1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography

Edited By Phillip Vannini Copyright 2024
    498 Pages 9 Color & 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    498 Pages 9 Color & 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography reviews and expands the field and scope of sensory ethnography by fostering new links among sensory, affective, more-than-human, non-representational, and multimodal sensory research traditions and composition styles. From writing and film to performance and sonic documentation, the handbook reimagines the boundaries of sensory ethnography and posits new possibilities for scholarship conducted through the senses and for the senses. 

    Sensory ethnography is a transdisciplinary research methodology focused on the significance of all the senses in perceiving, creating, and conveying meaning. Drawing from a wide variety of strategies that involve the senses as a means of inquiry, objects of study, and forms of expression, sensory ethnography has played a fundamental role in the contemporary evolution of ethnography writ large as a reflexive, embodied, situated, and multimodal form of scholarship. The handbook dwells on subjects like the genealogy of sensory ethnography, the implications of race in ethnographic inquiry, opening up ethnographic practice to simulate the future, using participatory sensory ethnography for disability studies, the untapped potential of digital touch, and much more.

    This is the most definitive reference text available on the market and is intended for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers in anthropology, sociology, and the social sciences, and will serve as a state-of-the-art resource for sensory ethnographers worldwide.

    1. The qualities of the “new” sensory ethnography: an introduction - Phillip Vannini

    PART 1: Sensory ethnography: pasts, presents, and futures

    2. The rise of sense-based social inquiry: a genealogy of sensory ethnography - David Howes

    3. Ethnography and the sounds of everyday life - Michael Bull

    4. Knowing through the racialized senses - Sachi Sekimoto and Christopher Brown

    5. Getting a grip on new objects, technologies, and sensations through aura, presence, and mimesis - Mark Paterson

    6. Sensory degradation and somatic labor: critical sensory ethnography for hypermodern times - Simon Gottschalk

    7. Sensory futures ethnography: sensing at the edge of the future - Sarah Pink

    PART 2: The practice of sensory ethnography

    8. Awareness, focus and nuance: reflexivity and reflective embodiment in sensory ethnography - John Hockey and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

    9. Sensing the city: multi-sensory participant observation and urban ethnography - Cristina Moretti

    10. Talking about felt spaces: on vagueness and clarity in interviews - Mikkel Bille

    11. Participatory sensory ethnography: a collaborative methodology for understanding everyday journeys of disabled people - Gordon Waitt and Theresa Harada

    12. Sensory explorations of digital touch: tactile apprenticeship with new industrial robots - Ned Barker and Carey Jewitt

    13. Political, economic, and relational production of sense: negotiating sensory inequality and access in research on cochlear implantation in India - Michele Friedner

    PART 3: Sensuous and atmospheric ethnography

    14. Re-sensing the sensory: evoking the senses in a troubled world - Paul Stoller

    15. Elemental - Kathleen Stewart

    16. Sensuous geographies of “foot mobilities’”: comparing running with walking - Jonas Larsen

    17. Constellations of (sensual) relations: space, atmosphere, and sensory design - Erin Lynch

    18. Feeling helium - Marina Peterson

    19. Playful sensuous pedagogies: observations and reflections on teaching sensual ethnography - Dennis Waskul

    PART 4: More-than-human sensory ethnography

    20. Towards a multisensorial engagement with animals - Natasha Fijn and Muhammad Kavesh

    21. Sensing the cloud: research creation as sensory anthropology - Kate Hennessy, Trudi Lynn Smith, Steve DiPaola, and Amineh Ahmadi Nejad

    22. Beyond the human: a sensory ethnographer’s gaze on sportfishing practice - Vesa Markuksela

    23. Sensing dirty matter: sensory ethnography as a more-than-human approach to urban inequalities - Elisa Fiore

    24. Resonance: engaging with the more-than-human through Ladakhi soundworlds - Chris Wright

    25. Sensory engagements with lively data: attuning to the convivialities of more-than-human worlds - Deborah Lupton, Ash Watson and Vaughan Wozniak-O’Connor

    PART 5: Non-representational sensory ethnography

    26. Sound walks - Tim Ingold

    27. Defamiliarizing the sensory - Tim Edensor

    28. Sensing the afterlife: multisensorial ethnography and injured minds - Michelle Charette and Denielle Elliott

    29. Staging unmemorials, being haunted: the grievability of Japanese sex workers in the transpacific underground - Ayaka Yoshimizu

    30. Non-representational sensory ethnography: creation, attention, and correspondence - Phillip Vannini and April Vannini

    31. Sensing scenes: doing sensory ethnography in queer space and time - Kerryn Drysdale and Jan Filmer

    PART 6: Multi-modal sensory ethnography

    32. Learning to see, or how to make sense of the skillful things skateboarders do - Sander Hölsgens

    33. The sound remains: archiving the senses - Rupert Cox and Junko Konishi

    34. Multisensory storytelling: inciting polyvocal polemics in applied ethnography - Beth A Uzwiak

    35. Reframing deafness: vision as fieldwork method and documentary art - Andrew Irving

    36. Representing sensory culture, enacting community: The “Full English” - Alex Rhys-Taylor

    37. Sensory verité: the intersection of sensory ethnography, sensory biophilia, and cinema vérité - Kathy Kasic

    38. Epilogue - Anna Harris



    Phillip Vannini is Professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University (Canada). He is the author/editor of 20 books, and from 2010 to 2020 he was the series editor for Routledge’s Innovative Ethnographies Series. Phillip’s documentary films have been distributed worldwide through television, in movie theaters, as well as through SVOD platforms such as Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Kanopy, and more.

    "This is a pivotal volume that invites readers to immerse themselves in the bountiful landscape of sensory ethnography before offering a host of possibilities for its future development as a unique, and crucial, way of knowing about the lifeworlds we collectively inhabit. All ethnographers and qualitative researchers will gain immensely from dwelling within the pages of this beautifully crafted and thought-provoking book".

    -Andrew C. Sparkes, Leeds Beckett University, UK


    "Readers should be warned that an avalanche of sensorial vibrations will travel through their veins as they dive into this stellar compilation, which places in conversation the 'giants' of sensory ethnography. Our contemporary world starves for caring and meaningful relations. Sensory ethnography responds to this need, and this volume tells us why". 

    -Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, University of Victoria, Canada


    "A vital collection of works that will be an instant classic. Under Vannini’s editorship the handbook achieves remarkable coverage and depth.  Not only is his introduction a masterful orientation to the essays inside but it establishes clearly and powerfully that this is an essential resource for anyone interested in ethnography".

    -Craig Campbell, University of Texas, Austin, USA