Walking in the historic neighbourhoods of Beijing : walking as an embodied encounter with heritage and urban developments
Summary, in English
This article explores walking both as a methodological device, paying close attention to the ethnographer’s own positionality and experiences, and as a form of embodied and emplaced experience of and with heritage sites and urban changes. Walking is an important aspect of how people engage with and experience heritage that draws attention to its emplaced, performative and transformative qualities. Walking, furthermore, is a useful method for researchers to gain insights into a neighbourhood and its heritage, and to the diverse walking practices among different groups of residents and tourists during the heritagization process. City developments and heritigization do not only change modes of walking but may also stimulate more conscious forms of walking, including what has been referred to as conceptual walking, that engages with and/or challenges these developments. The paper engages with recent work on walking within different disciplines, including urban studies, geography, and cultural studies, that highlight its multi-sensory nature. The article builds on the author’s own diverse walks in a neighbourhood in the centre of Beijing where she lived 2009–2011, and in other parts of Beijing. These walks included both everyday walks and organized walks with activists and artists.