Fernandez-Planells, A., Figueras-Maz, M., & Pàmpols, C. F.
Recently, social movements worldwide have introduced innovations in their communication methods. The #spanishrevolution that started on 15 May 2011 shows this new-style communication in action. Amidst regional election campaigning, thousands of people, mainly young, took to the streets and occupied Spain’s main squares, becoming known as the Outraged (los Indignados) or 15M Movement. This article evaluates how the Outraged involved with the #acampadabcn, the camp in Barcelona’s central square, used online–offline tools to get information about the Movement. This research combines participant observation, surveys, in-depth interviews, and web analytics. The results show that social media were vital for getting information during 15M. While the majority of those surveyed became aware of the camps via word of mouth, a posteriori it was social media that were the main tools for informing and mobilizing. 15M Movement, together with networked social movements, has updated the communication methods of social movements.
The British premarital stag tour to Central and Eastern European destinations is commonly associated with drunk and unruly behaviour. This link frequently focuses on the inappropriate use of public spaces by stag tour groups. Drawing on participant observation with British stag tourists Krakow, Poland, it is suggested that the meanings attributed to stag tour destinations are collectively defined within the group. A distinction is made between place, which is how the destination is anticipated and imagined, and space, which is how the city is engaged with physically and socially on the ground. Within this the definition of place and space created by stag tour participants is antagonistic and both directly and indirectly contested by other actors within the spatial setting.
Over the last 30 years, social theorists have increasingly emphasized the importance of space. However, in empirical research, the dialectical relationship between social interaction and the physical environment is still a largely neglected issue. Using the theory of structuration, I provide a concrete example of why and how space matters in the cultural analysis of an urban social world. I argue that bike messengers—individuals who deliver time-sensitive materials in downtown cores of major cities—cannot be understood outside an analysis of space. Specifically, I connect the cultural significance of messenger practices to the emplacement of those practices inside the urban environment.
This article focuses on the dynamics between migrant street vendors and public security forces and the complex social production of urban public space in Guangzhou. As an answer to daily contestation of public order, security agencies reluctantly open flexible windows of business opportunities to hawkers. Zones and periods of control, ‘soft’ approaches, and categories of ethnic belonging influence everyday governance and accessibility of public space. This results in a transient public space, fluid and continuously changing, which offers a new perspective on openness and functioning of public space in urban China.
In this article, I explore how the festive culture of mulids, Egyptian Muslim saints-day festivals, troubles notions of habitus, public space, and religious and civic discipline that have become hegemonic in Egypt in the past century and how state actors attempt to “civilize” mulids by subjecting them to a spectacular, representative order of spatial differentiation. I argue that habitus must be understood as a political category related to competing relationships of ideology and
embodiment and that the conceptual and physical configuration of modern public space is intimately related to the bodily and moral discipline of its users.
An attempt is made to record conditions under which various forms of racial integration occur in a changing community and the relationship between those conditions and the means by which members of the two races attempt to cope with the challenges of sharing biracial social environments. Racial headcounts are reported for various kinds of social settings and impressions are provided of the nature and differential consequences on blacks and whites of biracial interaction in such environments. Racial integration is found to be very limited in frequency and intensity, despite biracial propinquity. It is especially limited in those circumstances where interpersonal behavior is ordinarily informal, spontaneous or intense. Transracial solidarity occurs only in circumstances in which cross-racial cues of similarity, reliability and trust are strong relative to other opportunities for social solidarity.
This article explores the public spaces of Laredo, a city situated on the border of the United States and Mexico along the Rio Grande. The construction of urban history is shaped by changes in public space—its physical settings, access to residents, and utilization by people. The author analyzes the transformation of public spaces and public events of Laredo to trace how amnesia and remembering are reflected in the cityscape. Public events reproduce assorted versions of urban history and help scholars to locate what part of history is preserved and what part is erased in the collective psyche of the community. The visual history of public spaces and events thus conserves a narration of the past, one that shapes collective memory and self-image.
This article illustrates how spatial/cultural representations come into being with data collected during a 7-month ethnographic study of two plazas, the Parque Central and the Plaza de la Culture in San José, the capital city of Costa Rica. The comparison of their history, physical and spatial symbolism, user activities and daily behaviors, and news reports and commentaries demonstrates how these cultural representations reflect meanings that change in response to the material conditions and social values of the historical period. Further, the analysis uncovers that moral contradictions in those meanings are expressed first in the traditional plaza setting, and then, are transformed into contradictions across both plazas.
This article uses participant observation data to explore teenagers' presence in two urban public spaces in Manchester, England. The urban spaces under investigation are public, but surrounded by retail outlets and act as gateways for consumption. The aim is to answer the question 'how do the rhythms of teenage life differ when ordinary and extraordinary activities occur in urban public spaces of consumption?' Lefebvre's Rhythmanalysis is employed to analyse the data and identify instances of eurhythmia (harmonious rhythms), arrhythmia (discordant rhythms) and polyrhythmia (multiple simultaneous rhythms) during periods of typical and extraordinary use. Ordinarily the teenagers used the spaces of consumption to mostly meet and socialise with friends with a small number of them using the space to skateboard. This occurred harmoniously alongside others who pass through these gateways to consumption indicating multiple rhythms. The findings indicate that the teenagers were displaced from urban space during the staging of official events which involved increased control from authorities such as the local council and police. They were replaced by a different crowd of people consisting of mostly families and adults. Paradoxically, the 'festival' atmosphere created by extraordinary events in the gateways of consumption resulted more interaction among those present despite increased control from the authorities. Rhythmanalysis proved useful in understanding of spaces when researching spaces of consumption, as it exposes the temporal and fluid nature of urban space. Ultimately, there was no room for the presence of regular users (teenagers) during the staging of extraordinary events indicating a lack of multiple rhythms.
The article discusses alternative wedding ceremonies staged in urban spaces as a statement of protest among immigrant couples that cannot marry in rabbinical courts, because they are not recognized as Jews. These public weddings are organized and sponsored by the Fishka association of young Israeli adults of Russian origin. Our field-work at Fishka included participant observation of its various events during 2013–2014, as well as in-depth interviews with the key informants, promotional materials, and video recordings of their public wedding ceremonies held in the streets of Tel-Aviv in 2009–2011. Embedded in the social history of the city and framed in the concepts of urban diversity and the politics of belonging, our ethnographic data juxtapose “Russian” street weddings with other public festivals sponsored by Fishka and other protest actions by minority groups. Alternative, civil weddings emerge as a form of active and critical citizenship among young Russian immigrants, seeking solidarity of other Israelis in the joint effort to reform the status quo and enable civil alternatives to Orthodox marriage. The active political stance and cultural activism of Fishka members challenge native Israelis’ monopoly on communal public space; young immigrants are thus carving a place for themselves in the iconic sites of the city’s public cultural sphere.
The paper begins by reviewing the discourses of sustainable development and children's rights, before mapping-out their significance to play and playgrounds. The paper then draws on fieldwork conducted in two case study communities in Wales to investigate the spatial and social places of play. The paper concludes by questioning the sustainability of playgrounds and by urging reconsideration of the role of playgrounds in the built environment.
During the process of modernization, a number of Islamic countries encouraged women to unveil. Among them, only Iran has recently returned to the earlier era of requiring women to veil themselves as the precondition of presence in public spaces. However, this time the difference was that women were already present in almost all public spaces: in universities, administrations, industries, and even in the government. Being marginalized after the revolution, Iranian women have learned how to overcome the obstacle of the veil. To maintain their presence and activity in public, they constantly reinvented new strategies to challenge the existing authority, by claiming, appropriating, and re-inventing new public spaces. Paradoxically, the reveiling of women and the gender segregation of public spaces helped many traditional women enter public spheres as social actors and to gain power, albeit in silence, in different socio-political and cultural fields. Today, more than ever, Iranian women try to conquer new public spaces/ public spheres with their transparent visibility and with a stress on their differences.
Homelessness has been a perennial concern for sociologists. It is a confronting phenomenon that can challenge western notions of home, a discrete family unit and the ascetics and order of public space. To be without a home and to reside in public places illustrates both an intriguing way of living and some fundamental inadequacies in the functioning of society. Much homelessness research has had the consequence of isolating the ‘homeless person’ as distinct category or indeed type of individual.They are ascribed with homeless identities.The homeless identity is not simply presented as one dimensional and defining, but this imposed and ill-fitting identity is rarely informed by a close and long-term engagement with the individuals it is supposed to say something about. Drawing on a recent Australian ethnographic study with people literally without shelter, this article aims to contribute to understandings of people who are homeless by outlining some nuanced and diverse aspects of their identities. It argues that people can and do express agency in the way they enact elements of the self, and the experience of homelessness is simultaneously important and unimportant to understand this. Further, the article suggests that what is presumably known about the homeless identity is influenced by day-to-day lives that are on public display.
The current debate on the tourism-development nexus has a rather static and narrow focus on the impact of tourism and overlooks that tourism has become strongly dependent on links between different localities. This article eschews these place-bounded approaches and focuses on linkages and the interplay between the social and the spatial within tourism developments. Drawing on the empirical case of street vendors in the tourist centre of Cusco, it explores how social capital and the way street vendors manoeuvre themselves in and through global and local environments offer new opportunities for tourism to contribute to poverty alleviation. It is maintained that social capital and interconnectivity are of fundamental importance in gaining a better understanding of the development potential of tourism.
The development and proliferation of mobile social networks have the potential to transform ways that people come together and interact in public space.These services allow new kinds of information to flow into public spaces and, as such, can rearrange social and spatial practices. Dodgeball is used as a case study of mobile social networks. Based on a year-long qualitative field study, this article explores how Dodgeball was used to facilitate social congregation in public spaces and begins to expand our understanding of traditional notions of space and social interaction. Drawing on the concept of parochial space, this article examines how ideas of mobile communication and public space are negotiated in the everyday practice and use of mobile social networks.
This paper presents a comparative case study of two northern suburbs in Melbourne, Australia, in order to analyze local perceptions of proximity, mobility, and spaces of community interaction within diverse neighborhoods experiencing socioeconomic and demographic transition. We first look at government policies concerning the two suburbs, which position one suburb within a narrative of gentrification and the other within a narrative of marginalization. We then draw on diverse residents’ experiences and perceptions of local space, finding that these “everyday geographies” operate independently of and often at odds with local policy narratives of demographic and socioeconomic transition. We conclude that residents’ “everyday geographies” reveal highly varied and contested experiences of sociospatial dimensions of local change, in contrast to policy narratives that are often neoliberally framed.
The literature on cities in the developing world equates segregation with the proliferations of enclaves and slums and tends to overlook how the people associated with those places are further segregated in public spaces and enclaves. To account for the symbolic partitioning of Metro Manila, I document the segregating practices of the residents of enclaves (villagers) and slums (squatters). These practices reveal a well-developed sense of place on both sides, a commitment to the relative status positioning of the two groups as expressed through their separation in space. A sense of place explains why squatters and villagers engage in segregating practices. It also enables us to identify other spatial practices that conform to or challenge its logic. Integrating practices are largely consistent with a sense of place, while desegregating practices challenge it and may set up or advance contentious situations. By using this approach we are better able to understand how class patterns of residential segregation are extended to encompass virtually all urban spaces where class interaction occurs.