069
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
The bicentenary of the 1817 Pentrich Revolution provided an opportunity for the composition of a series of soundwalks that, in turn, offer themselves up as a case study in an exposition of spatial bricolage, from the perspective of an interdisciplinary artist working with
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The bicentenary of the 1817 Pentrich Revolution provided an opportunity for the composition of a series of soundwalks that, in turn, offer themselves up as a case study in an exposition of spatial bricolage, from the perspective of an interdisciplinary artist working with the medium of locative sound. Informed by Doreen Massey’s definition of space as ‘a simultaneity of stories so far’, the author’s approach involves extracting sounds from the contemporary soundscape and re-introducing them in the form of multi-layered compositions. This article conducts an analysis of the author’s soundwalking practice according to Max van Manen’s formulation of four essential categories of experience through which to consider our ‘lived world’: spatiality, temporality, corporeality, and relationality. Drawing upon theorists whose concerns include cinematic, mobile and environmental sound, such as Chion, Chambers and Schafer, the author proposes the soundwalk as as an expanded form of cinema, with the flexibility to provoke states of immersion was well as critical detachment. A case is made for the application of the medium within the artistic investigation into ecological and socio-political issues alongside aesthetic concerns. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Improvised Performances: Urban Ethnography and the Creative Tactics of Montreal’s Metro Buskers
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030067
Received: 24 June 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
Buskers—street performers—evince the creative tactics of self-conscious agents who are both produced by and productive of the social and material conditions within which they carry out their practices. In this article, I discuss my ethnographic research among buskers in Montreal’s underground transit system—the
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Buskers—street performers—evince the creative tactics of self-conscious agents who are both produced by and productive of the social and material conditions within which they carry out their practices. In this article, I discuss my ethnographic research among buskers in Montreal’s underground transit system—the metro—and examine their highly variable and improvisational practices (musical and spatial). I detail how buskers work with and against the constraints and possibilities posed by the material characteristics of those spaces (especially in terms of acoustics) as well as formal regulations and prevailing social norms. This suggests understanding busking as a relational process of “cobbling together” that is never entirely fixed or bounded, but dispersed and always in-the-making. Further, I demonstrate how the research process in this context is itself a creative, improvisational approach, guided as much by the conditions at hand as by an overarching research design. By drawing parallels between the busker-performer and my role as researcher and creative producer, particularly in my use of audio-visual production, I argue that ethnographic research is, itself, a form of assemblaging, of bricolage—an embodied, relational process that involves multiple participants (human and material) of varying influences, bound together by the tactical activities of the researcher. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Two Walks with Objects
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030051
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 22 July 2017
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Abstract
‘Two Walks With Objects’ attempts a tainted auto-ethnographic review of the affects and actions arising from reviewing the images remaining from two walks with objects, the first in 2013 and the second in 2017. The article sets out, within the context of a
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‘Two Walks With Objects’ attempts a tainted auto-ethnographic review of the affects and actions arising from reviewing the images remaining from two walks with objects, the first in 2013 and the second in 2017. The article sets out, within the context of a growing discussion about the agency of unhuman and nonhuman things and a refinement of neo-vitalist and object-based ontology, to narrate affect within an archive against the effects of memory, triangulating these not with a third human source, but with the absence of the things themselves, which are present only as written descriptions and photographic representations. By framing the walks as everyday performances, the article seeks then to use a critique of documentation of performance as transforming performance into something else as an efficacious model, identifying the ‘voids’ of mythogeographical practice as that “something else”, as potential spaces where human actors can learn to live with the agency of nonhuman objects. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Assembling the Assemblage: Developing Schizocartography in Support of an Urban Semiology
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030047
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Abstracts: This article looks at the formulation of a methodology that incorporates a walking-based practice and borrows from a variety of theories in order to create a flexible tool that is able to critique and express the multiplicities of experiences produced by moving
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Abstracts: This article looks at the formulation of a methodology that incorporates a walking-based practice and borrows from a variety of theories in order to create a flexible tool that is able to critique and express the multiplicities of experiences produced by moving about the built environment. Inherent in postmodernism is the availability of a multitude of objects (or texts) available for reuse, reinterpretation, and appropriation under the umbrella of bricolage. The author discusses her development of schizocartography (the conflation of a phrase belonging to Félix Guattari) and how she has incorporated elements from Situationist psychogeography, Marxist geography, and poststructural theory and placed them alongside theories that examine subjectivity. This toolbox enables multiple possibilities for interpretation which reflect the actual heterogeneity of place and also mirror the complexities that are integral in challenging the totalizing perspective of space that capitalism encourages. Full article

Other

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Open AccessEssay The Question of Space: A Review Essay
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020042
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
This article is a review essay which discusses the inter-disciplinary collection of essays edited by Marijn Nieuwenhuis and David Crouch, titled The Question of Space: Interrogating the Spatial Turn between Disciplines (London: Rowman & Littlefield 2017). The book was published as part of
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This article is a review essay which discusses the inter-disciplinary collection of essays edited by Marijn Nieuwenhuis and David Crouch, titled The Question of Space: Interrogating the Spatial Turn between Disciplines (London: Rowman & Littlefield 2017). The book was published as part of the Place, Memory, Affect series, edited by Neil Campbell and Christine Berberich. As well as providing a detailed critical overview of The Question of Space, the article responds to some of the broader questions that the book poses in terms of the radical inter-disciplinary of space and spatiality, relating these firstly to ideas drawn from Henri Lefebvre’s discussion of ‘blind fields’. The review essay then goes on to question what we might understand by the so-called ‘spatial turn’ and whether this itself requires some rethinking in order to better take stock of the developments in and around the inter-disciplinary scholarship on space and spatiality. Following this, the essay engages more directly with the individual chapter contributions in The Question of Space, before drawing together some concluding remarks that speak to the concept of ‘atmosphere’ as an affective and phenomenological quality of space as experiential and embodied ‘spacing’. Full article
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