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Urban air pollution perception through the experience of social practices: talking about breathing with recreational runners in London

Hodgson, A; Hitchings, RS; (2018) Urban air pollution perception through the experience of social practices: talking about breathing with recreational runners in London. Health and Place , 53 pp. 26-33. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.07.009. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper examines how interviews with outdoor recreational runners can help us understand how urban air pollution insinuates itself into the consciousness of those who may be breathing more polluted air than most. It begins by making the case for why studies of air pollution perception might turn to the subjectivities associated with taking part in relevant social practices. Then, with reference to debate about the extent to which groups of exercisers are thinking about certain aspects of what is physically happening during their exercise, we examine how outdoor recreational runners in London talk about the air that they breathe when running. We might imagine that this group would be particularly alive to urban air pollution in view of a presumed interest in physical performance and a personal history of running through various bodies of city air. However, through close scrutiny of their running talk, this paper documents how and why the suggestion of breathing polluted air is often placed beyond the realm of conscious thought for them during their runs. These findings point to particular strategies for encouraging healthy urban lifestyles and illustrate the potential of further studies on how social practices shape pollution perceptions.

Type: Article
Title: Urban air pollution perception through the experience of social practices: talking about breathing with recreational runners in London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.07.009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.07.009
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Air pollution perceptions, recreational running, social practice theory, qualitative interviewing, embodied exercise, public health promotion
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10053008
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