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Ariadne Menzel

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Making Meaning through Movement: Hiking the Cathar Trail in the South of France

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Physical movement is ubiquitous in our lives but its creative potential is rarely acknowledged. Ms Menzel's research explored how meaning is formed through movement by investigating walkers' experiences and perceptions of their environments on a long-distance hiking trail. Her research is based on participant observation on the Cathar Trail in the south of France, using the 'walking-with' method. She developed a phenomenological and environmental anthropology in which discourse and embodied experience and processes of interpretation and interaction are interrelated. To highlight the importance of movement in sociocultural contexts, she proposed a holistic alternative to the concept of landscape called 'terroir' and developed the theory of a hiking spatiality. Through its focus on movement, her research is locally specific but encompassing in its scope. Her thesis seeks to engage the reader through photographs and text. Interweaving epistemology and methodology, it is in itself a form of knowledge formed from movement.

Professor Kathryn Rountree
Dr Graeme MacRae