Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

The city underground

The City Underground: Processes of Exclusion in a Gentrifying City

Verantwortlich: Talja Blokland

This research project was initially funded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Wenner Grenn Foundation for Basic Anthropological Research (2000-2005) and is currently in the last stage of analyses and writing-up. Based on a detailed ethnographic study in a housing project in a medium-sized city on the US East Coast, the book in the making starts with the premise that in using space beyond the neighborhood borders, the 'making of culture' in the 'struggle among coexisting diverse life worlds' (Comaroff & Comaroff, 1992: 17-8; cf. Geertz 1973: 5) happens, and it is here that the relations between fragments of what we conveniently call 'culture' need to be sought. In more plain language, this means that 'acting ghetto' is not a practice developed in isolation within the borders of the ghetto, but a practice vis-a-vis the practice of everyday life and its challenges 'out there'. The project aims to elaborate this argument through thick description of events and experiences gathered in 2 years of intense fieldwork.