Re-specifying geographical quantification: problems of order in street interviews



This paper deals with quantitative geography, adopting the perspective of ethnomethodology. Rather than deliver another definition or critique of quantitative geography, it examines activities through which quantification is locally produced and accomplished as phenomena that can be accounted for as a form of scientific and geographical order. It begins by discussing how geography has examined quantification as a problem of how data move between the field of investigation and a so-called centre of calculation, thereby overlooking the many practices that contribute to its epistemic configuration. To empirically document instances of quantification as a locally organised accomplishment, it then turns to video-recorded street interviews that were carried out in the course of a European research project on the sense of well-being felt by users of urban open spaces. Analysis of interview conduct reveals that the adequacy and relevancy of the questionnaire is not given per se, but is produced in the encounter between the interviewer and the passer-by respondent.