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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011

(P129)

Performing neighbourhood

Location Tower A, Piso 0, Room 3
Date and Start Time 18 Apr, 2011 at 11:30

Convenor

José Cavaleiro Rodrigues (CRIA/ESCS - Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa) email
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Short Abstract

Neighbourhoods are especially meaningful places for people and their social lives. This panel discusses the contemporary construction processes of this particularly close form of social space, looking simultaneously at internal interactions and the interference of global structures and external dynamics.

Long Abstract

Long after the Chicago School and the critique to essentialized visions of urban space and still under the analytical influence of deterritorialization due to the increase of global flows, neighbourhoods remain a solid scale to observe and interpret grounded everyday aspects of human life. Not because the neighbourhood will ever be a self contained unit or a determinant category, but because it may well provide the context where supralocal linkages and meso and macro processes become real and visible in the texture and fabric of concrete social experiences performed by people.

This panel includes presentations and actualizes debates on a) gendered, classed, generational and professional socio-spatial practices as part of particular subcultures and identity formations and dynamics; b) the way educational, political and religious ideologies combined with processes of economic and social change, affect or interact with local order, relationships, initiatives and connections between people and places; c) spaces and social behaviours and representations as objects intervened by media, expressive cultures and creative large scale expertise.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Performing neighbourhood in Moroccan town quarters

Author: Heide Studer (University of Vienna)  email
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Short Abstract

Relating to my fieldwork in town quarters in Morocco in 2009/10, I discuss everyday practices of women and the significance for the constitution of space. Opening and closing the house, looking, greeting, working and clothing are means to perform neighbourhood and experience belonging.

Long Abstract

Everyday practices in the town Kasba Tadla are taken as an example for experiences of belonging. Neighbourhood interactions centre on households and include mutual exchanges of attention, respect, support and goods. They are investigated as common practices. In line with Appadurai (1998) I see neighbourhoods as historically grounded and contextual, but they are not necessarily constituted in opposition to something else. In a Moroccan context, I suggest that neighbourhoods originate in the relations of the people living within it. These relations are connected to the social concepts of closeness and segmentation. Gendered space, processes of urbanization, migration and the emergence of a middle class also influence the perception of belonging.

Spatial practices in different parts of town vary considerably. The practices in the historical town centre and informal settlements build on daily exchanges of the people living next door. Borders of 'being at home' are blurred, they change from the house to the neighbourhood, with temporal and personal variations. Many women spend much time in front of the house with household chores and constantly watch and comment what is going on. Their children grow up in a community of households. Men mostly pass through, but take part in networks of mutual help. In planned town quarters the doors tend to be closed, also during daytime. In front of the house the bodily presence of women and children decreases. Neighbourhood in such town quarters is performed less extensive, gendered space diminishes and the importance of social contacts outside the neighbourhood increases.

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Just hanging around: everyday uses of informal space among suburban youth in Pori, Finland

Author: Katri Tella (University of Turku)  email
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Short Abstract

Youth is experiencing and using the environment from its own sub cultural point of view which differs from adult scenery. But How the Finnish youth living in suburban areas is making alternative and informal uses of everyday space in its home environment?

Long Abstract

Young people spending time and gathering as a group in public spaces are sometimes seen as a negative element in environment. For instance in Pori, there has been writings in the local newspaper that elder people are afraid of young people grouping in front of shopping center and some other public spaces. The main problem is based on the fact that local youth is experiencing and using the environment from its own sub cultural point of view which differs from adult scenery.

But, how in fact, the Finnish youth living in suburban areas is making alternative and informal uses of everyday space in its home environment. The case is local but the uses of environment are very general. The young people are choosing the best places for hiding from control and at the same time experiencing the environment with whole body: seeking shelter from cold weather or finding the sunniest place of the area, and also making signals to those places by marking and renaming them. And the actions are done in those places in spite of what purpose the places and its structures were originally planned to serve.

Research material for the study has been collected by interviewing young people during the special field workshops.

The research is part of the research project Suburban Pori/University of Turku, Finland.

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Prison officers: how social and professional identity make places

Author: Raphael Sabaini (USP - Universidade de São Paulo)  email
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Short Abstract

In a global context over prison system, this paper analyzes how professional and social practices of prison officers changes the context of a Brazilian small town. The city dynamics is swayed by daily tensions of it's two prisons, but the officers position increases their agency on town social life

Long Abstract

Concerning recent Brazilian public security policies, especially regarding the increasing number of prisons built outside the metropolitan areas, this study intends to examine the everyday social and professional life of prison officers from Itirapina, a countryside town at the State of São Paulo (Brazil), where two prisons had been established. The analysis takes into account the perspective of those officers over the impact on the county caused by the prison transferring to the countryside. Similarly to the inmates, the officers' routine is connected to prison, hence their vocabulary and ways of acting shifts between the prison system and the urban places of the small city. The discourses construction and values that places the agent in a privileged social position and status will be analyzed; along to the ways that position increases their agency on city's social life, reshaping the urban space. Owing to that phenomenon, it is inadequate to classify Brazilian prisons as "total institutions", as Goffman (1974) puts it. The social production of urban space cannot be left aside, for it becomes the site of new relations, based on practices from the prison system. Inside prison meanings and practices spreads and are reproduced by that professional group practices and influences.

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Les coursives de mémoires: constructions identitaires et racisme

Author: Marisa Ruiz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)  email
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Short Abstract

On propose un regard des effets globales à travers nos observations dans un espace locale. On verra comment un cybercafé devient un endroit où les habitants d´un quartier populaire se rencontrent et construisent un dispositif de mémoire. Ce travail montre que le racisme continue à être un élément substantiel dans l´échec des relations communautaires des cités en France mais surtout dans l´échec de l´interaction communicative entre les habitants de ces espaces marginalisés.

Long Abstract

Pendant la rédaction de ce travail, une politique agressive d´expulsion contre la population gitane est impulsé par le gouvernement français, malgré les nombreuses manifestations des organismes internationaux et du Parlement Européen.

Parallèlement, les associations d´un quartier populaire de Toulouse se mobilisent contre l´expulsion d´un habitant sénégalais en situation irrégulier. De manière paradoxale, et en contraste avec la politique répressive contre les immigrants, quatre ans sont passés depuis l´inauguration de la Cité Nationale de l´Histoire de l´Immigration (CNHI) à Paris, endroit qui a par objectif l´intégration des immigrants en France.

Pour tout cela, dans cette présentation on exposera comment les sujets d´un quartier, considéré « périphérique », se perçoivent à eux-mêmes, en tant que membres de la société française ou pas, en construisant ou reconstruisant leurs identités face à la société hégémonique; dans quelle mesure les sujets font attention ou pas à la question du racisme et à la discrimination; comment ils nous racontent leurs souvenirs et leurs expériences migratoires, dans un espace ouvert et de négociation comme un cybercafé et dans quelle mesure le passé partage des codes symboliques dans ces histoires de mouvement.

From the centre to the edge: how insecurity affects the interactions in public life

Authors: Ximene Rêgo (ISCTE)  email
Alexandra Ramos (FPCEUP)  email
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Short Abstract

From 2 ethnographic studies conducted in Porto, we explore how fear of crime may influence the interactions of public life. Either in the anonymity of the street, or in relations of proximity developed in a community context, insecurity tends to be reflected in the most ordinary aspects of life.

Long Abstract

Fear of crime dwells and feeds on social relations. In order to examine how it determines movements of approach and retraction in public life, we proceed to analyze and merge two ethnographic records collected in Porto: one focused in relations between strangers, mostly those that take place in the anonymity of the street, where interactions contain a greater potential for suspicion and mistrust; other obtained in a community - the neighbourhood of Cerco - settled in a sensitive area in the eastern part of town, where relationships between proximity and danger can be set. The normative city (or the street perspective) defines some practices, enacted to organize daily life in an urban environment perceived as predatory. These practices are rooted on several cognitive city maps and define specific security measures, particular shapes of threat, and finally draw social boundaries. From the relegated city (or the community perspective) we explore the relationship between this community and the street - these practices also being based on maps, measures, figures and boundaries, now performed by those who, immediately before, were the threat itself. In either case, the fear of crime tends to be reflected in the more ordinary and mundane aspects of existence.

Town is my place

Author: Fernando Pereira (ESEI Maria Ulrich / Universidade Católica Portuguesa)  email
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Short Abstract

The Kindergarten and elementary school teachers of basic education training has been developing a pedagogy of urban living that has challenged the construction of a theoretical and practical learning programs, which we intend to discuss in this paper.

Long Abstract

The city is a land of children, one of the foundations of their identity, but constitutes a more opaque, anonymous and higher risk. In view of the fireworks in the city, children are locked in rooms, introduce them to practices and attitudes of anxiety on the rare street activities, pedagogy refuge in parks or take them for walks distant and overwhelming. This ignores the neighbors and places, landscapes and the corner stores, institutional resources and the memories and the life that abounds all over the place. The preparation of Kindergarten and elementary school teachers of basic education to children has been developing a pedagogy of urban living that has challenged the construction of a theoretical and practical learning programs, which we intend to discuss in this paper.

Transmission, performance, and identity in a Kuchipudi dance community in an American suburb

Author: Catherine Kerst (Library of Congress)  email
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Short Abstract

An exploration of the multi-layered and innovative strategies for teaching and enacting the technique, myth, poetry, storytelling, and rhythms of Kuchipudi classical dance in a multicultural American suburb. Using the techniques of field research, this paper will examine how the creativity and dynamism of the Kuchipudi dance drama form, which originated in 17th century Andhra Pradesh, has evolved in significant ways in its diverse and new setting, retaining its distinctiveness at the same time as it crosses cultural and gender barriers and identities.

Long Abstract

Sutradhar Institute of Dance & Related Arts, established in 1995, aims to bring the Indian classical dance traditions of Kuchipudi to students in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC through an exploration of Indian myth, epic, poetry, storytelling, and movement. Founded and guided by Nilimma Devi, Kuchipudi dancer, educator, and choreographer, the Institute currently brings together dancers from many backgrounds. Devi, born in pre-partition Pakistan, and of Punjabi heritage, studied classical dance in New Delhi from an early age and, in her teens, discovered a passion for Kuchipudi dance in Andhra Pradesh.

Kuchipudi is a dance drama tradition that originated in seventeenth century male- and caste- exclusive Andhra Pradesh. Currently, Sutradhar's practioners and students reflect an intergenerational array of cultural backgrounds regardless of caste, heritage, or language. Devi's personal and professional journey, expressed through her artistry and multi-layered identity, provides a pattern for this manifestation of Kuchipudi expressive performance, as she strives to nurture her students with a balanced tension of the structural core of Kuchipudi with individual artistic expression in a place vastly different from its original context.

Using the techniques of field research, interviews, and video documentation, this paper will examine how the creativity and dynamism of the Kuchipudi art form has evolved in Sutradhar artistry and expressive performance, retaining a distinctiveness at the same time as it crosses cultural and gender barriers, and is no longer experienced solely as the representation of a diasporic community.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.