Negotiating Sociology at its Margins
Negotiating sociology at its margins offers the opportunity to be creative and drawing upon multiple sub-fields can achieve something refreshing - contextualisation and complexity. From my previous research, I learnt that interacting with animals and space can play a big role in farmer's everyday lives which previous studies have not treated in much detail. The likes of 'walking interviews' takes these aspects into account and offers a more organic way of bridging the gap between theory and method than sociology is typically used to. Borrowing methods and theoretical frameworks allows the tools for studying social life to be as messy as social life itself.
The struggle in negotiating the sociology of human/animal relations and rural life comes in the form of how to position the identity of your work. In practical terms, when on the quest to build networks, long-standing concerns of sociological inquiry remain visible and making associations in the marginal fields of HAS and Rural Studies is difficult as they tend to cross into other areas, such as anthropology and geography. It seems that like the subject matter of sociology, the discipline itself reproduces hierarchies of value which positions some phenomena as more worthy than others. In turn, researchers are faced with the difficult task of striking a balance between authenticity and the will to 'get by' in a competitive system.