Spinney J, 2006, "A place of sense: a kinaesthetic ethnography of cyclists on Mont Ventoux" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24(5) 709 – 732
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A place of sense: a kinaesthetic ethnography of cyclists on Mont Ventoux
Received 2 August 2004; in revised form 3 February 2005
Abstract. In this paper I explore the notion that our movements in and through a place define our engagement with it and help to constitute it as a place. Concepts and concomitant interpretations of place as a ‘situated’ and contemplative experience have to date received much cultural geographical attention. In increasingly mobile societies, however, I argue that mobility should be central to the ways in which we conceptualise and understand the character and meanings of different spaces and places. Although geographical exploration has begun concerning the politics and power relations of the mobile subject, little attention has yet been paid to the experiences and spatialities generative of the body-subject in mobility. Whilst acknowledging the importance of representations in directing action, I strategically emphasise and explore the notion that we create meaning and belong in a place according to how we are in a place. Drawing upon ethnographic work with racing and touring cyclists in the United Kingdom and France, I consider how the conjoining of the person and bike and the resulting embodied rhythms and kinaesthetic sensations of the movement of cycling are constitutive of the character and meanings of particular places. Ultimately, in this paper I point to an understanding of the kinaesthetic and sensuous experiences of the hybrid subject – object (in this instance ‘the cyclist’) as fundamental in rethinking how people live, feel, and ultimately create meaningful spatial relations.
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