Qualitative Researcher, 12 pp 3-5
Recently, social scientists have increasingly been seeking analytical purchase on the mobile nature of everyday life (Buscher, Urry & Witchger forthcoming; Buscher & Urry 2009; Ek & Hultman 2008; Ross, Renold, Holland & Hillman 2009) and the performativity of social action (Crang 2005; Cresswell 2002; Lorimer 2005; Thrift and Dewsbury 2000). The purpose of this paper is to contribute to these wider methodological concerns with how spatial practices are embodied and practiced through a reflection on walking not only as an object of study, but as a method of research. The paper does this through a consideration of the approach to ethnographic research that Jon Anderson (2004) terms ‘talking whilst walking’ (TWW). This is done within the context of my ongoing doctoral research into group walking practices and subjective well-being. The paper is organised around a consideration of how walking together with participants enables insights into the social dynamics of group walking and the importance of social relations for the ‘restorative experience’. I begin by introducing and discussing my reasons for adopting the ‘TWW’ approach. Then I move on to discuss one finding in detail, which is that the social dynamics of walking together are shaped by how the physical activity impacts upon styles of interaction between people.