Envisaging L'Aquila
edited by Alessandro Coppola

International Summer School in Urban Ethnography

Trento, 3-7 September 2013

The Summer School in Urban Ethnography @ UNITN aims to provide participants with an inside view on the practice of urban ethnography. Its key focus is understanding the city through ethnographic approaches at large. As the majority of the world’s population now lives in cities (according to United Nations Habitat Agency’s data), and as the complexity of urban space and urban life increases, it becomes all the more urgent to develop new regards and gain new insights on the urban process.

Urban ethnography has a long tradition, which basically coincide with the birth of American sociology. Yet, far from being a set of stabilized protocols, the ethnographic study of the city has undergone a number of major sea changes. Urban ethnography has a lively tradition of inner debate, controversies, and sometimes also heated exchanges. This is because working in urban settings raises a number of issues that are simultaneously epistemological, political and ethical. Consequently, creating forums where adepts, students, cadets and scholars may familiarize themselves with the status of the discipline and absorb the tools and tricks of the trades directly from long-time practitioners is essential.

The Summer School is devoted to create a rich, informal space of learning and exchange. The School will explore in-depth a range of topics that at the heart of current debates, including:

– The study of urban public spaces, community spaces, and private spaces and their changing balance;

– Urban interaction; spatial articulations, regimes, boundaries and mobilities in the city;

– Global urban trends and transformations: gentrification, neighborhood up-scaling, symbolic and cultural economy, iconic architecture, segregation, suburbanization and beyond;

– The uses of new media technologies and urban informational infrastructures;

– The politics and economy of urban events.

Teaching method will be based mainly on interactive formats, such as workshops, data sessions, ‘ethnographer’s kitchen’ sessions. One major inaugural lecture is also scheduled. Presentation of case studies and on-going research will occupy a large share of the allotted time. An important role will be played by the assistants-tutors, fresh PhDs who will help consolidating the group, facilitating discussion and animating debates. Reading materials and other relevant data for exchange will be circulated well in advance among participants, ensuring that they arrive at the meeting with a strong shared focus.

The first edition of the Summer School in Urban Ethnography @ UNITN draws on the expertise of the Department of Sociology in the study of urban sociology, urban culture and territorial analysis, as developed for instance at the Urban Ethnography Laboratory, which has already organized various series of seminars on both classic ethnography and current research.

The Summer School is also crucially supported by the ethnography journal Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, published by il Mulino (Bologna). The journal acts as a referent for high-quality ethnographic studies in Italy and promotes ethnographic research at large, publishing in English, French and Italian. In 2012, the journal Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa has organized a conference in Bergamo which has been attended by over 250 participants from all over Europe. The 2012 Bergamo conference has consolidated a community of young ethnographers either enrolled in PhD courses or fresh PhDs, which also represent the major pool and target population for the Trento Summer School. The School will seek to become one of the hubs for advanced training and reflection on urban ethnography, mirroring the growing interest into ethnographic research methods that has appeared in Italy over the last few years. The School’s strategy will be to meet the request for higher education in ethnography that has appeared in the European academic market.

Participants will be selected on the basis of their C.V., Statement of Interest in the Program, and abstract of their Resesarch Project. The Call will be spread widely across world key academic institutions (email lists, websites, blogs, and social media).


Keynote speakers

Jack Katz (University of California Los Angeles) Methods for Mortals: A Sociological Grounding for Sociological Methodology

Jeff Ferrell (Texas Christian University), Drifting with Urban Ethnography

Mattias Kärrholm (Lund University), Territorial Production at Urban Squares

Marco Cremaschi (University of Rome 3), Talking neighbourhoods: planners in the bush of narratives.

Federico Rahola (University of Genova), Urban Battlegrounds


Organizing Committee

Giolo Fele giolo.fele@unitn.it

Chiara Bassetti chiara.bassetti@unitn.it

Andrea Mubi Brighenti andrea.brighenti@unitn.it

Domenico Perrotta domenico.perrotta@unibg.it

How to Apply

The School is for 20 participants. The fee for participation is 375 €, inclusive of tuition, cofee breaks, lunches, and accommodation; travel costs are not included. To apply please send your Statement of Interest, your C.V., and a 500-word abstract of your Research Project (addressing the following key points: empirical context, focus, methods, research questions, advancement, name of the supervisor) to urbanethnography@unitn.it. Applications are open until July 15th, 2013. Acceptance will be notified within July 21st. Final registration and payment within July 31st 2013.

+ info | http://www.unitn.it/sociologia/evento/29505/international-summer-school-in-urban-ethnography

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