Growing thickness as a research methodology
Author: Laura Boffi
Affiliation: Ferrara University
According to the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, ‘thickness’ is the distance between the opposite sides of something, as well as the quality of being thick. From the same dictionary, as an adjective, ‘thick’ also refers to the attribute of things growing close together, with little space between them and in large amounts. If an object is thick, it is difficult to see through it. These definitions look respectively at an object from the outside - recognising its opposite borders, and from the inside - appreciating the things populating the distance between those borders. Thickness consists of the opposite borders with the evolving entities growing within them simultaneously.
Therefore, discussing thickness implies dynamic zooming in and out. In the “Inquiries on Dropull's states of Liminality” workshop in Tirana, February 2019, the concept of thickness was appropriated to describe a desired state of liminality in several southern Albanian territories belonging to the Dropull region. At the workshop kick-off, the instructors highlighted liminal spaces as physical thresholds between the rural and the urban, and the teams were asked to work towards growing a thickness from such boundaries. In the following sections, I will describe the methodology enacted to grow thickness and I will draw an analogy with my PhD research project as it sits in a liminal space between disciplines that need to be scientifically positioned and defined.
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