Short Essay : Walking On Walking, By Stephen Hester And David Francis

Short Essay : Walking On Walking, By Stephen Hester And David Francis

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For most people, especially those who live in the city or suburbs, walking appears to be a mundane every day activity that people use as a form of locomotion to travel from point A to point B, in order to make places accessible and traverse the environment. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent to the everyday sociologist that incidental walking can also be a way of understanding and interpreting the social world when walking in an everyday sense. Alternatively, walking is also a way of life that some people have little or no choice in, and is a method to create stories and produce meaning within the walking they do. This essay will compare and contrast two research articles on walking and argue that this form of locomotion has an increasingly important role for sociology as it allows one to gain a different perspective find meaning from the bottom up.
The first article produced by Stephen Hester and David Francis (2003) is called “analysing the visually available mundane order”. The authors, Stephen Hester and David Francis, conducted a walking audio commentary to their local supermarket. They justify their interest in walking by discussing and analysing the ethnomethodology of walking. Ethnomethodology is defined in this essay as an approach to conducting research in the human sciences founded by Harold Garfinkel and defined as the ‘methods’ that people use to establish and maintain inter subjective understanding (Stahl , 2012, p, 22). In other words, this method of sociological research provides an understanding of the social orders people use to make sense of the world through analysing their accounts and descriptions of their day to day experiences. Predominately, this research method is conducted through observatio...


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...ey performed as a daily activity. These pictures were taken to convey the meaning behind each mode, including walking, as means, as condition and as occasion (Radley, Chamberlain, et al, 2010).
The point of why Radley, Chamberlain, et al (2010) chose photography as their main methodology as opposed to other methods is because it allowed the participants to capture important moments in their daily routine and create a story based on these pictures (Radley, Chamberlain, et al, 2010). Asking homeless people to take pictures involved them in walking to chosen locations. In the course of talking about their photographs, subsequently, they revealed the different ways in which walking figures in their lives. This process took two forms. First there was the walking as part of their picture production then how the participants took the pictures and made a story about them.

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