Campus: PADOVA

Language: French

Teaching period: Second Semester


Number of ECTS credits allocated: 5

Prerequisites: The course is open to all students who, from different disciplinary backgrounds (urban-architectural, heritage and history studies, social sciences) wants to become familiar to the anthropological approach to the city. This is an introductory course and therefore it does not require some prerequisites but the generous wish to risk a new practice and its knowledge.
Examination methods: The writing of a "portfolio" whose istructions in order to its composition and redaction will be given at the beginning of the course
Course unit contents: Since 2007 half the world's population lives in cities and this percentage is expected to rise irresistibly: in 2050 according to the UN estimates, the 75% of the world population will be an urban population. Facing this growing movement, the urban dynamics (social, spatial, temporal one) increasingly appear therefore to be a preferred medium to understand the global processes (inherent to the political, the economy, the imaginary, the new media ) and the local response to their shaping pressures. The main objective of the course is to indicate the relevance and the originality of the anthropological research practice:
- To connect the public critical analysis of the urban micro-social local with the broader context in which it is related
- To understand the effects that these processes have on the forms of life of individuals and groups as they are adopted, challenged, reworked and reinvented.
The course will introduce to the different and multiple anthropological questions (in historical as systematic perspective), to the theoretical approaches, to the ethnographic research to analyze the city and the urban life today, in the domestic space as in the public one. We will begin by examining the origins and the development of urban areas as their identification in social theory and particularly in the anthropological one, as places of disciplinary research and interest. We will project the disciplinary sub-field "urban anthropology" the historical debate inherent to our disciplinary identity, its paradigms and correlative methodological reflection.
We analyze the strategies and the issues related to the current patrimonialization of the city according to the practice of urban anthropological research. We will emphasize through the study of cases, the different logics of the public policy makers, architects, town planners and the residents as well as their conflicts and their contribution in shaping the contemporary urban spaces. These spaces that stage, in pictures, stories and installations the urban tangible and intangible heritage, let do come to the fore, the identification conditions to the built environment, ancient or recent, and the ways in which the semantic investment of the past (ever-changing and renewed) can raise cohesion or conflict.
Then we will put attention to the study of contemporary urban marginal areas, questioning the concept of the ghetto and socio-spatial segregation. We will explore how today we learn as anthropologists the daily life and the space of these liminal locations of the city and how to recognize their connection with the historical and political processes, and economic factors that structure the city that produce them. Later we will explore how the urban built environment, represented and lived shape identities and social groups and it is in turn shaped by them. We will do this through the analysis of the urbanization and the transformation of the urban landscape. That will be an opportunity to assess the extent of the "spatial turn" in anthropological research.
Throughout all the course it will be emphasized the contribution, in an interdisciplinary context of urban studies, of the anthropological research can give today to the collective understanding of issues concerning the built environment and its design, the urban planning and the related public policies, the nature of social bonds and their care in the city.