forum urban_land_scapes

In addition to anthropological work on large cities and metropolises like Vienna, the department conducts research on the negotiation of urban size and position, considering cities of different size, and it furthermore reflects on analytical questions and terms in the field of urban anthropology. For example, in the last years a research project studied so-called “middle-sized cities” and the everyday life of their residents, focusing on how their place of residence becomes associated with a range of meanings through negotiations between different institutions and actors. In this context, the term “urbanity” was questioned regarding its normative association with a certain type of large city. It was suggested to adopt a pluralistic understanding of urbanity and to apply the term to different configurations of urban life. In recent years, the focus of research has been expanded to the cultural analysis of different urban as well as rural spaces: praxeologically oriented analyses of space examine not only reciprocal references but also the imaginations of “city” and “countryside” in their respective environments as well as their transformation. A large interdisciplinary research project furthermore considers spatial logics of competition. Another focus of research are insular spaces. In the last decades, islands have experienced an increased attention in different research topics: flight and migration, tourism, economy, island cities, and archipelagos. Current studies focus on questions of representation and relationality, aiming to overcome the static definition of the insular form and to emphasize the islands as parts of complex networks, relationships, and assemblages. New approaches emerge also on a conceptual level, e.g. in the context of the epistemological question of the “tangibility of the city” and through a research perspective considering the city and its promises. And finally, the production of urban space in the context of urban development and urban renewal projects is discussed with a focus on the actors involved in these processes. Concrete topics of research in this field are the commodification of dwelling and public space and the “right to the city” in the context of planning and political decision-making processes.
The forum facilitates regular exchange about current research and other activities in the field of spatial cultural analyses, but also serves to develop future initiatives and to discuss theoretical questions and concepts. It furthermore offers the possibility to connect with researchers from other departments and disciplines and with relevant actors and stakeholders outside the academic field. Since 2011, for example, there have been yearly workshops organized by the “Network for Urban Cultural Studies” at the department.
Apart from research projects, presentations and publications in the field of urban_land_scapes, this focus of research is also reflected in the courses offered at the department.

 


contact

Susanna Azevedo
Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber
Brigitte Zamzow
Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber