Movement, Materiality, and the Mortuary Adopting Go-Along Ethnography in Research on Fetal and Neonatal Postmortem

Kate Reed, Julie Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the use of the go-along method in research that takes place “behind closed doors” drawing on qualitative research on postmortem imaging. Often favored in community and urban studies, go-along consists of mobile interviews and observations with respondents in their own environments. We conducted go-alongs with various professionals—from pathologists to hospital chaplains—in a range of settings. We also tracked different forms of materiality in and out of the mortuary space. As the article seeks to show, go-along allowed us to appreciate the complex and mobile nature of postmortem, situating it within the wider landscape of bereavement and memorialization. It also enabled us to illuminate the ways in which the mortuary as a place cannot be fixed “indoors,” but rather, is continually remade through different types of practice. Our analysis emphasizes the value of using go-alongs in indoor settings, and further reinforces a fluid conceptualization of place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-235
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number2
Early online date17 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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