Whimsy, ethnographic writing and the everyday: Possibilities, politics, poetics

Katie Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Wyatt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The whimsical interrupts our focus on the banal, the practical, the instrumental. It is the thing out of place: a rose on the pavement, a magnolia inexplicably in full bloom in the winter grey, a bright red velvet coat, a downpour as you’re getting out of the car without an umbrella; art slid under a door to say ‘thank you’. In this chapter, we think, write and play with notions of whimsy, drawing into our scrutiny and inquiry reflections on how whimsy intersects our everyday living and working, and how it applies to our ethnographic writing. Engaging with prose and poetic writing that came to us both before and after Covid-19, we consider how we each have been living through the pandemic, and how whimsy offers a way to experience as well as to write. We argue that whimsy is both relational and contextual, as well as political, but that its power lies in the aesthetic and the indirect. Whimsy can be disruptive and power-ful but it is a power that asserts itself gently, slowly, even arbitrarily.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollaborative Futures in Qualitative Inquiry
Subtitle of host publicationResearch in a Pandemic
EditorsNorman Denzin, Michael Giardina
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003154587
ISBN (Print)9780367723798, 9780367723835
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Series

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • qualitative inquiry
  • ethnography
  • writing
  • poetic inquiry
  • poetry


Dive into the research topics of 'Whimsy, ethnographic writing and the everyday: Possibilities, politics, poetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this