Researching spatial practices through Commentated Walks: “on the move” and “walking with”

Abstract : Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore how the combination of a qualitative shadowing method called "Commentated Walk" and an ethnographic approach, can be used to analyze the spatial dimension of practices, when space is considered as a co-construction and as an active dimension of individual and collective practices. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The approach is ethnographic and the empirical field work concerns the coordination in ephemeral organizations intended to manage emergent phenomena: the social "problems" often named "urban incivilities," which occur in public and semi-public spaces in some suburban areas in France and are recurrent. Findings ‐ In these organizations, space appears to be part of individual and collective practices, and a key resource for coordination. Shared "spaces of action" between inhabitants and local institutions contribute to coordination. As a method of data collection, Commentated Walks offer relevant insight into how actors "deal with space" in their day-to-day life or their professional practices. Walking with while talking with ‐ the method's principals ‐ make it possible to capture the materiality of problematic spaces as well as the feelings that the space inspires. Research limitations/implications ‐ The use of this method is still exploratory. In further research, it would be interesting to consider such Commentated Walks in other organizational contexts, in order to explore different ways of "dealing with" space and different types of spatial competencies that people develop in using space as a resource. Originality/value ‐ This paper proposes an original combination of methodological approaches which allows us to grasp the formation of spatial practices.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 10:41:28 AM
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Nathalie Raulet-Croset, Anni Borzeix. Researching spatial practices through Commentated Walks: “on the move” and “walking with”. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Emerald Publishing, 2014, 3 (1), pp.27-42. ⟨halshs-01999533⟩

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