Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) / Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) / Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
Urban Sociology, Urban Analysis
Keywords: urban sociology, cultural sociology, ethnic- and migration studies, qualitative methods
The diversity of work in the creative and cultural industries: The creative cultural industries flourish in diverse cities like Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid. However, little in-depth studies have been done on how these industries work in practice and their social and spatial embeddedness in the broader urban environment. I invite the students to fill this gap in the literature and to do an ethnography of a creative district/neighborhood (such as Richard Lloyd’s Neo-bohemia about a hipster neighborhood), of a specific cultural industry like theater, music, architecture, or dance (such as David Grazian’s Blue Chicago about the Chicago blues), or of a specific cultural organization or initiative (such as Claudio Benzecry’s The Opera Fanatic on the Colón Opera House in Buenos Aires) in order to analyze the internal diversity of the creative sector/institution/neighborhood in all of its facets.
The governance of (newcomer) migrants and/or diversity in cities: Although the governance of migrants has increasingly become an urban phenomenon, many social science studies still analyze this phenomenon from a nation-state perspective. However, there is a growing need to study empirically the internal variations of citizenship ideologies and institutional practices of migrant or diversity management on the ground in cities. I invite students to study these particular urban social practices using ethnographic methods, interviewing and discourse analysis in a (arrival) neighbourhood, or in a specific institution for migration management like newcomer reception offices, asylum centers or immigration offices.
The relation between social interactions and the built environment in cities: Authors like William Whyte, Lyn Lofland, and Jane Jacobs have all studied how the built environment of plazas, subway stations, etc. influenced the social interactions between people in these public spaces. In this regard, Jacobs speaks of a ‘sidewalk ballet’ on the streets of her native New York. I invite students to study ethnographically how the urban infrastructures or the spatial organization of a place impacts social relationships between city dwellers across ethnic and social borders in public transportation, public squares, shops, etc. In this regard, it would be interesting to compare places in order to evaluate what works best under which conditions from a critical urban planning perspective.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Pleinlaan 2 Building F – Room 4.70
BE-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 629 3783