Research with the Moving, the Vivacious Many
A Practical Poetry of Paces in More-Than-Human Worlds
Keywords:More-than-human, multispecies methodologies, walking, animals, dog, donkey
This paper addresses the methodological question of how researchers can meaningfully and ethically include non-human beings not only as research subjects or informants, but as active participants in the research process. Following a review of relevant existing more-than-human and multispecies methodologies, we recognise that non-human beings are already part of academia, yet their capacity to actively shape research remains largely unaccounted for. We engage Springgay and Truman’s (2018) practice of ‘walking-with’ as a methodological approach for bringing non-human beings into the research process, developing what we call ‘a practical poetry of paces’ as a contribution to this work. We illustrate its application in two different ‘fieldwalks’ – with a donkey in North Kenya and a dog on Canvey Island in the UK – focusing on the absences that can thus be made present, as well as the types of relational engagement this mode of conducting research engenders. We conclude with ethical considerations about the impossibility of dismantling power relations between human and non-human beings and its implications for the ethicality of conducting research with non-human collaborators.
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