New paper forthcoming: Ecologies of Experience

I’ve just received news that my paper ‘Ecologies of Experience: Materiality, sociality, and the embodied experience of (street) performing’ has been fully accepted for publication in Environment and Planning A.

This paper has had quite a long gestation, having its seeds in my PhD thesis/comments made by John Wylie in my viva. I actually presented a very early version of it at the AAG in 2009 in Washington, but then forgot about it for a while amid job moves and new teaching commitments. I then rediscovered it on my hard drive, mulled it over for a while, read more and reworked it, sent it to colleagues for comment, and finally presented significantly revised versions at seminars in Geography at Oxford and Exeter at the end of last year, before submitting it to E&PA.

If anyone would like a ‘pre-proof’ version of the paper, let me know and I can send one on.

The abstract for the paper is:

Recently a range of relational approaches have established themselves in many arenas of geographical thought. Insights have been drawn in from post-structural philosophy and social theory to decentre the human subject and consider agency in a more distributed way. Within such work, amongst references to networks, rhizomes, assemblages, and the like, the term ‘ecology’ has at times been employed to refer to such relationally. However, the implications of its use and the specific value of the term in thinking about relationality have not yet been fully considered. Therefore, this paper articulates an ‘ecological approach’ to the study of the embodied practices. The significance of such an approach is expressed in terms of its ability to pay attention to the co-constitutive relatedness of practices and the social-cultural-material environments in which they take place. This is articulated in the paper in three main ways: 1) by drawing attention to the sheer complexity and singularity of relatedness; 2) by reflecting on connections with, and the status of, human and non-human entities in the playing out of practices; and 3) by considering the structuring of affective relations and the context in which practices take place. This is illustrated in the paper in relation to the practice of street performance and the intertwining of both the more concrete ‘material’ aspects of the street space (architecture, benches, people), and its less concrete, but still materially significant, aspects (meteorological-atmospheres, felt-ambiences, not physically present regulative formations), with the performer in the playing out of this practice.

 Key words: Ecology, Experience, Relational geographies, Materiality, Affect, Performance, Practice.

About Paul Simpson

I am currently a lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University. I've previously lectured at Plymouth University, and again at Keele before that. I completed my PhD (titled 'Ecologies of Street Performance: Bodies, Affects, Politics') at the University of Bristol in 2009.
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