When Dench, Gavron and Young tested the capacities of immigrants and long-standing residents to adapt to change in The New East End, their interviews focused on sites in which access to and entitlement of public resources is highly contested, in particular social housing. Social housing is not only a domestic realm where long-established forms of belonging are revealed in kinship patterns of family and class.
In Britain it is also an allocated public resource and the questions of who gets housing and who gets it first is inevitably conflictual. Similarly, is social housing - a domestic and state-owned space - a comparatively brittle urban territory, in which definitions of turf, privacy and what public are less adaptable to rapid change? In contrast to the social housing estates that comprise a large proportion of residences in walking distance from the Walworth Road, the independent shop spaces off the street appeared as a cheek by jowl series of sub worlds that were neither overtly public nor private.
The shops were adjacent to and distinct from the street, and interactions and memberships within the shops were regulated differently than those on the pavement to their fronts. I was interested in the forms of adaptation in these small interiors off the street in which things were both made and sold, and the extent to which the provision of goods and services fostered etiquette and exchange across cultures. The street is ordinary in this sense — a space for stopping as much as for moving, a place to pause, to meet friends, post a letter, to buy goods.
My research focus came to be the small independent shops along the mile length of the Walworth Road, and the social interactions between the proprietors and customers within them. These shops initially appeared to me as a dense aggregation of lives and livelihoods and I became intrigued by the overlap of work practices and social practices within the shop interiors.
Questions emerged as to whether the acumen of the proprietors and the regular needs of customers would have bearing on the social possibilities and cultural improvisations within these shop spaces. This is however, neither an ethnography of shopping nor of consumerism as a pleasurable and readily purchasable mode of cultural exchange. It is a scrutiny of multilingual forms of communication on a multi-ethnic street, and of the modes of expression afforded within local spaces of work, convenience and leisure.
The focus on the shops has led me to larger questions of belonging, participation and allegiance in a diverse and unequal urban society. In particular, I explore whether capacities to engage in urban change and difference are connected to forms of inclusion integral to daily life including skill and meaningful work that, in the case of the street, are made publicly visible and are refined through social contact. While the Walworth Road is a local street, its small-scale retail make-up has meant it is a route to a wider world, in which migration and mobility are central.
Although its feudal beginnings were as a village high street subsequently structured by the parish, the manor and agricultural production, the small-scale patterns of land ownership along its edges readily adapted to the combined forces of industrialisation and urbanisation at the turn of the eighteenth century. Tracing the Post Office records from to , the pattern of immigrant proprietors persisted, including waves of immigrants from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.
The variegated pattern of immigrant occupations along the street is more than significant for my exploration of cultural adaptation and social mixing. As there is no predominant occupation by any particular ethnic group, the question that follows is whether more variegated cultural expressions emerge within this heterogeneous context?
George’s Field Note
The Walworth Road is ordinary then in this sense too: the variety of its ethnic and cultural diversity is not unremarkable in a city of immigrants, but its prolific diversity escapes an ethnic branding on the basis of a particular group and associated activity. What then are the variegated forms of allegiance, participation and belonging in such a varied urban landscape?
And what are the differences that trigger conflict? I therefore started my research with a place - the street - rather than an explicit category of people. This starting point links not only my two careers as architect and ethnographer, but also allows a tactile beginning to a process of finding out.
It is essential for an architect to have a site to regularly visit in order to see and imagine the possibilities for space and design. My initial visual reading of the street as a messy stretch of space was gradually supplemented by understandings attained from sitting, talking and observing. During this time-protracted process I listened, wrote and drew, retreating periodically to the Southwark Local History Library archives and official online survey sources to connect, as per C.
The value of ethnography in understanding difference is that it renders a situated and multi-vocal sense of people and places as they live in, respond to and shape their social worlds. Typically the graphic is a process of compressing rather than reducing information and I have explored how analytic pictures can combine core relationships such as time and space, or mutualisms such as the global and local. Ethnographic observation helps to render a social and cultural reading of how the impacts of urban change are experienced and how diversity is manifested in the life of a local place.
But how do we extract from it political consequence? This introduction to City, Street and Citizen has stressed that the speed of change in the contemporary city has never been more accelerated, nor has its populations been more variegated. Out of the heightened flows between people and places across the globe over the past two decades his assertion demands that we pay attention to the ordinary or small politics that emerge within everyday life, and consider whether it reconfigures our understandings of class, community and kin.
We need then to further imagine how immigration, ethnicity and race reconfigure the singular idea of nation as an ideology applied flatly across territory, irrespective of its heightening urban peaks and expanding global routes. My intention is to reveal near and far views of a local world, and the varied experiences of how individuals engage in diversity and change in the context of their everyday lives. There are several links that provide continuity to these parts, a primary focus being to connect the organisation of social life on a multi-ethnic street to the space and time of accelerated urbanisation.
My analysis is essentially ethnographic in its substance and method, and as we move across the chapters, the reader will see how explorations of local worlds are cognizant of the particularity and of the might of global forces. City, Street and Citizen is largely organised through three core explorations, the first of which is the histories and futures of the urban margin. The questions of who belongs in the urban margin, what forms of citizenship are conferred upon it by the structures of power, and what expressions of mixing or containment emerge within it, is developed in Chapters 1 and 2.
The work of this chapter is to probe at the methods and forms of urban ethnography, and to highlight its contribution in surfacing the variable, fluid and fallible dimensions of human life. I argue that it is precisely through the expressions of ambiguity and inconsistency that we become better attuned to understanding the mixings and overlaps integral to how we learn to live with difference. The chapter shifts between the symbolic persistence of social and spatial boundaries, and the extent to which historic forms of containment can be resisted or altered through practice.
Bijsterveld, K. Bourdieu, P. Men and machines. Cicourel Eds. Burn, A. Daisuke, O. Camera phones changing the definition of picture-worthy. Japan Media Review. Drever, J. Soundscape composition: the convergence of ethnography and acousmatic music. Droumeva, M. Blog series. Dyson, F.
Erlmann, V. Oxford: Berg. Feld, S. Doing Anthropology in Sound. American Ethnologist , 31 4 , The Creative Soundwalk. Hamburger, E. The Verge. Haraway, D. Feminist Studies , 14 3 , Ito, M. Acoustic Environments in Change. Tampere: University of Joensuu Press. Jenkins, H. White Paper prepared for the McArthur Foundation. Kautonen, O.
The Urban Everyday: The History and Dynamics of Place Making
Soundscape stories and routes in Pirkanmaa. Lane, C. Carlyle Makagon, D. Recording culture: Audio documentary and the ethnographic experience. McCartney, A. Performing soundwalks for Journees Sonores, canal de Lachine. Stewart Eds. Performing nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts pp.
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Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang Publishing. Norman, K. Listening Together, Making Place. Organised Sound , 17 3 , — Thinking Through New Methodologies. Sounding Out the City With Teenagers. Qualitative Sociology Review , 11 1 : Radicchi, A. Schafer, R.
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- Ethnographies of Racial Europe | PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review;
The Tuning of the World. New York: Knopf. Their stories unfold in a Europe indeed, a world where deeply disquieting trends overlap. To the extent that majoritarian ideologies appeal to increasingly wider constituencies, racialized minorities emerge at best as less than full citizens, at worse as obstacles to popular democratic sovereignty. Pan-continental discourses of Judeo- Christian cultural identities shape a racial politics that targets Muslim minorities and others racialized as Muslim as civilizational threats to the West and its supposedly shared values. Chauvinistic, xenophobic and particularistic nationalisms characterized by moral conservatism appear on the rise.
While plentifully evident in their works, the three authors attend to such disturbing currents unevenly Wekker more so, Rogozen-Soltar almost not at all. Instead of privileging the study of far right parties, populist leaders, or xenophobic movements, they bring into focus the politics of race as it operates in workplaces, academic settings, government offices, public culture artifacts, streets, and cityscapes.
Exploring those casual racisms that shape situated interactions and structure everyday race relations in mundane settings such as work or leisure is their principal concern. Their key protagonists are therefore not—or not always—the usual suspects of European racism but rather neighbors, colleagues, bosses, and other ordinary characters who may well profess progressive political commitments, yet emerge as ambivalent in their avowed enthusiasm for the racial diversity of their countries, cities, and jobs. They also hold out a warning, namely, that the more explicit, vile, and unapologetic manifestations of racism that are supported on these foundations can hardly be combatted with superficial interventions.
It is a warning of great significance to political actors across Europe today, as much as for researchers who have arguably focused too closely on the study of hyper-visible racisms and too little on prevailing, hegemonic regimes of racial relations. Spain Unmoored , Encoding Race, Encoding Class , and White Innocence should also serve as exemplary reminders of the power of ethnography to draw out the contradictions, ambiguities, heterogeneities, and unevenness of the politics of race. We encounter these ambivalences, for example, as Indian programmers cultivate middle-class, elite pleasures in response to their racially-inferior placement as migrant laborers within German society.
We gain a sense of their unevenness from the distinctions these political processes help draw between differentially racialized migrants from the former Dutch colonies or between different kinds of Muslims in Spain. Understanding the robustness and appeal of racially-structured political imaginaries in Europe today demands precisely this sort of careful, minute attention. While anthropology may arguably be particularly well-equipped for such an endeavor, it has yet to rise to the challenge, extend its unique insights, and trouble the dominance that other disciplines have consolidated in the field.
These books provide a starting place. Arkin, Kimberly A. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. European Islamophobia Report. Berardi, Franco. Semiotext e. Bowen, John R.
Read City Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary (Routledge Advances in Ethnography)
Princeton: Princeton University Press. Brubaker, Rogers. Bunzl, Matti. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press. European Union. Fernando, Mayanthi L. Durham: Duke University Press.
Ford, Robert Anthony, and Matthew J. New York: Routledge. Ghodsee, Kristen Rogheh. Herzfeld, Michael. Holmes, Douglas R. Kalmar, Ivan. Mandel, Ruth Ellen. Mepschen, Paul. Modest, Wayne, and Anouk de Koning. Muehlebach, Andrea Karin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Partridge, Damani J.
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New Anthropologies of Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Schiffauer, Werner. Shoshan, Nitzan. Silverstein, Paul A. Algeria in France: Transpolitics, Race, and Nation. Stoler, Ann Laura. Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times. Vollebergh, Anick. You are commenting using your WordPress.