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ANT204H1 Lecture Notes - Exxonmobil, Gentrification, Urban Decay

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Saul Cohen

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ANT204: Lecture 10
March 27, 2013
Guest Lecture
o Case Study: Co-Production of Urban Spaces in the Czech Republic
o Break
o Exam Information
o Conservation and Violence (A Little More About Mac Chapin)
o Case Study 2: Developing People and Nature in Gudigwa Village
o Questions about the Essay
Case Study: Czech Republic
o Ostrava Former mining town in Czech Republic
o City infrastructure was designed during socialist rule
o Since then, the city’s population and economy went down
o Government and people are now developing new businesses there (i.e. malls,
shops, etc)
o Speaker looks at how people are using the socialist public spaces and how they
interact with the environment
o Speaker noticed architectural hybrids in the Czech Republic
Soviet era buildings that are gutted and/or modified for new uses
Ex. 1970’s apartment building with a shop being set up in a first floor
Over 1/3 of the Czech population lives in small apartments
Buildings have undergone makeovers, either private initiatives or
government initiatives
o Speaker wants to look at how the existing architecture affects human behavior and
use of the places
She also wants to look at how memories affect how people perceive the
She wants to look at how private spaces have become public, and vice
She also wants to look at the changing use of spaces
o Space is socially constructed
For example, a tourist walking downtown will have a different experience
than a local doing the same thing in the same location
o Space is underwritten in power relations
Example: A lecture auditorium which is focused on the lecturer
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In her context, the speaker says about how there was a change in power
relations since the fall of communism
Prague, for example, is the capital of the Czech Republic, which has
changed much more rapidly than the other cities due to more funding and
Ostrava is more like the other Czech cities with a more gradual
Speaker wants to examine the role of community, ideology,
community, economics, in the development of Ostrava
o Speaker mentions how for research, she must submit a proposal, go through with
the faculty and ethics board before field research
She proposes looking at a housing project, and the main town square
which had a coal mine and power plant in the middle of the city
Her methodology is observing the people in the housing complex,
participating in town events and meetings (participant observation), and
interviews of people of different generations, local city planners, activist
groups, etc.
She shows an industrial lot used for a music festival
She also plans on doing walk-alongs where she walks with locals to
understand how they get around the city
o Key Point
Space is complex and very malleable
Space is socially constructed
Space is underwritten with power relations
o Question Period
There are areas of urban decay in Ostrava, such as industrial ruins
Some of it is intentional, for tourism
o Professor’s Comment
Take a look at the buildings at UofT being gentrified
Older structures are being modified for modern uses
Examine how control of space can lead to control of society
Part 2
o Mac Chapin
Three critiques of mainstream conservation
Dissatisfaction with relationship with indigenous
Dominance of three major organizations (WWF, CI, and TNC) via
Partnering with multinational corporations
Most commented anthropological article at the time
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