Tracing the smells of childhoods with an olfactory research inquiry

Ingebretsen Kucirkova, Natalia (2023). Tracing the smells of childhoods with an olfactory research inquiry. Qualitative Research (Early access).



This paper proposes a multi-method olfactory inquiry to document the rich ways in which children's sense of smell is embodied and embedded in an interplay of senses and socio-spatial relationships. I approach olfaction as a conceptual strategy and connect it to socio-material and socio-spatial theories to illustrate the ways in which close empirical attention to olfaction can provide new insights into children's sensory experiences. An olfactory research inquiry rests on traditional (e.g. SmellMaps and SmellLogs) and speculative (e.g. Ododata and Olfactoscapes) olfactory techniques that invite adults’ and children's agentic responses to odours through relational, dynamic, and non-linguistic modes. As a critical sub-methodology of sensory inquiries, olfactory inquiry can help us re-think normative, homogenizing, mind-body relations in early childhood research and practice.

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