- Please pre-register for this lab here (max. 30 participants), including a brief statement of participation
- Extracts from selected material below for Lab participants to read/watch before the event:
Run and Become is a short, meditative film about marathon running. Anthropology students at the University of Sussex interviewed 30 marathon runners and ran a marathon themselves; excerpts from the interviews were used by a Brighton-based artist, Matt Pagett, to create a short documentary.
16 mins, watch >>> here
Ampe, P. (2016). The mind works best at running speed. Gent: Borgerhoff & Lamberigts.
“Why do we get ideas when walking to the toilet? It’s called the creative pause. You stop thinking and your mind wanders freely.” (E. de Bono)
“Walking opens a free flow of ideas.” (M. Oppezo & D. Schwartz)
“My mind only works with my legs.” (J.-J. Rousseau)
“Running de-actives the frontal lobe, responsible for rational thinking, allowing ideas to flow freely.”
“While running, at one point your body and mind start taking different routes.”
“It’s not how fast you run, it’s how slow.”
“You should run without being aware of your physical body.”
Cresswell, Tim. 2006. On the move: Mobility in the modern Western world. London: Routledge.
“Imaginations of mobility have informed judgments about people and their practices over the last several centuries in the Western world.”
“Movement is made up of time and space. It is the spatialization of time and temporalization of space. Any consideration of movement (and mobility) that does not take time and space into account is missing an important facet.”
“The modern individual is, above all else, a mobile human being.”
“The movement of people has been central to the construction of worldviews in widely different ways.”
Edensor, Tim (Ed.) 2010. Geographies of rhythm: Nature, place, mobilities and bodies. Farnham: Ashgate.
“de Certeau’s and Lefebvre’s faith in the everyday to generate resistance abides and points in the decisive direction of ethnographic work; the tactical aspects of lifehacking together with the notion of immanent critique – the intransigent materiality, the stuffiness of information – present the possibility of alternative arrrangements to the rhythmic ambitions of corporate intermediaries.”
“Using an ethnographic approach to urban daily mobility practices in Santiago de Chile, this chapter analyses the everyday generation of mobile places. It argues firstly that place making can be generated on the spaces encountered in mobility, that is those spaces travelled on, in, by, through or within: buses, Metros, cars, bicycles or foot, become mobile places. Secondly, it discusses how in the analysis of mobile place making, linear and cyclical rhythms can offer opportunities for individual rhythms ‘of the self’ to avoid being subsumed by the rhythms ‘of the other’.”
Farnell, Brenda. 2012. Dynamic embodiment for social theory: “I move therefore I am”. New York: Routledge.
“Alongside related mammals, we move in the womb long before we enter the world outside, and when even the rhythmic movement of our breathing ceases, we are deemed to be no longer living. As human beings, however, we also move our bodies as we move about in natural and cultural environments in ways that provide quintessential features of a distinctly human form of life: we sit, stand, walk and talk long before we realize that this is what we are doing, or that we are signifying anything with our bodies in motion.”
“Once people are conceived as dynamically embodied persons empowered to perform signifying acts with vocal signs and action signs, the way is clear to develop complementary research strategies for the systematic investigation of dynamically embodied action during ethnographic fieldwork.”
“Why, in a discipline that defines itself by a holistic approach, do systematic analyses of dynamically embodied knowledge only rarely find their way into ethnographic representations and thus into the academy? This seems especially odd given that anthropologists necessarily encounter, engage in, and frequently master, new skills and embodied modes of expressive conduct during field research, although new modes of somatic knowledge can also be intellectually and emotionally threatening.”
“The writing of a movement text can be no more ‘purely descriptive’ than can that of a standard ethnographic text; both are beset with problems of translation and interpretation. As with a standard ethnography, one builds one’s interpretations over time and makes choices about descriptions as one’s knowledge increases.”
“Without including indexical features of situated social action that tie embodied discourses to time, place and persons, the performative power of action and vocal signs as equally available resources for meaningful action in social life will be under-represented in ethnographic accounts.”
Ingold, Tim, & Vergunst, Jo Lee (Eds.) 2008. Ways of walking: Ethnography and practice on foot. Aldershot: Ashgate.
“Ethnographers, as we have noted elsewhere (Lee and Ingold 2006), are accustomed to carrying out much of their work on foot. But while living with a group of people usually means walking around with them, it is rare to find ethnography that reflects on walking itself, least of all from the kind of comparative perspective that we offer in this book. No doubt the topic of walking figures often enough in ethnographers’ fieldnotes. Once they come to write up their results, however, it tends to be side lined in favour of ‘what really matters ‘, such as the destinations towards which people were bound or the conversations that happened en route.”
“The ethnographer has a firm place in the European history ofwalldng. Reacting to a long history of denigrating walking as something primitive and inferior, the era of romanticism and enlightenment began to give intrinsic worth to walking as ‘a unique way of experiencing and knowing the world’ (Amato 2004, 1 03). The countryside ramblers of the nineteenth century also went out to encounter diverse people, a practice that subsequently became the hallmark of folk studies and ethnography.”
Macfarlane, Robert (2012). The old ways: A journey on foot. London: Hamish Hamilton.
“Keith Basso has written of how, for the Cibecue Apache, the past is figured as a path or trail (’intin), trodden by ancestors but largely invisible to the living, which has to be reapproached indirectly via the prompts of certain memorial traces. These traces – which include place names, stories, songs and relics – are sometimes called by the Apache biké’ goz’áá – ‘footprints’, ‘tracks’. To the Klinchon people of north-western Canada, walking and knowing are barely divisible activities: their term for ‘knowledge’ and their term for ‘footprint’ can be used interchangeably. A Tibetan Buddhist text from around 600 years ago uses the word shul to mean ‘a mark that remains after that which has made it has passed by’: footprints are shul, a path is shul, and such impressions draw one backwards into awareness of past events.”
“‘To learn’ therefore means at root – at route – ‘to follow a track’. Who knew? Not I – and I am grateful to the etymologist-explorers who uncovered those lost trails connecting ‘learning’ with ‘path-following’.”
“We think of paths as existing only on land, but the sea has its paths too, though water refuses to take and hold marks.”
“In antiquity, Irish scholars were known . . . for their practice of ‘navigatio’ . . . a journey undertaken by boat . . . a circular itinerary of exodus and return . . . The aim was to undergo an apprenticeship to signs of strangeness with a view to becoming more attentive to the meanings of one’s own time and place – geographical, spiritual, intellectual. Richard Kearney (2006)”
Scheerder, Jeroen, Breedveld, K, Borgers, Julie (eds) (2015). Running across Europe: The Rise and Size of one of the Largest Sport Markets. London: Palgrave.
“From the late 1960s onwards, running would largely be withdrawn from club settings and become an independent, well pursued sporting activity. As a result, the so-called first running boom was born. Thus, it seems a spatial shift was needed in order to generate a change with regard to the perception and the popularity of running. Or in other words: making running a less structured, less rationalised, less quantified, less competitive and less bureacratised (cf. Guttmann’s socio-historical model of the nature of modern sports), implied that more people would enjoy running as a leisure-time pursuit. According to Vanreusel (1984) recreational running could be characterised as a mass movement of which the characteristics conflict with the features of modern sports. As a consequence, mass running may be defined as a mass movement, being a prominent social expression of the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s”.
Page 2 (from Chapter 1, Who is Doing a Run with the Running Boom).
Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine. (2011). The primacy of movement. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co.
“People’s conception of movement is not on anthropologists’ inventories, thus the conception is not a studied phenomenon on par with studies of people’s conceptions of kin, deities, animals, history, and so on. How people in nomadic or hunter-gatherer societies, for example, behold and conceive of movement is unknown.”
Solnit, R. (2000). Wanderlust: A history of walking. New York: Viking.
“Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing. It is a bodily labor that produces nothing but thoughts, experiences, arrivals.”
“The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it. A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was there all along, as though thinking were traveling rather than making.”
“Philosophers walked. But philosophers who thought about walking are rarer.”
“One would expect that postmodern theory would have much to say about walking, given that mobility and corporeality have been among its major themes—and when corporeality gets mobile, it walks.”
“Walking shares with making and working that crucial element of engagement of the body and the mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and the body through the world.”
“A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape, and to follow a route is to accept an interpretation, or to stalk your predecessors on it as scholars and trackers and pilgrims do. To walk the same way is to reiterate something deep; to move through the same space the same way is a means of becoming the same person, thinking the same thoughts.”
Souter, G. (2009). Slow journeys: The pleasures of travelling by foot. New South Wales: Crows Nest, Allen & Unwin.
“Whatever your creative aspirations, movement is undoubtedly a stimulus for a sound mental state.”
“Walking is educative in the same manner as other forms of travel, although the syllabus is more often focused on natural history than on Bacon’s social studies. It’s unlikely in this day and age that you’ll be covering fresh ground, and there is some pleasure and great interest to be gained from treading in other footsteps. History becomes tangible at this level.”
Allen Collinson, Jacquelyn (2008). Running the routes together: Corunning and knowledge in action. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 37(1): 38-61.
“The mundane, concrete practices of social life have remained underanalyzed, unproblematized, even taken for granted by some social theorists, despite their being constitutive of the very foundation of social life. Despite a growing corpus of ethnographic studies within the sociology of sport, little analytic attention has been devoted to the concrete practices of actually “doing” sporting activity.”
“The relatively recent “auto-ethnographic turn” in the analysis of sporting and physical activity experiences, including those of pain and injury, offers great potential for providing analyses”.
Bell, Claudia John Lyall (2002). The accelerated sublime: thrill-seeking adventure heroes in the commodified landscape. In Coleman, Simon & Mike Crang (eds). Tourism: Between Place and Performance. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
The accelerating body
The sheer physical enormity of nature transformed the human body into something miniature, downscaled and not in control of the earth. It left space for reflection on human insignificance in the face of gigantic forces and formations of nature; and in Victorian times it left space for reflection on new knowledge about the age of the earth, which added a whole new grandeur.
Susan Stewart observes that ‘we move through the landscape; it does not move through us. This relation to the landscape is expressed most often through an abstract projection of the body upon the natural world…our words for the landscape are often projections of an enormous body upon it: the mouth of the river, the foot-hills…the heartlands… the gigantic (presents) an analytical mode of thought, (a) selection of elements that will be transformed and displayed in an exaggerated relation to the social construction of reality‘ (Stewart 1994:71).
The touristic body can literally hurtle through physical space. In adventure tourism the most adrenaline filled experiences are those where the body leaps or falls from a great height; or plunges down a steep slope or surging river. With little applied muscle power the body becomes a high speed hurtling object, darting with gravity down the landscape.
We note the late twentieth century rapid and voluntary increase in the speed of the body of the participant: from languid or leisurely over-clothed aesthetes surveying and depicting the nineteenth century vista, to lycra and neoprene clad sublimity junkies hurtling into the next extreme panorama. While the skydive tandem claims to be ‘the highest, fastest most spectacular adventure of them all’, new sports keep appearing. The latest include vertigo canyoning, river surfing and parapenting” (p.9).
The intrepid postmodern tourist
Our discussion illustrates the continuum that tracks the route to postmodernity. When those positioned at one point (modernity) can view the authentic environment and cultural practices of those placed at the other (tradition) the gap between the two narrows. Indeed, those at the modern end leap further along the continuum, to post modernity, as viewing the innovative ways of commodifying what was once simply, for instance, ‘landscape’ of the other becomes a feature peculiar to post-modern society. In this postmodern period remote, difficult or dangerous landscape are richly – and commercially – romanticised.
The tourists’ monologue is not about political correctness. Like the travel articles in newspapers and magazines (usually sponsored by airlines or holiday resorts) there is seldom observation of anything other than that which they set out to see. Little is said about re-colonisation of indigenous peoples, and their employment in subservient roles to please the needs of visitors. Nor is there much comment on environmental destruction (for instance in Nepal where one hot shower taken by a weary, grubby visitor means the destruction of three trees); or distorted development in Third World countries; or the power of global corporations to commodify otherwise untouched small places; or visitors’ own personal impact, as tourists.
Recalling and recounting personalised places and events: this is how humans construct the sequence of events in their lives, and ‘progress’ from where they were before (for example, before travel), to where who they are now (worldly, sophisticated global consumers). Continuity depends on memory of past experiences. One’s life history, much of it deliberately constructed, forms one’s identity. Adventure tourism via global travel is a tactic that helps fulfil this” (p.11).
Edensor, Tim (2000). Walking in the British countryside: Reflexivity, embodied practices and ways to escape. Body & Society 6(3-4): 81-106.
“What could be more natural than a stroll in the countryside? The air is fresh, the body realizes its sensual capacities as it strains free from the chains of urban living, and our over-socialized identities are revealed as superficial in an epiphany of self-realization.”
“Although the most fundamental and seemingly ‘natural’ mode of transport for us bipeds, walking is informed by various performative norms and values which produce distinct praxes and dispositions.”
“the rise of excursive walking in the Romantic era is part of the development of modern corporeal reflexivity.”
“Like many other everyday physical enactions, walking is often an unreflexive and habitual practice which unintentionally imparts conventions concerning the ‘appropriateness’ of bodily demeanour, but which is not wholly determined by cultural norms.”
“The sensual experiences of a walk in the country may be lingered over due to the pace of travel and the relatively slow speed of things moving past.”
“Walking is a way of being in the world that combines an experience of the sensual, the serendipitous and the irruptive body during a passage among a material nature.”
Ingold, Tim (2004). Culture on the ground: The world perceived through the feet. Journal of Material Culture 9(3): 315-40.
“A more grounded approach to human movement, sensitive to embodied skills of footwork, opens up new terrain in the study of environmental perception, the history of technology, landscape formation and human anatomical evolution.”
“The ‘sitting society’ to which we are so accustomed today is largely a phenomenon of the last 200 years.”
“Between them, the boot and the chair establish a technological foundation for the separation of thought from action and of mind from body – that is for the fundamental groundlessness so characteristic of modern metropolitan dwelling.”
“A more literally grounded approach to perception should help to restore touch to its proper place in the balance of the senses. For it is surely through our feet, in contact with the ground (albeit mediated by footwear), that we are most fundamentally and continually ‘in touch’ with our surroundings.”
“Locomotion, not cognition, must be the starting point for the study of perceptual activity.”
“Through walking, in short, landscapes are woven into life, and lives are woven into the landscape, in a process that is continuous and never-ending.”
Jensen, Ole B. & Phillip Vannini (2016). Blue Sky Matters: Towards an (In-Flight) Understanding of the Sensuousness of Mobilities Design. Transfers 6(2): 23-42.
“Few social constructions are taken at greater face value than the prototypically Western notion that the human body possesses five senses. Were indeed more people aware of the existence of other senses such as […] — the kinesthetic sense (our body’s perception of its movement in space), calls for the investigation of the sensory underpinnings of mobility would by now be fully unnecessary. And yet, kinesthesia, despite its history as a research field in the life sciences, remains a badly underestimated topic even within the growingly diverse realm of mobility studies” (p.23).
Lund, Katrín (2012). Landscapes and narratives: Compositions and the walking body. Landscape Research 37(2): 225-37.
“Landscapes are narrated through the activity of walking.”
“The materiality of the landscape is shaped through the movement of walking, not prior to it.”
“From the perspective of those who dwell in them, landscapes are woven together by a plethora of narratives although their characteristics make them different from those of places. These characteristics are shaped by the way in which landscapes extend themselves beyond all spatiotemporal horizons and into unknown territories in a way which goes beyond place dynamics.”
“The paths and routes that the wandering feet follow shape stories as they direct the walks, and are simultaneously shaped during the course of the walk. Different narratives provide a different ambience and each has its own character.”
“The different compositions reflect on walking as a process of becoming in the attempt to locate oneself within the world as a connection and disconnection between internal and external. Thus, my claim is that walking is always an act of exploration, either consciously or unconsciously, because walking is as much about exploring oneself as exploring the surroundings.”
Mann, Robert (n.d.) About parkrun (website homepage: www.parkrun.com)
” This research will be academically grounded within Richard Shipway’s (2008) typology of the ‘distance running social world’, as adapted from David Unruh’s (1980) original classification of the generic social world.
Research Rationale: As a community led initiative, parkrun is often praised by various institutions (i.e. British Athletics) for it’s [sic] contribution to distance running participation levels in the UK. However, there is little qualitative evidence to justify whether parkrun is successfully promoting a deepened involvement within the ‘distance running social world’, as a whole, or simply creating a participatory ‘bubble’ away from the traditional elements of the given social world.
It is hoped that the outcome of this small-scale case study research will provide a localised ‘snapshot’ into how parkrun opens up pathways to participation within the ‘distance running social world’, if at all, and provide a basis for further research to be conducted within this academic field “.
Shipway, Richard & Immy Holloway (2010). Running free: Embracing a healthy lifestyle through distance running. Perspective in Public Health. 30 (6) 270-76.
Sport and leisure activity contribute to both health and quality of life. There is a dearth of qualitative studies on the lived experiences of active people, so the aim of this paper is to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of one particular group of active leisure participants, distance runners, and to highlight the associated health and well-being benefits that result from participating in this increasingly popular form of active leisure. In doing so, this paper will briefly explore the potential opportunities and implications for sport and leisure policy and provision, and highlight examples of how distance running could positively contribute towards government objectives linked to tackling obesity levels, healthy living and physical well-being. It is suggested that similar benefits also exist across other forms of physical activity, exercise and sport. Qualitative methods of enquiry were adopted to understand the nature of the social world of long distance runners through interviews and observations, which were thematically analyzed. One of the key themes emerging from the data was the desire to embrace a healthy lifestyle, which then led to the emergence of four main sub-themes. The first was linked to the importance of seeking self-esteem and confirmation through running; second, an investigation of a selection of negative aspects associated with exercise addiction; third, the need to exercise among sport and leisure participants; and finally, an understanding of the concept of the ‘running body’. Cautionary notes also identified negative aspects associated with exercise and physical activity. The findings highlight the potential role that distance running can play as an easily accessible and enjoyable leisure activity, one that can help facilitate increased participation in exercise and physical activity as an integral part of an active and healthy lifestyle.