The City as a Subjective Reality and the Space of Social Practices (Based on Research in Novosibirsk)


2017, Vol. 1. №2

The City as a Subjective Reality and the Space of Social Practices (Based on Research in Novosibirsk)

For citation: Ilyinykh S. A. 2017. “The City as a Subjective Reality and the Space of Social Practices (Based on Research in Novosibirsk)”. Siberian Socium, vol. 1, no 2, pp. 72-81. DOI: 10.21684/2587-8484-2017-1-2-72-81

About the author:

Svetlana A. Ilyinykh, Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Professor, Head of the Department of Sociology, Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation); eLibrary AuthorID, ORCID, Scopus AuthorID,


This article shows that a city is not only a territorial unit, but also a subjective reality, reflected in the perceptions and attitude of its inhabitants as a result of the surrounding space’s development. This attitude manifests itself in social practices, which the townspeople realize in the urban space. In this article, the authors explain a number of statements, including “space sociologising”, the movement of interactions from a purely physical space to a social space, the possibility of constructing representations about the urban space based on the media effects, the city as a space for social practices. The results of the empirical study conducted in the administrative centre of the Siberian Federal District reveal the gender specificity of perception in Novosibirsk. A specific social-demographic community perceives the city from the position of what opportunities the urban space, with its network of social institutions, can offer to the representatives of this community. For example, women find important the up-to-date modern standards of life, while men prefer creativity and growth. Both of these groups choose well-known objects as the “calling cards” of the city (for example, Akademgorodok). For men, technical and sports facilities are more important, as well as a dolphinarium combining artificial structures and natural content. The choice of local history museum, philharmonic society and others by women is explained by their more active engagement in the cultural development of their family members. The authors show that the metropolis is often perceived by the townspeople through the prism of problematic aspects (bad roads, inefficient public transport work, lack of parking and interchanges, noisy construction, and environmental violations among others), which, in the respondents’ opinions, reflects the unsatisfactory work of the authorities. This article also identifies the prevailing practices of the citizens’ social activity.


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