Dr Shawn Bodden

  • Research Associate (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)

Research interests

I am a geographer of political culture, which I understand as referring to the ongoing and ordinary practices, material resources and spaces people use to organise, justify and revise social life.

My research combines ethnomethodological studies of interaction with long-term and participatory ethnographic fieldwork to understand and, where possible, contribute to communities’ efforts to respond to social challenges and to build a more just, more tolerant society. My conceptual approach is particularly indebted to the thinking of the late Clive Barnett, and I see my research as contributing to his programme of research into the geographies of public reasoning. My interest in the ordinary dimensions of political and social life often leads me to look in unusual places, where political questions might be taken for granted or dismissed: I have accordingly conducted research on a diverse range of topics including Hungarian community spaces; conflicts (and convivialities) between humans and pigeons; evaluation in urban co-design projects; and the rationalities of rioters (how they work out what to do).

Current work

In my current post at the University of Glasgow, I am junior researcher on the Living with SAD project. Our team is investigating the lived experiences of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Scotland and the ongoing struggle to gain recognition of this experience.

Future work

Building on interests that have developed over my previous research as well as my experience as a long-time volunteer at the Edinburgh Tool Library, I am developing a research project to investigate the experience of communities operating and using Tool Libraries and other Share-and-Repair initiatives. I am particularly interested in two questions that I see as eminently practical and philosophical: how do communities negotiate the meaning and worth of new cultural and political practices in their local contexts, and how do they learn from examples and experiences of other communities elsewhere?

Research Snapshot

Topics: political culture, community space, projects, practical reasoning, evaluation and justification, relationships with the environment, seasonality, Hungary and Central Europe, birds and ‘feral’ animals, illustration

Approaches: ethnography, ethnomethodology, interaction analysis, ordinary language philosophy, pragmatism

Please do get in touch if you find any mutual interests or curiosities!