Picturing difference: Juxtaposition, collage and layering of a multi-ethnic street


  • Suzanne M. Hall London School of Economics




My research is an ethnographic exploration of how cultural and ethnic diversity manifests through regular, face-to-face social contact on the Walworth Road in South London. My focus is the small independent shops along the mile length of this multi-ethnic street and the social and spatial interactions between proprietors and customers within them. While absorbed in an ethnography of everyday life, I searched for ways of understanding the layers of place, time and experience that make this street. As an architect, I had a fascination for how urban space is designed and appropriated, and a predilection for a visual reading of the city. As an inexperienced ethnographer, I had to learn about a much slower process of looking; making time to sit, listen and talk. My research methodology has been influenced by a combination of architectural and ethnographic approaches to how individuals appropriate and re-constitute urban space in the habitual rhythm of their day-to-day lives. In this paper I expand on my ethnographic process of exploring difference through pictures made during fieldwork. I use juxtaposition, collage and layering as both illustrative forms and analytic methods for observing and representing difference.

Author Biography

Suzanne M. Hall, London School of Economics

Suzanne M. Hall is a PhD student in the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. Her research is an ethnographic exploration of the everyday practices and ordinary spaces that individuals and groups use to engage in or retreat from urban change and cultural and ethnic diversity. The context for her empirical research is the Walworth Road, a multi-ethnic street in South London. She can be contacted at s.m.hall(AT)lse.ac.uk