Being observant and observed: embodied citizenship training in the Home Guard and the Boy Scout Movement, 1907-1945

James Robinson, Sarah Mills

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Building upon recent studies by geographers and social scientists on the everyday practices of (scientific) observation, this paper focuses on the role of two distinct, yet similar organisations that held observation as an essential and 'automatic' embodied skill. Utilising the examples of Home Guard camouflage and the Boy Scout Movement, the paper critically examines how these organisations sought to articulate the individual as both observer and observed, thereby exposing a much more complex entanglement of different visual positions and practices hitherto neglected in studies of observation. Moreover, the paper emphasises the importance of the act of 'not-being-seen' as a complementary and fundamental aspect of (non-)observational practice, accentuated and promoted by civic institutions in terms of duty and responsibility. Finally, the paper considers the evolutionary aspects of observation through the lifecourse, revealing a complex, relational geography of expertise, experience and skill that crossed age-distinctions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)412-423
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Historical Geography
    Volume38
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

    Keywords

    • Observation
    • Pedagogy
    • Citizenship
    • Home Guard
    • Boy Scouts

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