Emotional geographies

Introducing a special issue on emotional geographies, Joyce Davidson & Christine Milligan explain:

“Recent years have witnessed a welling-up of emotion within geography, a surge of interest
reminiscent of the fascination and exploration of embodiment that characterized much social and cultural geography over the last decade.” (p.523)

“…there is little we do with our bodies that we can think apart from feeling. From the supposedly peaceful space of sleep—inseparable from the magical and moving realm of dreams—to anxiety-ridden (for some, profit making for others) dietary and exercise regimes, the most basic bodily tasks of resting, eating, working out or just getting around, can be ‘fraught’ with fear, guilt and shame, or infused with adrenaline thrills, cravings or dreamt-up desires. Recognition of the inherently emotional nature of embodiment has, thus, led many to the conclusion that we need to explore how we feel—as well as think—through ‘the body’.” (p.523)

Without doubt, our emotions matter. They have tangible effects on our surroundings and can shape the very nature and experience of our being-in-the-world. Emotions can clearly alter the way the world is for us, affecting our sense of time as well as space. Our sense of who and what we are is continually (re)shaped by how we feel. Similarly, the imagined or projected substance of our future experience will alter in relation to our current emotional state. As studies of phobic and delusional geographies show, for some, the feeling that space is populated with the complex and often contradictory emotional projections of others results in experiences of unbearable intensity and distress that challenge the very boundaries of the self (Davidson 2003; Parr 1999).” (p.524)

“We can, perhaps, usefully speak of an emotio-spatial hermeneutic: emotions are understandable—‘sensible’—only in the context of particular places. Likewise, place must be felt to make sense. This leads to our feeling that meaningful senses of space emerge only via movements between people and places.” (p.524)

“In thinking about the ‘nation’ and beyond, we need to consider the emotional constitution of identity and nationalism (Dowler 2001). Nationality and nationhood are inextricably bound up in appeals to our emotional selves.” (p.527)

“Focusing on sense and sound, particularly musical aspects of ‘auditory geography’ (Rodaway 1994), [Wood and Smith in this issue] investigate spaces of musical performance, which, they argue, offer important sites for exploring the powerful potential of emotions to shape social life.” (p.527)

Reading this overview (of 10 years ago), I was left wondering:
What work is done on children’s emotional geographies?
How are children’s emotional worlds respected by this work? or have they so far been elided from this kind of research? 
It seems to me a fruitful area of research to make better sense of children’s lives, perhaps especially outside of the home?
The concept of  auditory geographies seems particularly relevant to ECE; in what ways could such theory support children’s lives?
(What is said of habitus in such theory? and how might children’s willingness to mimic adult ways of inhabiting roles and spaces physically influence their emotional experience?)

In this same issue, according to Davidson & Milligan, “Rose examines the paradoxical place of photographs in the home-lives of women with young children. … Suggesting that photographs are an embodiment of ‘togetherness’, Rose infers that they may, in fact, play an important but largely unrecognized role in the management of ‘mothering’ emotions.” (p.527)

So, how do photographs in ECE assessment (learning stories, for example) play a role in the management of parenting emotions?

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine; italics in original) Joyce Davidson & Christine Milligan (2004) Embodying emotion sensing space: introducing emotional geographies, Social & Cultural Geography, 5:4, 523-532, DOI: 10.1080/1464936042000317677


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in early years education, Images of Parent Child and Expert, Literate Contexts, Physical education and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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