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Mapping the relational construction of people and places

Donnelly, Michael; Gamsu, Sol; Whewall, Sam

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Michael Donnelly

Sam Whewall


A new method is proposed here aimed at eliciting the mechanisms which maintain the relational positioning of people and places within social space. This ‘mapping tool’ is inherently relational by design and involves participants creating visual representations of their geographic imaginaries, encompassing their perceptions and preferences of different localities. This is followed by an interviewing approach wherein participants ‘speak to’ their map, producing ‘thick’ narratives detailing the ties that bind people and places. The method was developed and used as part of a 3-year study into the geographic imaginaries of young people in the UK, involving the collection of 1,000 maps, together with over 200 interviews, across 20 diverse localities. We draw on empirical examples of using the method from this study, including processes of differentiation within the middle classes and the place-based identities of towns, cities and localities.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Sep 18, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2021
Journal International Journal of Social Research Methodology
Print ISSN 1364-5579
Electronic ISSN 1464-5300
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 91-108
Public URL


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