Talking sensory life into being while moving –sensobiographic walking as a method

10:00, Thursday 6 May 2021 (30 minutes)
Helmi Järviluoma, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Sensobiographic walking is in a way mobile life writing. It talks sensory life into being while moving. In this presentation, I begin by offering my “listening point” on the development of this method. I will recount how a distinctive ethnographic methodology emerged within Finnish soundscape studies in the late 1980s in Tampere as a crossbreeding of (1) new efficient ethnomusicological field research training, (2) emergent popular music studies, and (3) ethnomethodological sociology. Secondly, I am focusing on the method as a culmination in a series of attempts to chase the ever-elusive phenomena related to sensory remembering, together with my colleagues. Sensobiographic walking offers a plethora of possibilities for researching the embodied and site-specific production of sensory remembering and experiences. This particular format was developed for the large European Research Council funded project, Sensory Transformations in Europe between 1950--2020 (SENSOTRA), which I am currently leading. The aim of this project is to study transgenerational environmental relationships by engaging participant pairs composed of different generations. In the paper, I offer concrete examples of the ways that we have used the method, reflecting on its usability in sensory studies.

University of Eastern Finland
Professor of Cultural Studies