Uncommon Walking Tour of Bristol


In a fascinating post about walking, Will Self offers an uncommon walking tour of Bristol. According to Self, “walking was the way to break free from the shackles of 21st-century capitalism.” Walking tours, sometimes also called pedway tours, are growing in popularity; pedways are pedestrian walkways and they can be both above ground and below; they are sometimes discussed as a form of ungoverned or unplanned civil engineering.

Self, who guides the walking tours, gets meta pretty quick; he “began with a brief introduction to the situationists – the Paris-based artists and thinkers of the 1960s who championed the concept of “psychogeography”, the unplanned drifting through an urban landscape to become more in tune with one’s surroundings.”

Self, cutting to the chase, links walking to capitalism: ““They believed as I believe that almost all our movement in the urban environment is circumscribed by time and money,” Self explained. He argued that we have become defamiliarised with our surroundings, trapped by a perceived need to be useful and productive citizens.”

Self also has a peculiar language of “ambulating” and “skeuomorph” (“which he defined as an object that used to serve a function but is now merely decorative”).

RE: Teaching: Walking tours, as a pedagogical tool, might be really useful for STS faculty that want to teach about infrastructure and the city.

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