Rhythms of walking: history and presence in a city street

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This article draws on Lefebvre’s notion of rhythm to contribute to the theorization of embodied space and urban experience. Through gestures (learned and patterned movements), the body gathers together material and social relations in the street and produces rhythms that the ethnographer can listen to and take part in. In the article, the temporality of walking, combining past, present and future, is used to incorporate the history of a particular street in Aberdeen, Scotland, into an analysis of the walking practices of those who use it. Temporal “presence” is suggested as a mode of ethnography appropriate to shared walking, and by which both the familiar and the hidden or mysterious aspects of urban walking can be described. By engaging both with ordinary walking and more distinctive practices, the article shows how the ways that people walk in the street become part of local politics and social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-388
Number of pages13
JournalSpace and Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • walking
  • rhythms
  • history
  • presence
  • Aberdeen


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