Researching underwater: a submerged study

Scott, Susie (2019) Researching underwater: a submerged study. In: Smith, Robin James and Delamont, Sara (eds.) The lost ethnographies: methodological insights from projects that never were. Studies in Qualitative Methodology, 17 . Emerald, London, pp. 79-94. ISBN 9781787147744

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This chapter explores the unknown territory of a lost project: an ethnography of a public swimming pool. The discussion is contextualised within my broader sociological theory of ‘nothing’, as a category of unmarked, negative social phenomena, including no-things, no-bodies, no-wheres, non-events and non-identities. These meaningful symbolic objects are constituted through social interaction, which can take two forms: acts of commission and acts of omission. I tell the story of how this project did not happen, through the things I did not do or that did not materialise, and how I consequently did not become a certain type of researcher. I identify three types of negative phenomena that I did not observe and document – invisible figures, silent voices and empty vessels – and, consequently, the knowledge I did not acquire. However, nothing is also productive, generating new symbolic objects as substitutes, alternatives and replacements: the somethings, somebodies and somewheres that are done or made instead. Thus finally, I reflect on how not doing this project led me to pursue others, cultivating a different research identity that would not otherwise have existed.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Susie Scott
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 10:51
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2020 13:56

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