Funny how its often easier to walk from place to place in London rather than get on the tube and how travelling underground can distort your senses in terms of time distance and places. Yet as I made my way to St Paul’s from Euston, which requires taking the northern line then the central, I gazed around and started to wonder what the link was between the people on the different underground line was to the class of people who live above. Thinking about where they are coming from what they are doing where they are going – looking around people watching – one of my favourite pastimes. The unsmiling faces, gender balance, mix of cultures and comparing this to traveling around on buses and trains in Liverpool. Thinking of all the classic stereotypical representations and the north south divide. Then it occurred to me that this all links to micro-sociology, to the performances and presentations we all make on a daily basis. What assumptions would people make of me ? And how different travel is in different countries.
This got me to to thinking about how I’m looking forward to the field trips we are running this year in sociology and sociological criminology at LJMU – one to Brussels and one to London and how you could as a student incorporate your observations back to the theories you have come across in your degree ….. One thing that is really important when making sense of field trip experiences is to write them down, have a clear approach and talk to others about what you observe, the assumptions you make and talk to each other to see how your experiences and perceptions are the same or different and how your positionality has an impact on your understanding of the world we live in. Hence this blog to show how my random thoughts led to a conversation with my friend who reminded me of a map of class and poverty linking the tube to income and wealth – so I googled it and found
Definitely worth checking out that link – and looking at the mapping London site – here’s a taster …..
I’d rather walk above the ground, breath the ‘fresh’ air, and make my observations in cafes and parks – but interesting to think how you can link transport to class – and it reminded me of the first lecture Liz James gives on social perspective in the first year when she talks about the meanings and learning we can do from simply people watching on the bus. The key thing is to write down your thoughts and ideas to create a record, maybe use photography to capture your feelings and to use these as a basis for analysis at a later date
Other things you can do is note and compare the feel of the actual tube stations – what is being advertsied where and what state are they in – what does this tell you about the society that we live in
Check out Goffman as well it you want to know more and maybe read an article or two on observation as a method and see where it takes you …. Remember the world is your oyster 🙂