Urban Hitchhiking: Wandering with Others as a Research Method


  • Tuuli Malla Encounter Arts
  • Anna Kholina Aalto University
  • Lauri Jäntti Encounter Arts


This essay introduces urban hitchhiking, a reflective practice of sharing
a walk with strangers, and considers its relevance for research and artistic
practice. Drawing from ethnography, psychogeography and performance
studies, we frame urban hitchhiking as a score that has ethnographic
potential akin to the ethnographic installation (Hartblay 2017) for exploring
the complex relationships between people and cityscapes. We demonstrate
this with the help of our own accounts of Urban Hitchhiking as two artists
who developed the concept and a researcher who practiced it. The essay
summarises four perspectives that emerged from our findings: spatiality,
performativity, gender, and hospitality. It concludes that the key value of
urban hitchhiking lies in its potential to create a setting that we define as an
empathetic drift, which turns random encounters into shared acts of trust
through which a variety of anthropological questions can be explored.

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How to Cite

Malla, T., Kholina, A., & Jäntti, L. (2018). Urban Hitchhiking: Wandering with Others as a Research Method. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 42(3), 41–51. Retrieved from https://journal.fi/suomenantropologi/article/view/69715