Antropologia miasta – urbanizacja, przestrzen i relacje spoleczne
ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE CITY – URBANIZATION, SPACE AND SOCIAL RELATIONS
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This paper discusses the tensions between empirical and theoretical analyses of the city. It argues that a distinction between "anthropology of the city" and "anthropology in the city" ought to be made. The former aims at understanding the city as a whole, while the latter is based upon participant observation and classic fieldwork wherein the "urban experience" is studied in a first-hand fashion. While there is a veritable anthropological tradition of studies in the urban milieu, there is not enough adequate theoretical discussion on understanding the city as a whole. The failure of the research project led by Rem Koolhaas in Nigerian Lagos is an apt example of what is called "naive urban anthropology", where the two are confused. After presenting and critiquing Koolhaas' research, this paper argues that in order to develop a more theoretical understanding of urbanization one needs to follow in the wake of urban theory devised by David Harvey and Neil Smith. It argues that most predicaments in urban theory stem from the domination of thinking within the confines of the paradigm of "absolute space". The paper gives a historical account of the emergence of absolute space, and then shows how it has been eclipsed by both relative and relational spaces. It shows how Harvey's inverted ontology, giving primacy to space and not to place, can alleviate some of the current shortcomings of urban anthropology, and how the theoretical perspective ought to be complimented with anthropological studies of the emergent new "urban ways of life" in contemporary cities.
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