Nancy Cook’s publications have focused on transcultural interactions between Western development workers and local populations in Pakistan. In collaboration with David Butz, she is currently studying the impacts of infrastructure development and shifting mobility regimes on social organization in a mountain village in northern Pakistan.
David Butz’s interest in geographies of exploitation, resistance and self-representation has guided his research on development practices, portering labour relations and grassroots activism in northern Pakistan, and led to additional publications on research ethics and the method of autoethnography. He is co-editor of ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies.
Autophotography as Mobile Method
Critical mobilities scholars argue for the need to adapt and develop methods that access the activities, events and meanings through which mobilities are instantiated in social life. A vibrant literature is emerging that attempts to define the terrain of ‘mobile methods,’ that suggests broad areas of methodological focus, and analyzes the usefulness of specific methods for mobilities research. The present paper adds to the latter category of mobilities scholarship by focusing on the visual method of autophotography. We employed autophotography as one technique in a larger ethnographic project to investigate the social consequences of a newly-constructed road for members of a small community called Shimshal in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan province. Autophotography proved to be well-suited for the context of mobility, yielding a more productive process and richer results.