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Ways of Seeing, Ways of Being and Ways of Knowing in the Inner-City: Exploring Sense of Place Through Visual Tours
By: Magali Peyrefitte, Volume 17 (4)
Abstract: This paper presents an innovative insight into the complexities of the ways in which sense of place can be expressed and experienced. It particularly focuses on the phenomenological rapport participants have to the physicality of place and how it impacts on their ways of being, ways of seeing and on the construction of a sense of place (ways of knowing). In doing so it makes a case for conducting visual tours. Here I present the methodological framework that structured this approach and I give examples of how it can work. The narrative of this paper is constructed around three accounts of three different visual tours that were conducted in inner-city Nottingham. I argue that visual tours result in the combination of four types of intersecting narratives that give extra dimensions to the process of exploring ways of seeing and ways of being in the city: 1. the narrative of walking, 2. the visual narrative, 3. the narrative of the conversation in-situ 4. and finally the narrative of the written account by the researcher. All of these narratives are constitutive and constructive of a sense of place. In the case of my research on British Asian suburbanisation in Nottingham, these intersecting narratives brought to light a series of points on ways of seeing and ways of being and overall on ways of knowing the city. It highlighted a sense of place constructed around paradoxes, dichotomies and overall contrasted visions of the inner city where participants used to live and the suburbs of desirable housing where they now live. These kinds of observations are essential in understanding the way mobility and movements operate in the 'multicultural city'.