IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ecologies of experience: materiality, sociality, and the embodied experience of (street) performing


  • Paul Simpson


Recently a range of relational approaches have established themselves in many arenas of geographical thought. Insights have been drawn in from poststructural philosophy and social theory to decentre the human subject and consider agency in a more distributed way. Within such work, amongst references to networks, rhizomes, assemblages, and the like, the term ‘ecology’ has at times been employed to refer to such relationalty. However, the implications of its use and the specific value of the term in thinking about relationality have not yet been fully considered. Therefore, this paper articulates an ‘ecological approach’ to the study of the embodied practices. The significance of such an approach is expressed in terms of its ability to pay attention to the co-constitutive relatedness of practices and the social–cultural–material environments in which they take place. This is articulated in the paper in three main ways: (1) by drawing attention to the sheer complexity and singularity of relatedness; (2) by reflecting on connections with, and the status of, human and nonhuman entities in the playing out of practices; and (3) by considering the structuring of affective relations and the context in which practices take place. This is illustrated in the paper in relation to the practice of street performance and the intertwining both of the more concrete ‘material’ aspects of the street space (architecture, benches, people), and of its less concrete, but still materially significant, aspects (meteorological-atmospheres, felt-ambiences, not physically present regulative formations), with the performer in the playing out of this practice. Keywords: ecology, experience, relational geographies, materiality, affect, performance, practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Simpson, 2013. "Ecologies of experience: materiality, sociality, and the embodied experience of (street) performing," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 45(1), pages 180-196, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:45:y:2013:i:1:p:180-196

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: abstract
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    2. Dee, Thomas S., 1998. "Competition and the quality of public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 419-427, October.
    3. Jamison, Eliot A. & Jamison, Dean T. & Hanushek, Eric A., 2007. "The effects of education quality on income growth and mortality decline," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 771-788, December.
    4. Propper, Carol & Burgess, Simon & Green, Katherine, 2004. "Does competition between hospitals improve the quality of care?: Hospital death rates and the NHS internal market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1247-1272, July.
    5. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    6. Jepsen, Christopher, 2002. "The role of aggregation in estimating the effects of private school competition on student achievement," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 477-500, November.
    7. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
    8. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2008. "Choice, Competition, and Pupil Achievement," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 912-947, June.
    9. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
    10. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 184-224, December.
    11. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    12. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
    13. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jesse Rothstein, 2005. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers? A Comment on Hoxby (2000)," NBER Working Papers 11215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Stephanie K. Riegg, 2005. "School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of school Desegregation," NBER Working Papers 11347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:45:y:2013:i:1:p:180-196. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Neil Hammond). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.