Seats of Power: Ethnographies of Constituted Space

Kim Lane Scheppele defines constitutional ethnography as ‘the study of the central legal elements of polities using methods that are capable of recovering the lived detail of the politico-legal landscape’. The aim of the paper is to develop this provisional definition further into a more focused approach analysing the ways in which power is experienced as the ‘lived detail’ of a constituted space. Individuals namely experience the constitutional arrangements under which they live as spatial contours within which they negotiate their relationships to power and domination. What do these spatial contours, understood now as the containers of our lived experiences, tell us about the constitutional arrangements themselves? How can the ‘lived detail’ of constituted space be studied? Particular attention will be paid to the potential of three ethnographic perspectives: auto-ethnography, sensory ethnography, and visual ethnography.