Bridger, Alexander J. (2009) Situationism, Psychogeography and the Study of Place: ‘Radicalising’ Psychological Research Methods. In: School of Human and Health Sciences Research Open Day 2009, 27th March 2009, Huddersfield, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper will focus on the analysis of maps and cities and I will discuss situationist concepts of psychogeography, detournement and the dérive (Debord, 1958). Places are a type of discursive text and Barnes and Duncan’s (1992: 5) arguments are drawn on to expand textual analysis to encompass other representations such as ‘paintings, maps and landscapes’. Maps are particularly important objects of analysis because they represent ‘beliefs about the way the world should be’ and what counts as ‘truth’ (Harley, 1988: 290). Psychogeography is the study and critique of the changing form of cities. Detournement is used as a reflexive resource to question the ways in which places can be mapped and classified. Dérives are where one or more individuals divert from the ordinary ways in which they would go from ‘a’ to ‘b’ and where they let themselves be drawn towards particular places (Debord, 1958). In this research, walking is used as an autoethnographic reflexive practice to analyse the relations of power in places. There is currently scant research in psychology which attends to how places can be analysed using qualitative methodologies, except for critical psychological research done by Burnett et al. (2004), Grup de Lesbianes Feministes (2005) and Precarias a la Deriva (2005). I will explain how three analytical tools can be used in psychogeographical research in psychology: narrative dérive accounts, photographs and detourned maps. I will use the example of previous fieldwork research at Ground Zero, New York to develop the conceptual basis to this theoretical work.

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