Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Doing belonging : a sociological study of belonging in place as the outcome of social practices
Author: Bennett, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 089X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Place is disguised, hidden or simply ignored in much sociological research. Belonging, however, has become a focus of sociological concern. This thesis proposes that one way of belonging is through belonging-in-place leading to a sociological positioning of place as an active participant in social life. In much sociological research places have been seen as fixed and essentialised. To avoid this problem, this study turned to geography and anthropology for suitable frameworks incorporating an open, fluid and relational understanding of place. In particular, Ingold’s (2000) concept of the ‘taskscape’ has been used to understand the connections between place, people, activity and time. The thesis argues that ‘imagined’ and narrativised places create only an ‘outer layer’ of belonging and that it is through embodied connections to other people in the place (what I call a ‘peoplescape’) and through inalienable connections to material places over time that a three dimensional ‘ontological belonging’, as a way of being (and doing) in the world, can develop. Belonging, often spoken of as a sense or feeling, is here shown to be the outcome of social practices, by embodied beings, in a material place.The research took a phenomenological approach in order to see the life-world of the participants from within. A multi-dimensional belonging was uncovered through various user driven qualitative methods: biographical interviews and photo and written diaries with families who have lived in one place, Wigan, for at least three generations. The diaries detailed social encounters which revealed that knowing other people and being known are crucial to an embodied belonging-in-place. Taking photos alongside the diaries enabled specific places of importance to the respondents to be discussed and these revealed that places can be passed on, as inalienable gifts, from one generation, or one life phase, to the next. Inalienable traces of previous generations of Wiganers are present in the material place. The phenomenological methodology and the mix of qualitative methods enabled an inductive analysis which disclosed the everyday life-world of these people in this place. Diaries, both written and photographic, together with other respondent directed methods could be used more widely to explore seemingly mundane aspects of social life from the perspective of the participants. The research found that place is not merely a backdrop to social life but is an integral part of the social practices carried out by embodied and emplaced people. A greater emphasis on both place and materiality as they impact social life could enhance much sociological research.
Supervisor: Tinkler, Penny; Bottero, Wendy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: belonging ; place ; phenomenology ; diaries ; autophotography ; family