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a study of behaviour in public places
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The New Interaction Order Mobile Methods

photo of manchester street sceneLaw and Urry argue that existing methods of research in-and-around the social sciences deal poorly:

'...with the fleeting - that which is here today and gone tomorrow, only to re-appear again the day after tomorrow. They deal poorly with the distributed - that is to be found here and there but not in between - or that which slips and slides between one place and another. They deal poorly with the multiple - that which takes different shapes in different places. They deal poorly with the non-causal, the chaotic, the complex. And such methods have difficulty dealing with the sensory - that which is subject to vision, sound, taste, smell; with the emotional - time-space compressed outbursts of anger, pain, rage, pleasure, desire, or the spiritual; and the kinaesthetic - the pleasures and pains which follow the movement and displacement of people, objects, information and ideas...'

The temptation is to hold down and dissect these phenomena to study them - which would destroy them. In this project we address some problems and opportunities of doing research which respond to these challenges by trying to move with, and to be moved by, the fleeting, distributed, multiple, non-causal, sensory, emotional and kinaesthetic. It is through engaging with what we and others term the mobilities turn that purchase can be gained on these important aspects of the social world.

In particular, we use:

  • Derivé
  • 'Walking with'
  • Ethnographic participant observation
  • Video ethnography
  • Breaching experiments
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