Urban Anthropology

For open discussion related to the anthropology of cities and urban space.

Members: 420
Latest Activity: Mar 3


Urban anthropology addresses the social and cultural complexities of cities and urban life. Although generally seen as a subset of socio-cultural anthropology, urban anthropology overlaps with many other areas, such as economic, political and environmental anthropology, human geography, architecture, globalization, transnationalism, immigration, urbanization, and development studies. Due to their expansive size, population density and often multicultural nature, urban spaces provide distinct methodological challenges for anthropologists and ethnographers.

It is hoped that this group will foster beneficial discussion to enrich the practice of urban anthropology and to highlight the importance of understanding human societies of any scale. Please feel free to join and contribute.

Discussion Forum

Investigation of Privacy and Space in contemporary art

Started by Nicole Rademacher Mar 9, 2013.

Athens: Social Meltdown VIDEO

Started by Dimitris Dalakoglou Sep 30, 2012.

Material Culture/Anthropological Literature on a specific Ethnographic Area? 4 Replies

Started by Jannik Friberg Lindegaard. Last reply by Tracey Pahor Feb 3, 2012.

Background music in the public space, the "horror vacui" of perception. 4 Replies

Started by luca silvestri. Last reply by Rachelle Annechino Jul 4, 2011.

Getting Physical in the Field 2 Replies

Started by John McCreery. Last reply by paulrchalmers Jun 18, 2011.

Weimar Cities? 2 Replies

Started by John McCreery. Last reply by John McCreery Dec 28, 2010.

The exclusion of fishermen from the sea (Durban. South Africa) 4 Replies

Started by Sjoerd van Grootheest. Last reply by Sjoerd van Grootheest Nov 22, 2010.

Urban Anthropology-related blogs, sites and publications. Send me a link to add your blog to this list!

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Comment Wall

Comment by Keith Hart on April 13, 2010 at 12:26pm
Thanks very much, Sheyma, for this comprehensive summary. I agree that the characterization of Simmel is rather odd. I have my own views on Haussman's 8th district which was built on the ruins of the Paris commune after the Franco-Prussian war. It is an arid place.

I was interested in this from your post of 7th January: Being from the Arabian Peninsula (Persian Gulf) I am witnessing a very fast urban growth that, as of yet, has not included spatial and architectural preservation schemes in mind. My aspiration is to work towards changing that . If you get a chance, it would be good to hear more about this.
Comment by Sheyma Buali on April 16, 2010 at 6:30pm
Hi Keith, Thanks for your interest. Bahrain (and the rest of the Gulf) are going through a development wave that is quite grand. Unfortunately, a lot of what is being built is not conducive to the ecological system (lots of dredging/man-made-islands are killing the coral, the fish, and the general marine life) and is in fact quite contrived architecturally. Cities are being created, and other cities are being created within cities. What that does essentially is take attention away from the older areas that do still retain houses and structures of local architecture making them derelict, and eventually run down and demolished. My issue with this isn't just the aesthetics of the city scape (going from local architectural aesthetic and function to grand, imported architecture and function) but also the loss of spaces which have local, individual and collective memory value. In my opinion, this loss of spaces is diminishing a certain part of heritage. Fortunately though, this has come to the attention of the Ministry of Culture and Information and there is a movement towards saving entire neighborhoods. I hope that explains things a bit better.
Comment by Sheyma Buali on June 27, 2010 at 1:36am
I wonder if anybody has any suggested readings on urban tagging/graffiti.
Comment by John McCreery on September 9, 2010 at 2:20pm
Inter//states. Tokyo by night. Time-lapse photography. Amazing music. An ethnographic moment?
Comment by Francine Barone on September 9, 2010 at 9:52pm
Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by SusanLayne Nielsen on September 9, 2010 at 11:31pm
Watching it with the sound off is completely compelling. The music is great, but the images get into your head better without it. YMMV, of course.
Comment by Martha Radice on September 17, 2010 at 5:00pm
Cool sequence and I've put it on my urban anth/soc class website. I agree with Susan about the music. But I don't think it's an ethnographic moment - not until you actually talk with the people involved somehow with the film - the ones who appear in it, produce it or are watching it!
Comment by Sheyma Buali on November 4, 2010 at 5:12pm
I wanted to share a post from my own blog that I thought would be of interest here. It is about a talk given by artist Kader Attia on the background of his cous-cous construction of the Mzeb city of Ghardaia.
Comment by bashkim lajçi on November 25, 2010 at 12:01am
Very cool.
Comment by Paul Wren on March 8, 2011 at 7:07pm

Michael Smith, an archaeologist working in Mexico and addressing broad themes of urbanism around the world, has launched a new blog: Wide Urban World. He's writing about "cities as viewed from a broad historical and comparative perspective."


Definitely worth a look.


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