If we walk through the city and try to capture its hidden symbolic logic and cultural codes we are all influenced by our very own attitudes and perceptions, as well as our professional and social education. We might see the same city, but we see it in very different ways, with a different mindset. What could be creative strategies in urban research to capture what you are sensing?

Robert E. Park said that one need to get the hands dirty when doing ethnographic research. In order to feel and literally grab the data in your hands, you have to touch it; it has to have a specific kind of materialization, so the urban data the researcher is collecting becomes tangible. The material becomes tangible, it gives sensing a form. And, thereby, the immaterial imagination of urban settings we all capture inside of us is materialized and becomes visible.

The first day of the Workshop “Ethnography in Urban Settings” was therefore about the materialization of urban ethnographic data, about getting your hands dirty in the urban field. The “Fold-Up Mapping Booklet” was a tool to structure this sensing combined with a “research walk” on Spadina Ave.

See the “Fold-Up Mapping Booklet” for Cognitive Mapping Research on Spadina Ave. by Ingrid Enriquez-Donissaint. As the sensing of urban settings is complex, one can get better access the urban ethnographic data by talking about it:


Text, Concept & Video (c) Carolin Genz, 2017
Mapping (c) Ingrid Enriquez-Donissaint, 2017

Posted by:Dr. Carolin Genz

Dr. Carolin Genz is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University and Research Associate in the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces" in the project area "Knowledge of Space" at Technische Universtität Berlin. As an urban anthropologist in the intersecting fields of social anthropology, human geography, and urban studies, she constantly develops ethnographic methods to capture the socio-spatial constitution of urban practices. Her research focuses on spatial theory and practices of resistance, housing, and gender.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s