Qualitative Researcher, 12 pp 1-2
Mobile methods, and in particular walking methodologies, are increasingly adopted by researchers wishing to engage with ideas of place and identity. Walking is a fundamental practice in our social lives, and it has also been a common method adopted in much anthropological and, increasingly, sociological fieldwork (Lee and Ingold, 2006). Such approaches are underpinned by the notion that, through walking with participants, the landscape also becomes active in the conversation. The rhythm of the walk offers engagements and disengagements, a mass of encounters, diversions and disruptions. The motion, commotion and distractions are productive in the sharing of intimate narratives, as conversations meander at the pace of the walk, leading to unhurried sharing of narratives. These research encounters are ‘rooted’ in the everyday, yet the walks open up avenues for the exploration of memories and imagined futures. The bodily experience of walking means that the rhythms of the walk, of the movement, permeate the encounter, shaping the way the research interaction occurs. Conversation ebbs and flows, and pauses are filled with the movement and the distractions that appear; topics rise and fall, attention shifts and wanes as the temporal and spatial stretches out in front and behind. The five articles comprising this issue pay attention to the coingredience of walking, talking, and landscape in various ways and describe the different forms that such methodological walks may take.