In this paper I draw on Walter Benjamin's understanding of the flâneur, memory and history to discuss my recent ethnographic fieldwork on the cultural history of abandoned spaces and places in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. By utilizing Benjamin's notion of historical accumulation that is based in individual perception, I ask how abandoned spaces can create reflexive textual meaning through the process of historical accumulation in space. Additionally, I work to develop a conflux of Bakhtin's notion of the chronotope and Benjamin's theories of time, history and memory to create an understanding of abandoned space that sees isolation and depopulated locations as fertile grounds for cultural critique. I also invoke Benjamin's writing on the figure of the flâneur in my methodological approach to anthropological fieldwork by transferring the image of the urban wanderer (the flâneur) into the context of an 1000 kilometre driving trip through Saskatchewan, Canada that I undertook in search of abandoned spaces and objects to document in writing, photography and video. Here, I discuss the ways in which Benjamin's notions of the flâneur and history/memory can be effectively integrated into the practice and theory of contemporary ethnographic inquiry.

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