The Politics of Walking: Rural Women Encounters with Space and Memoir

A group of elderly and retired women from a northern village in Spain (they call themselves las chicas, the girls), try gather every week to take a walk together. Assembling my ethnographic notes, I describe the walk and offer an analytical foray into the following questions: What can we learn about the rural and the relationship of these women with the rural? What is the specificity of walking here? Walking is a practice that has in this case a twofold capacity: walking creates a mobile space for visibility in in which rural women’s work is considered private, and thus, walking provides a precious inter-subjective space for relationality; and second, the walk enacts a particular archaeology of memoir. The landscape bears witness to the socioeconomic changes of the rural environment. Such memoirs are actualized in the walk. Finally, as las chicas walk, not only do they travel across space and time, their movement allows for a particular methodological engagement of the researcher with the methods of research. Mobilities often question what hinders mobilities. But here my question is, what is the walking telling us about both the rural and these women in the rural context?