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Transformation and Continuity in Urban Space

The Smartphone as a Companion to Digital Teaching and Learning Processes in Extracurricular Learning Settings

Julian Zimmermann, Julian Happes and Nadja Bergis

The progressive digitization of society is irreversibly changing education. Specialists in teaching methodologies are having to address questions raised by the digital revolution in schools and develop appropriate training for teachers. This article responds to this revolution by proposing that smartphones be used to support digital teaching and learning processes in extracurricular learning settings. Specifically, it presents digital city tours as potential tools designed to help learners to explore the urban space integral to their living environment, recognize its historical dimension, and work on this dimension by developing digital narratives. The smartphone is understood here as a tool that makes it possible for learners to experience history and that encourages them to develop learning skills.

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Blood and the City

Animal Representations and Urban (Dis)orders during the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ in Istanbul and Khartoum

Alice Franck, Jean Gardin and Olivier Givre

Based on comparative fieldwork studies of the Muslim ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, this article questions the places, shapes and stakes of ritual animal death in the urban space. The examples of Istanbul (Turkey) and Khartoum (Sudan) illustrate different but comparable perceptions, practices and management of a ritual event simultaneously associated with religious traditions and confronted with deep transformations in urbanised and globalised societies. Between ritual normalcy and controversial practice, sacrifice in the city is not reducible to a religious matter but addresses at once spatial, social and cultural issues, informed by economic and political stakes. Through a ritual performance and its manifold aspects, the article explores the multiple and evolving representations of the place and role of animals (and their death) in an urban context.

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Downgraded by Upgrading

Small-scale Traders, Urban Transformation and Spatial Reconfiguration in Post-reform Vietnam

Kirsten W. Endres

This article examines some of the ruptures and contestations that have emerged in the context of urban restructuring and market redevelopment policies in Hanoi, Vietnam. Public markets have become sites of contestation and struggle over the commoditization and use of public urban space: large plots of state-owned real estate in the inner city are handed over to private investment companies for development, in the process of which small-scale traders are losing their means of economic survival in the marketplace. These forms of accumulation by dispossession likewise reflect processes of social and spatial reconfiguration that exclude the urban poor and other 'uncivilized' subjects from public visibility by creating up-scaled spaces of lifestyle and consumption for the newly emerging classes of high-end consumers. Such processes of dispossession are gendered and impact on different kinds of traders in different ways.

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Paul-François Tremlett

In the autumn of 2011 and the spring of 2012, the Occupy London protests, informed by the ideal of a moral, territorially defined community, caught the imagination of British and global publics. For a short while, this moral imaginary was mobilized to contest some of the most glaring contradictions of the neo-liberal city. I argue that the Occupy protests in London registered a sense of public outrage at the violation of certain 'sacred' norms associated with what it means to live with others. More concretely, I contend that Occupy London was an experiment initiated to open out questions of community, morality, and politics and to consider how these notions might be put to work. These questions were not merely articulated intellectually among expert interlocutors. They were lived out through the spatially and temporally embodied occupation of urban space.

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David Henig

If the first step in developing an ethnography of everyday diplomacy requires rescaling analytical focus on the forms of mediated exchange beyond the realm of the nation-state, this needs to be followed by an exploration of the ‘sites’ where everyday diplomacy actually takes place. One such ‘site’, which epitomizes the quintessence of diplomatic practice, is dining and commensality. By re-scaling this axiom beyond state-level diplomacy, I explore how the notion of sofra [table/dining etiquette] is deployed by a Muslim Dervish brotherhood in a post-cosmopolitan town in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. I suggest that the notion of sofra embodies both a mode of being diplomatic as well as a site of everyday diplomacy. The sofra thus enables the brotherhood to stage ‘events of hospitality’ to forge and mediate relationships between various ‘others’, locally and transnationally.

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The ethnographic negative

Capturing the impress of boredom and inactivity

Bruce O'Neill

Outside the main railway station in Bucharest, Romania, otherwise unemployed day laborers hustle for small change as informal parking lot attendants (parcagii). While their efforts yield numerous ethnographic observations of entrepreneurial activity, these attendants report “doing nothing” day in and day out. This article explores the tension between etic observations and emic feelings in order to ask a methodological question: how can “not doing” and “absent activity” be captured within an ethnographic method primed to observe activity constantly? In response, this article takes inspiration from photography to develop “the negative” as a technique for bringing the impress of absent activity on social worlds into ethnographic view. The intent of this methodological intervention is to open new theoretical lines of flight into the politics of inactivity.

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Politics in the Piyasa

Marching, Marketing and the Emergence of Gay Identities in Istanbul

Samuel Williams

The emergence of gay identities in Istanbul is often regarded as a practical result of mobilisation by minority sexual rights NGOs. Indeed, Istanbul Pride emerged in the early 2000s as a widely-referenced exemplar of the political promise of street-level activism in Turkey. Tracing how gay initially was used in the nightlife market around İstiklal Street and reconstructing the early history of agitation for an annual Pride march, I argue that street traders and small-scale entrepreneurs, not street-level campaigners, have played the critical role in prising open spaces where men could come to identify themselves and be identified as gay. Moreover, spaces afforded by particular fixed-place businesses in the nightlife market critically shaped the initial forms of political association involving gay men that were able to develop and consolidate in the city.

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Self and the City

The Politics of Monuments

Karen Kipphoff

This text looks at the function of monuments and to some extent architecture in the public space. It focuses especially on those countries that have undergone sweeping historical changes, such as Romania, Germany, and Russia, while attempting to convey not only the historical and cultural information but the very personal, physical sensations of the encounter a human being might have when in the proximity of monuments and spaces. The images are 360 degree surround photography, where the photographer's location constituted the very center of the image, thus making the photographer's subjectivity the invisible monument of the seemingly documentary image.

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Reassembling the Lucky Gods

Pilgrim Economies, Tourists, and Local Communities in Global Tokyo

Tatsuma Padoan

This article intends to analyze the emergence of new subjectivities and economic discourses, and the semiotic construction of sacred places in global Tokyo as inventively constituted within the popular urban pilgrimage routes of the Seven Lucky Gods (shichifukujin). While a specific neoliberal discourse in Japan linked to tourism and the media has promoted the reinvention of traditional pilgrimage sites as New Age “power spots” informed by novel forms of temporality and subjectivity, urban communities living in those places, with their specific concerns and problems related to the local neighborhoods, often generate pilgrimage spaces that are radically different from those of the “neoliberal pilgrims.” I will thus argue that the pilgrimage of the Seven Lucky Gods emerges as a double discourse through which religious institutions and urban collectives semiotically assemble themselves not only by rebranding older sites as neoliberal power spots through media and tourism practices, but also by creatively producing hybrid subjectivities, sacred places, and alternative ontologies that are set apart from neoliberal economies.

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Racial or Spatial Categorisations?

A Focus on the French Setting

Magali Bessone

The hypothesis developed in the paper is that the relation between race and space, under-explored in philosophy, is a powerful theoretical instrument for understanding racial injustices and can be used to renew racial categorisation in a more critical, transformative manner. It argues that only constructivism, in its 'interactive constructionism' version (Hacking 1999), can make sense of both concepts in a relevant way for political theory, and provide a general critical frame to study the relation between both concepts, thereby replying to the powerful arguments of racial scepticism. After specifying what such a position entails for the 'race' concept, the paper argues that 'space', itself conceived in a constructionist perspective, is a core element of current referents of 'race' in our folk conceptions. It shows that France, despite its pretence of racial blindness, is not a counter-example, but rather reinforces the hypothesis. Hence, space should be more thoroughly reinvestigated at an epistemological and theoretical level in exploring our racial thinking.