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Public realm ethnography: (non-)participation, co-presence and the challenge of situated multiplicity

Jones, Alasdair ORCID: 0000-0002-4933-4023 (2021) Public realm ethnography: (non-)participation, co-presence and the challenge of situated multiplicity. Urban Studies, 58 (2). 425 - 440. ISSN 1742-1759

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0042098020904261


Against the backdrop of abstract accounts of a variety of processes associated with the ‘end of public space’ (disneyfication, commodification, privatisation, gentrification, securitisation and so on), the last few decades have witnessed a marked growth in ethnographic accounts of the production, meaning and experience of urban public spaces. Methodologically, studying these dimensions of public space ethnographically poses clear challenges for how researchers design and conduct their fieldwork: practically, how can fieldworkers participate in a socio-spatial context typically characterised by ‘situated multiplicity’ (Amin A (2008) Collective culture and urban public space. City 12(1): 5–24) and co-presence with strangers? Moreover, what do researchers do when there are no core group activities, institutional roles or (sub-)cultural practices to participate in? With these questions in mind, I first seek to review the practical fieldwork techniques used by ethnographers interested in studying the urban public realm. I then use this review to synthesise and distil a set of four interlinked fieldwork heuristics for public realm ethnography.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2020 Urban Studies Journal Limited
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 14:27
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:29

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