Worth a Read: Cafés in the City

If you’re unacquainted with the work of geographer Eric Laurier–who has authored publications with Chris Philo (whose book Selling Places edited with Gerry Kearns is a must-read)–you’re in for a treat.

What brought me into his work years ago were the catchy titles of his articles–I remember reading “How Breakfast Happens in the Café” and “Why People Say Where They Are During Mobile Conversations.” [I just saw his "Searching for a Parking Space" which sounds great also--but I haven't had the time yet...]

Great research complemented by great writing–which isn’t always the case, of course.

For example, here’s the first paragraph from “Cold Shoulders and Napkins Folded: Gestures of Responsibility” (Laurier and Philo 2006):

“We find ourselves amongst others in the city. We are walking as pedestrians, pushing our way past others, making our excuses: ‘I’m running for a train’ (Lee and Watson 1993, 184). We are queuing at bus stops, letting others ahead. We are sitting on benches in the park feeding pigeons. We are holding open the doors of shops for others to pass through. We are hailing taxis. We are playing cards. We are eating in restaurants. We are drinking in bars. We are buying newspapers. We are hearing snatches of mobile phone conversations. We are catching one another’s eyes. We are waving at friends. We are shrugging our shoulders at this and laughing at that. / The city remains the place, above all, of living with others.” (Laurier and Philo 2006: 193)

The authors go on to discuss issues of public space, ethnomethodology and the city and refer to the work of Erving Goffman and Non-Representational Theorists…

Worth a Read.