The Experience of the Place. How Territory Image Can Help in Studying Cross-Ethnical Urban Communities

Release:

2018, Vol. 2. №1

Title: 
The Experience of the Place. How Territory Image Can Help in Studying Cross-Ethnical Urban Communities


For citation: Skalaban I. A. 2018. “The Experience of the Place. How Territory Image Can Help in Studying Cross-Ethnical Urban Communities”. Siberian Socium, vol. 2, no 1, pp. 84-96. DOI: 10.21684/2587-8484-2018-2-1-84-96

About the author:

Irina A. Skalaban, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Institute of Social Technology and Rehabilitation, Novosibirsk State Technical University; skalaban@corp.nstu.ru

Abstract:

This article seeks to answer the question of whether the reconstruction of characteristic denizen place image and place experience can aid in the study of a city as a cross-ethnical community. Relying on Z. Bauman’s understanding of a city, statistical data, and empirical research of Novosibirsk, the author proves that the existence of outsider cultural groups in a modern city carries both a development potential for itself and its localised spaces and communities, as well as the risks of public opinion shift, defined by E. V. Tyrykanova as the new xenophobia. The theoretical and empirical material shows that using the image and experience of place can be perspective in assessing the state of cross-ethnical relations in localised city spaces and integration of outsider cultural groups into urban communities. This article confirms that a method of group social mapping (even in its preliminary form) can be a useful tool of data gathering and analysis. Its employment allows to understand the peculiarities of the city’s image construction by outsider ethnical groups. In addition, the author has established that the constructed image does not rely on universal cultural symbols adopted by the city dwellers, but on the symbols that reflect diaspora’s interests and values. In conclusion, there is a proved connection between the weak “imagining” of a place and a weak access to it, which, in turn, acts as a barrier to associating new citizens with local places and community. Moreover, the members of new diasporas are more likely to adapt to their urban surroundings rather than to the community, which can be seen as the first step towards their integration into the city’s space.

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