Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Environment, Education and Development|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Everyday life is characterised ‘by ambiguities, instabilities and equivocation’ (Highmore 2002, 17), and geographers have a long interest in the spaces, relationships and practices that configure and are configured by the everyday. Everyday geographies is a field of exciting and innovative literatures and methodologies, whereby the mundane, the familiar and the ordinary are an area of significant geographical debate. Indeed, it is in everyday life that issues of power, inequality, and inter-sectionality are played out, lived and experienced - and contested. In particular, the course will explore issues such as gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and age, as just some of the ways in which to understand and unpack everyday geographies. We'll be looking at the spatial, relational, material, enacted and emotional elements of everyday life, as well as how to study and interpret everyday geographies. To do this, we will draw on ideas, concepts and critiques from social and cultural theory, and from feminist, queer, post-structural and post-colonial geographies. As well as exploring academic ways of thinking about and studying the everyday, there will also be many moments when you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your own everyday lives.
To introduce ways of studying everyday geographies through social and cultural concepts and methods
To explore a range of everyday spaces, practices and relationships from a geographical perspective
To provide opportunities to link theoretical debates with real life examples
To encourage critical reflection on your own everyday geographies
To provide an opportunity to learn about and experiment with social and cultural methods and analysis as preparation for dissertation research
To develop a range of transferable skills including problem solving, the ability to critique ideas and debates presented in classes, discussions and in academic literature, and analytical skills
By the end of this module and the assessment you should:
- Be able to identify the value of everyday life as a field of geographical interest and research
- Understand the nature of the sub-disciplines of social and cultural geographies and the main theoretical debates and methodological approaches within the field
- Have an awareness of the diversity of societies and how different social groups experience and construct everyday spaces, relationships and practices in a range of ways
- Have developed skills in researching the real world, and in linking theoretical debates to the real world, including your own everyday lives
Seminar: Welcome workshop: Boys from the Blackstuff
Lecture: An Introduction to Everyday Geographies
Seminar: Representing everyday geographies: Lowry visit and guided talk
Lecture: Everyday spaces, relationships and practices: ideas and approaches
Seminar: Everyday geographies: key concepts and literatures
Lecture: Methods for researching everyday life
Seminar: Auto-ethnography workshop - method
Lecture: Everyday spaces: home and work
Seminar: Auto-ethnography workshop - theory
Lecture: Everyday spaces: the street and the neighbourhood
Seminar: Reading group: key concepts so far
Lecture: Everyday relationships: families and kinship
Seminar: Coursework drop-in [optional]
Lecture: Everyday relationships: friendships and encounters *essays due*
Seminar: Social relationships, participatory methods?
Lecture: Everyday practices: cooking, cleaning and caring
Seminar: Policy in practice: the Chancellor's Budget
Lecture: Everyday practices: the personal is the political
Seminar: Exam practice workshop
Lecture: Concluding, recapping and revision
Teaching and learning methods
Everyday Geographies will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Each of the teaching weeks will involve both a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar, including discussion, debates, role playing, trying and testing methods, films and an on-campus tour.
You will be required to undertake work in both peer study groups and individually outside of lectures. Lecture slides, reading lists and other materials to support the course will be available through the Blackboard pages. You will be expected to contribute fully to lecture and seminar discussions and activities, to online discussions via Blackboard, and to read articles and chapters.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
This course will provide you with skills in:
· Critical thinking and reflection
· Self awareness and a sense of responsibility
· Motivation and self-directed learning
· Awareness of the issues facing contemporary societies
· An ability to plan, carry out and reflect on fieldwork
· An ability to assess the merits of contrasting theories and approaches
· An ability to assess the merits of different methodologies
· An ability to relate theoretical arguments with empirical research and real-life examples
· Reflection upon personal experiences and their significance to the task in hand
· Information handling skills, evaluation and analysis of different kinds of evidence
You will be assessed by a two-hour exam paper (worth 60%) and one piece of individual coursework, a 2000 word essay (40%).
Coursework assignment: submission – by 2pm on Friday of Week 8.
For the coursework you will be required to write up an ethnographic diary of your experience of an everyday space. You are then required to analyse this diary entry in essay format, using literature on everyday geographies theories and methods. You will be required to submit both your diary entry and your analytical essay. Only the text of the analytical essay will contribute to the 2000 max word count.
Please note: the timing of the coursework submission has been arranged so that you have time to speak to the course leader over the first few weeks of the course and to have the first study week (in week 6) to work on your coursework. You will also have attended the necessary lectures (in weeks 1-5) to complete the coursework. It also means that you will receive feedback on your essay before sitting the exam, and you can spend the weeks after coursework submission preparing for the exam.
Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:
- extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interaction within lectures and seminars
- verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours
- on-going peer feedback through seminar participation
- detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment
This course encourages you to think and read in an interdisciplinary way and to use ideas, materials and methods from a wide variety of disciplines. This includes books such as:
Bennett, T. and Watson, D. (eds.) (2002) Understanding Everyday Life, Blackwell: Oxford.
Blunt, A. and Dowling, R. (2006) Home, Oxon: Routledge.
Crang, M. and Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies, London: Sage.
Devault, M. (1991) Feeding the family: the social organisation of caring as gendered work, London: The University of Chicago Press.
Highmore, B. (2002) Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction, London: Routledge.
Highmore, B. (2010) Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday, Routledge: London.
Holloway, L. and Hubbard, P. (2000) People and Place: The Extraordinary Geographies of Everyday Life, Routledge: London
Holdsworth, C. (2013) Families and Intimate Mobilities, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Miller, D. (1998) A Theory of Shopping, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Pink, S. (2012) Situating Everyday Life, Sage: London.
Rose, G. (1993) Feminism and Geography: the limits of geographical knowledge, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Scott, S. (2009) Making Sense of Everyday Life, Polity Press: Cambridge
Shurmer-Smith, P. (Ed.) Doing Cultural Geography, London: Sage
Valentine, G. (2001) Social Geographies: Space and Society, Harlow: Prentice Hall.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Sarah Hall||Unit coordinator|