Spatial Bricolage

SPATIAL BRICOLAGE: Methodological Eclecticism & the Poetics of 'Making Do'

Special issue of Humanities

Edited by Les Roberts (2017, in preparation)



For special issue information see:

CALL FOR PAPERS (*deadline 1 July 2017*)


This is a proposal for a Special Issue of the journal Humanities, on the theme of ‘Spatial Bricolage’: the art and poetics of ‘making do’ (de Certeau 1984: xv) in spatial humanities research. Expanding on themes explored in an earlier Humanities Special Issue on ‘Deep Mapping’ (Roberts 2015/16), this follow-up collection places firmer emphasis on questions of method: the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ that variously informs the doing of deep mapping and spatial anthropology. Provisionally organized around the twin concepts of cultural bricolage and the researcher/practitioner as bricoleur, this Special Issue aims to collate and provoke critical discussion trained on spatial bricolage as an interdisciplinary (or ‘undisciplined’) nexus of practices and pick-and-mix methods. Claude Lévi-Strauss described bricolage as ‘[the making] do with “whatever is at hand”… [; to address oneself] to a collection of oddments left over from human endeavours’ (2004: 17, 19). If eclecticism informs a deep mapping practice increasingly oriented around the embodied and embedded researcher, then it is one that correspondingly finds its creative expression in the art and poetics of ‘making do’. As a ‘maker of quilts’, or, as in filmmaking, ‘a person who assembles images into montages’ (Denzin and Lincoln 2011: 4), the researcher-as-bricoleur makes do insofar as what it is she or he is ‘mapping’ is recast as a representational and affective assemblage. In the same way that calls for a ‘more artful and crafty’ sociology are underwritten by a push towards more ‘open methods’ in the social sciences (Back and Puwar 2012: 9), approaches in the interdisciplinary field of spatial and geo-humanities strive to embrace a methodological eclecticism adaptable to the qualitative dynamics of experiential, performative or ‘non-representational’ (Vannini 2015) geographies of place. Engaging with deep mapping ‘in all its messy, inclusive glory’ (Scherf 2015: 343), contributions for this Spatial Bricolage Special Issue are therefore sought from a wide range of fields that address questions that speak to issues of methodological eclecticism in spatial/geo-humanities research. Papers are especially welcome that examine the role of autoethnographic methods and practices, performance and gonzo ethnography, digital methods, or which address some of the ethical questions and constraints thrown up in relation to urban cultural bricolage as a mode of critical spatial research within the academy.




Back, L, and N Puwar. “A Manifesto for Live Methods: Provocations and Capacities.” In Live Methods. Edited by L. Back and N. Puwar. Oxford: Blackwell, 2012.


Bodenhamer, D. J., J. Corrigan, and T. M. Harris, eds. Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.


de Certeau, M. The Practice of Everyday Life. London: University of California Press, 1984.


Denzin, N. K., and Y. S. Lincoln. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: SAGE, 2011.


Lévi-Strauss, C. The Savage Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.


Scherf, K. “Beyond the Brochure: An Unmapped Journey into Deep Mapping.” In Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry. Edited by D. MacLennan, W. F. Garrett-Petts, and N. Duxbury. New York: Routledge, 2015.


Roberts, L. “Mapping Cultures: A Spatial Anthropology.” In Mapping Cultures: Place, Practice, Performance. Edited by L. Roberts. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015.


Roberts, L., ed. “Deep Mapping.” Special Issue, Humanities 4, nos. 4-5 (2015–16): /humanities/special_issues/DeepMapping


Roberts, L. “Deep Mapping and Spatial Anthropology.” Humanities 5 (2016): article 5.


Vannini, P., ed. Non-Representational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.




  • spatial anthropology
  • deep mapping
  • bricolage
  • autoethnography
  • gleaning
  • performance
  • non-representational methods
  • interdisciplinarity and deep mapping
  • psychogeography
  • place-making
  • urban bricolage

© Les Roberts 2016. All Rights Reserved.