by Subject: Urban Studies
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Back to the Postindustrial Future
An Ethnography of Germany's Fastest-Shrinking City
How does an urban community come to terms with the loss of its future? The former socialist model city of Hoyerswerda is an extreme case of a declining postindustrial city. Built to serve the GDR coal industry, it lost over half its population to outmigration after German reunification and the coal industry crisis, leading to the large-scale deconstruction of its cityscape. This book tells the story of its inhabitants, now forced to reconsider their futures. Building on recent theoretical work, it advances a new anthropological approach to time, allowing us to investigate the postindustrial era and the futures it has supposedly lost.
Subjects: General Anthropology Urban Studies
Berlin Divided City, 1945-1989
Broadbent, P. & Hake, S. (eds)
A great deal of attention continues to focus on Berlin’s cultural and political landscape after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but as yet, no single volume looks at the divided city through an interdisciplinary analysis. This volume examines how the city was conceived, perceived, and represented during the four decades preceding reunification and thereby offers a unique perspective on divided Berlin’s identities. German historians, art historians, architectural historians, and literary and cultural studies scholars explore the divisions and antagonisms that defined East and West Berlin; and by tracing the little studied similarities and extensive exchanges that occurred despite the presence of the Berlin Wall, they present an indispensible study on the politics and culture of the Cold War.
Subjects: Urban Studies Postwar History
Transforming Place in a Unified Germany
A benchmark study in the changing field of urban anthropology, Berlin, Alexanderplatz is an ethnographic examination of the rapid transformation of the unified Berlin. Through a captivating account of the controversy around this symbolic public square in East Berlin, the book raises acute questions about expertise, citizenship, government and belonging. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the city administration bureaus, developers’ offices, citizen groups and in Alexanderplatz itself, the author advances a richly innovative analysis of the multiplicity of place. She reveals how Alexanderplatz is assembled through the encounters between planners, citizen activists, social workers, artists and ordinary Berliners, in processes of popular participation and personal narratives, in plans, timetables, documents and files, and in the distribution of pipes, tram tracks and street lights. Alexanderplatz emerges as a socialist spatial exemplar, a ‘future’ under construction, an object of grievance, and a vision of robust public space. This book is both a critical contribution to the anthropology of contemporary modernity and a radical intervention in current cross-disciplinary debates on the city.
Changes in the Air
Hurricanes in New Orleans from 1718 to the Present
Hurricanes have been a constant in the history of New Orleans. Since before its settlement as a French colony in the eighteenth century, the land entwined between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River has been lashed by powerful Gulf storms. Time and again, these hurricanes have wrought immeasurable loss and devastation, spurring reinvention and ingenuity on the part of inhabitants. Changes in the Air offers a rich and thoroughly researched history of how hurricanes have shaped and reshaped New Orleans from the colonial era to the present day, focusing on how its residents have adapted to a uniquely unpredictable and destructive environment across more than three centuries.
'City of the Future'
Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana
Astana, the capital city of the post-Soviet Kazakhstan, has often been admired for the design and planning of its futuristic cityscape. This anthropological study of the development of the city focuses on every-day practices, official ideologies and representations alongside the memories and dreams of the city’s longstanding residents and recent migrants. Critically examining a range of approaches to place and space in anthropology, geography and other disciplines, the book argues for an understanding of space as inextricably material-and-imaginary, and unceasingly dynamic – allowing for a plurality of incompatible pasts and futures materialized in spatial form.
Race, Culture, and Community in a State-Planned City in France
Epstein, B. S.
The banlieue, the mostly poor and working-class suburbs located on the outskirts of major cities in France, gained international media attention in late 2005 when riots broke out in some 250 such towns across the country. Pitting first- and second-generation immigrant teenagers against the police, the riots were an expression of the multiplicity of troubles that have plagued these districts for decades. This study provides an ethnographic account of life in a Parisian banlieue and examines how the residents of this multiethnic city come together to build, define, and put into practice their collective life. The book focuses on the French ideal of integration and its consequences within the multicultural context of contemporary France. Based on research conducted in a state-planned ville nouvelle, or New Town, the book also provides a view on how the French state has used urban planning to shore up national priorities for social integration. Collective Terms proposes an alternative reading of French multiculturalism, suggesting fresh ways for thinking through the complex mix of race, class, nation, and culture that increasingly defines the modern urban experience.
Subjects: Urban Studies General Anthropology
Cultural Diversity in Russian Cities
The Urban Landscape in the post-Soviet Era
Gdaniec, C. (ed)
Cultural diversity — the multitude of different lifestyles that are not necessarily based on ethnic culture — is a catchphrase increasingly used in place of multiculturalism and in conjunction with globalization. Even though it is often used as a slogan it does capture a widespread phenomenon that cities must contend with in dealing with their increasingly diverse populations. The contributors examine how Russian cities are responding and through case studies from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi explore the ways in which different cultures are inscribed into urban spaces, when and where they are present in public space, and where and how they carve out their private spaces. Through its unique exploration of the Russian example, this volume addresses the implications of the fragmented urban landscape on cultural practices and discourses, ethnicity, lifestyles and subcultures, and economic practices, and in doing so provides important insights applicable to a global context.
Subjects: Urban Studies General Cultural Studies
Planning in the Contemporary World
Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. (eds)
Planning in contemporary democratic states is often understood as a range of activities, from housing to urban design, regional development to economic planning. This volume sees planning differently—as the negotiation of possibilities that time offers space. It explores what kind of promise planning offers, how such a promise is made, and what happens to it through time. The authors, all leading anthropologists, examine the time and space, creativity and agency, authority and responsibility, and conflicting desires that plans attempt to control. They show how the many people involved with planning deal with the discrepancies between what is promised and what is done. The comparative essays offer insight into the expected and unexpected outcomes of planning (from visionary utopias to bureaucratic dystopia or something in-between), how the future is envisioned at the outset, and what actual work is done and how it affects people’s lives.
Subjects: Urban Studies General Anthropology
Ethnographies of Movement, Sociality and Space
Place-Making in the New Northern Ireland
Komarova, M. & Svašek, M. (eds)
Exploring the complex dynamics of twenty-first century spatial sociality, this volume provides a much-needed multi-dimensional perspective that undermines the dominant image of Northern Ireland as a conflict-ridden place. Despite touching on memories of “the Troubles” and continuing unionist-nationalist tensions, the volume refuses to consider people in the region as purely political beings, or to understand processes of placemaking solely through ethnic or national contestations and territoriality. Topics such as the significance of friendship, gender, and popular culture in spatial practices are considered, against the backdrop of the growing presence of migrants, refugees and diasporic groups.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology Urban Studies
Living on Thin Ice
The Gwich'in Natives of Alaska
Dinero, S. C.
The Gwich’in Natives of Arctic Village, Alaska, have experienced intense social and economic changes for more than a century. In the late 20th century, new transportation and communication technologies introduced radically new value systems; while some of these changes may be seen as socially beneficial, others suggest a weakening of what was once a strong and vibrant Native community. Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered since the turn of the millennium, this volume offers an interdisciplinary evaluation of the developments that have occurred in the community over the past several decades.
Memorializing the GDR
Monuments and Memory after 1989
Since unification, eastern Germany has witnessed a rapidly changing memorial landscape, as the fate of former socialist monuments has been hotly debated and new commemorative projects have met with fierce controversy. Memorializing the GDR provides the first in-depth study of this contested arena of public memory, investigating the individuals and groups devoted to the creation or destruction of memorials as well as their broader aesthetic, political, and historical contexts. Emphasizing the interrelationship of built environment, memory and identity, it brings to light the conflicting memories of recent German history, as well as the nuances of national and regional constructions of identity.
Subjects: Postwar History Urban Studies
Somali Presence in Urban East Africa
Carrier, N. & Scharrer, T. (eds)
The increased presence of Somalis has brought much change to East African towns and cities in recent decades, change that has met with ambivalence and suspicion, especially within Kenya. This volume demystifies Somali residence and mobility in urban East Africa, showing its historical depth, and exploring the social, cultural and political underpinnings of Somali-led urban transformation. In so doing, it offers a vivid case study of the transformative power of (forced) migration on urban centres, and the intertwining of urbanity and mobility. The volume will be of interest for readers working in the broader field of migration, as well as anthropology and urban studies.
Explorations of Urban Coexistence
Humphrey, C. & Skvirskaja, V. (eds)
Examining the way people imagine and interact in their cities, this book explores the post-cosmopolitan city. The contributors consider the effects of migration, national, and religious revivals (with their new aesthetic sensibilities), the dispositions of marginalized economic actors, and globalized tourism on urban sociality. The case studies here share the situation of having been incorporated in previous political regimes (imperial, colonial, socialist) that one way or another created their own kind of cosmopolitanism, and now these cities are experiencing the aftermath of these regimes while being exposed to new national politics and migratory flows of people.
Rethinking the Informal City
Critical Perspectives from Latin America
Hernández, F., Kellett, P. and Allen, L.K. (Eds.)
Latin American cities have always been characterized by a strong tension between what is vaguely described as their formal and informal dimensions. However, the terms formal and informal refer not only to the physical aspect of cities but also to their entire socio-political fabric. Informal cities and settlements exceed the structures of order, control and homogeneity that one expects to find in a formal city; therefore the contributors to this volume - from such disciplines as architecture, urban planning, anthropology, urban design, cultural and urban studies and sociology - focus on alternative methods of analysis in order to study the phenomenon of urban informality. This book provides a thorough review of the work that is currently being carried out by scholars, practitioners and governmental institutions, in and outside Latin America, on the question of informal cities.
Subject: Urban Studies
The Rite of Urban Passage
The Spatial Ritualization of Iranian Urban Transformation
The Iranian city experienced a major transformation when the Pahlavi Dynasty initiated a project of modernization in the 1920s. The Rite of Urban Passage investigates this process by focusing on the spatial dynamics of Muharram processions, a ritual that commemorates the tragic massacre of Hussein and his companions in 680 CE. In doing so, this volume offers not only an alternative approach to understanding the process of urban transformation, but also a spatial genealogy of Muharram rituals that provides a platform for developing a fresh spatial approach to ritual studies.
Subjects: General Anthropology Urban Studies Religion
Searching for a Better Life
Growing Up in the Slums of Bangkok
Life in Bangkok for young people is marked by profound, interlocking changes and transitions. This book offers an ethnographic account of growing up in the city’s slums, struggling to get by in a rapidly developing and globalizing economy and trying to fulfil one’s dreams. At the same time, it reflects on the issue of agency, exploring its negative potential when exercised by young people living under severe structural constraint. It offers an antidote to neoliberal ideas around personal responsibility, and the assumed potential for individuals to break through structures of constraint in any sustained way.
The State and the Arts
Articulating Power and Subversion
Judith Kapferer and her collaborators present an insightful volume that interrogates relations between the state and the arts in diverse national and cultural settings. The authors critique the taken-for-granted assumption about the place of the arts in liberal or social democratic states and the role of the arts in supporting or opposing the ideological work of government and non-government institutions. This innovative volume explores the challenges posed by the state to the arts and by the arts to the state, focusing on several transformations of the interrelations between state and commercial arts policies in the current era. These ongoing challenges include the control of repressive tolerance, complicity with and resistance to state power, and the commoditization of the arts, including their accommodation to market and state apparatuses. While endeavouring to avoid the currently dominant pragmatic and didactic priorities of officialdom, the contributors tackle social and cultural policy and practice in the arts as well as connections between national states and dissenting art from a range of genres.
Subjects: Urban Studies Sociology General Cultural Studies
Urban Change and Contested Space in Central Naples
During the 1990s, Naples’ left-wing administration sought to tackle the city’s infamous reputation of being poor, crime-ridden, chaotic and dirty by reclaiming the city’s cultural and architectural heritage. This book examines the conflicts surrounding the reimaging and reordering of the city’s historic centre through detailed case studies of two piazzas and a centro sociale, focusing on a series of issues that include heritage, decorum, security, pedestrianization, tourism, immigration and new forms of urban protest. This monograph is the first in-depth study of the complex transformations of one of Europe’s most fascinating and misunderstood cities. It represents a new critical approach to the questions of public space, citizenship and urban regeneration as well as a broader methodological critique of how we write about contemporary cities.
Subjects: Urban Studies Sociology General Anthropology
Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso
de Jong, W., Perlik, M., Steuer, N., & Znoj, H. (eds)
Claudia Roth's work on Bobo-Dioulasso, a city of half a million residents in Burkina Faso, provides uniquely detailed insight into the evolving life-world of a West African urban population in one of the poorest countries in the world. Closely documenting the livelihood strategies of members of various neighbourhoods, Roth’s work calls into question established notions of “the African family” as a solidary network, documents changing marriage and kinship relations under the impact of a persistent economic crisis, and explores the increasingly precarious social status of young women and men.
Subjects: General Anthropology Sociology Urban Studies
Cultural Meanings, Social Practices
Dürr, E. & Jaffe, R. (eds)
Re-examining Mary Douglas’ work on pollution and concepts of purity, this volume explores modern expressions of these themes in urban areas, examining the intersections of material and cultural pollution. It presents ethnographic case studies from a range of cities affected by globalization processes such as neoliberal urban policies, privatization of urban space, continued migration and spatialized ethnic tension. What has changed since the appearance of Purity and Danger? How have anthropological views on pollution changed accordingly? This volume focuses on cultural meanings and values that are attached to conceptions of ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’, purity and impurity, healthy and unhealthy environments, and addresses the implications of pollution with regard to discrimination, class, urban poverty, social hierarchies and ethnic segregation in cities.
Housing and Social Transformations in Globalizing Ecuador
Riobamba and Cuenca, two intermediate cities in Ecuador, have become part of global networks through transnational migration, incoming remittances, tourism, and global economic connections. Their landscape is changing in several significant ways, a reflection of the social and urban transformations occurring in contemporary Ecuadorian society. Exploring the discourses and actions of two contrasting population groups, rarely studied in tandem, within these cities—popular-settlement residents and professionals in the planning and construction sector—this study analyzes how each is involved in house designs and neighborhood consolidation. Ideas, ambitions, and power relations come into play at every stage of the production and use of urban space, and as a result individual decisions about both house designs and the urban layout influence the development of the urban fabric. Knowledge about intermediate cities is crucial in order to understand current trends in the predominantly urban societies of Latin America, and this study is an example of needed interdisciplinary scholarship that contributes to the fields of urban studies, urban anthropology, sociology, and architecture.
Subjects: Urban Studies Applied Anthropology Sociology
Walls, Borders, Boundaries
Spatial and Cultural Practices in Europe
Silberman, M., Till, K. E. & Ward, J. (eds)
How is it that walls, borders, boundaries—and their material and symbolic architectures of division and exclusion—engender their very opposite? This edited volume explores the crossings, permeations, and constructions of cultural and political borders between peoples and territories, examining how walls, borders, and boundaries signify both interdependence and contact within sites of conflict and separation. Topics addressed range from the geopolitics of Europe’s historical and contemporary city walls to conceptual reflections on the intersection of human rights and separating walls, the memory politics generated in historically disputed border areas, theatrical explorations of border crossings, and the mapping of boundaries within migrant communities.
Subjects: General History Urban Studies
When God Comes to Town
Religious Traditions in Urban Contexts
Pinxten, R. & Dikomitis, L. (eds)
Around 1800 roughly three per cent of the human population lived in urban areas; by 2030 this number is expected to have gone up to some seventy per cent. This poses problems for traditional religions that are all rooted in rural, small-scale societies. The authors in this volume question what the possible appeal of these old religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam could be in the new urban environment and, conversely, what impact global urbanization will have on learning and on the performance and nature of ritual. Anthropologists, historians and political scientists have come together in this volume to analyse attempts made by churches and informal groups to adapt to these changes and, at the same time, to explore new ways to study religions in a largely urbanized environment.
Subjects: Urban Studies Religion General Anthropology Sociology
Where Have All the Homeless Gone?
The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis
For a decade, from 1983 to 1993, homelessness was a major concern in the United States. In 1994, this public concern suddenly disappeared, without any significant reduction in the number of people without proper housing. By examining the making and unmaking of a homeless crisis, this book explores how public understandings of what constitutes a social crisis are shaped.
Drawing on five years of ethnographic research in New York City with African Americans and Latinos living in poverty, Where Have All the Homeless Gone? reveals that the homeless “crisis” was driven as much by political misrepresentations of poverty, race, and social difference, as the housing, unemployment, and healthcare problems that caused homelessness and continue to plague American cities.
Class Struggles and Urban Commoning
Kalb, D. & Mollona, M. (eds)
The past decades have seen significant urban insurrections worldwide, and this volume analyzes some of them from an anthropological perspective; it argues that transformations of urban class relationships must be approached in a way that is both globally informed and deeply embedded in local and popular histories, and contends that every case of urban mobilization should be understood against its precise context in the global capitalist transformation. The book examines cases of mobilization across the globe, and employs a Marxian class framework, open to the diverse and multi-scalar dynamics of urban politics, especially struggles for spatial justice.