Forging Volumetric Methods

Anna Jackman, Rachael Squire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The last two decades have seen a ‘volumetric turn’ within anglophone social sciences and humanities scholarship. This turn is premised on the idea that space may be better understood in three-dimensional terms - with complex heights and depths - rather than as a series of two-dimensional areas or surfaces. Whilst there is an increasingly diverse and rich set of scholarship accounting for voluminous complexities in the air, oceans, ice, mountains, and undergrounds, all too often this work foregrounds state and military-led approaches to volume. This has resulted in a limited methodological toolkit through which to explore voluminous complexities as they emerge and extend beyond military and state contexts. Often reliant upon elite interviews, archives, and cartographies, there has been little critical discussion of both methodological practice and the ‘flatness’ of research outputs articulating three-dimensional worlds. In this paper we address this by foregrounding the role of immersive and multisensory methodologies (sounding volumes, seeing-sensing drone volumes, and object volumes). To conclude, we offer avenues for further inquiry, including attending to shifting everyday voluminous experiences in the Anthropocene, and the need to diversify the communication of ‘volume’ research.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date24 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2021


  • Volume
  • Volumetric methods
  • Everyday
  • Sound
  • Drone
  • Object

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