About the Event
The Panel “Doing Urban Ethnography: New Interdisciplinary and Methodological Approaches to Comparative Urban Research” is part of the RC21 Conference "In and Beyond the City: Emerging Ontologies, Persistent Challenges and Hopeful Futures".
Academic, as well as non-academic disciplines with a research interest in urban transformation processes, face methodological challenges when searching for new ways to visualize and analyze the urban every day, its social and spatial practices, connections, interactions, infrastructures and rising complexities.
The panel will focus on new interdisciplinary and creative methodological approaches in the intersection of sociology and ethnography to capture the inner logic of the social and constructed environment of cities. Urban ethnographic methods (e.g. participant observations, fieldnote writings, mappings or go-alongs) help to gain access to the social and spatial practices of the urban every day. Furthermore, urban ethnography facilitates the analysis of data sets regarding embodied socio-spatial practices.
Therefore, the panel invites scholars with interdisciplinary approaches who bridge theoretical concepts with new ethnographic research methods to address more comprehensively the complexity of urban research issues today. The panel invites presenters who contribute to theoretical concepts on pressing issues of global urbanism and comparative theorizations, e.g. urban social inequality/injustice, gender or migration.
Works should provide a theoretical grounding to methodological challenges, and make a case as to the relevance of the panel topics:
- What methodological concepts help us to think beyond our very own disciplinary boundaries?
- Ideas, which are not only connected to “terms” but focus on comparative theorizations or didactic mediation, e.g. how methodological tools can be developed to capture the notions of time, embedded imaginations or the invisible or unspeakable dimensions of everyday urban practices?
- How do urban imaginaries change the way people produce and form new urban spaces?
- How to enhance new (digital, visual, creative) methods in the intersection of sociology and ethnography to capture growing complexities of embodied knowledge and urban practices that shape, produce and challenge the urban today?
Researchers and practitioners from many fields have been adapting ethnographic research methods to suit the complex demands of contemporary urban settings. The Urban Ethnography Lab is an initiative by scholars from the Humboldt University’s Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, the Department of Social- and Cultural Geography from Humboldt-University of Berlin and University of Toronto’s Ethnography Lab.