How are culture and belonging produced in urban spaces?
How is belonging created?
a. Is community a scale? Community is an emotional location. So, yes it is a scale
because it's how we make sense of something like our identity.
a. Is culture something you're born into? Culture is s set of values, norms, and beliefs.
These need to be performed by you. Culture can exist outside of you, but you play a key role in actively
being a part of that culture. It is a social construct. Culture is not a static pre-given action. It's something
you have to actively perform or believe in.
b. Is culture a geographical concept? A culture that is linked to a place. Ex. Chinatown.
Most places around the world have an attached culture. But that culture can exist anywhere in the world.
Culture is often rooted in a place, hence it is geographical.
a. Is citizenship about a political sense of belonging? Citizenship is a broader term that
embodies a place of belonging.
a. How do you identify yourself? You relate either to your culture, ethnicity, gender,
sexuality, location, involvement. It often has to do with a tie to a certain location or community.
Always have a geographical sense.
Two models of human interaction (Tonnies)
In the late 19th century there was an evident division of social relations. He established a framework for
how people related to on another in urban life.
1. Gemeinschaft (community): togetherness, primarily organized around the family, relationships
are bound by trust. Discipline takes place informally in a family or private setting. A function of a rural
2. Gesellschaft : direct response into a modern urbanized capitalist society. Relationships were
characterized by formal, impersonal, individual and institutional relations. Interactions are short live and
often superficial. People in this type of relation are linked by formal relations in formal institutions.
Discipline is exerted and takes place in institutionalized and impersonal settings. Ex. jails courthouses.
In an industrial urbanized society community continues to breakdown.
Urbanism way of life (Wirth)
Urbanization had three fundamental attributes:
1. All urban areas have an increase in the number of people.
2. Increase in density
3. Increase in heterogeneity (how different people are).
These were three fundamental aspects of the urban. This is an urbanism way of living. It is a way of life
that is an inevitable consequence of urbanization.
Outcomes of urbanism: 1. Affect individuals and how they live. You are going to affect the broader population. The
structure of society is going to change.
2. Urbanism describes the situation as pop. Increase the more alienated they feel and the less
they feel like a part of a community.
3. Diversification of activities. Bigger labour markets, or institutions. This divides peoples
attentions, meaning people are less likely to be attentive to family and friends.
4. This leads to the weakening of the norms and beliefs of that culture.
Habitus and Social Capital
How is belonging recreated in urban settings?
Habitus (Pierre Bourdieu): saw that cohesion could be recreated in an urban setting. This is what the
suburbs created. Habitus makes possible human ability to change or improvise the situation individually,
yet as a collective. A social group has a habitus if they have a distinct set of values, and beliefs. If a group
has a culture we call this habitus. If a group has a certain way of behaving that was part of a habitus.
Describes a way of reproducing the culture of homogeneity. Other groups that have habitus: corporate
elites, political elites. It is often about a class of people. Language and etiquette are extremely important
when reproducing a culture. When you are part of a community you create social capital: the social
relations that you have that permit access of good of economic significance. Our involvement in the
community and the people you meet may benefit you economically in the future.
Bowling Alone, Putnam
Surveyed the decreasing rates of social capital. His definition of social capital is an asset that reproduces
norms and trusts. Ties to civic virtue. Which makes social capital very important when it is embedded in
the social… the involvement in the community has decreased. People are doing things alone rather than a
group setting. This means a change in family structure (higher divorce rate, fewer children) which has led
to a decrease in community life.
Belonging and Culture
Culture is a very flexible term. You can buy into certain parts of culture or not. We often see culture as
pre-existing before we arrive. And a culture is often seen outside of us. But culture is actively produced
rather than external to us. We produce culture. Ex. The length of a "fad" we control whether or not
something is in pop culture. We produce this culture through language, how we dress and the acceptance
of certain norms. Cultural Aura :culture that is accepted by society. In society certain things are related to
a certain class of people. There is only that connection because certain people act and talk a certain way.
Cultural Other: certain culture that isn't accepted by society. Ex. Prisoners, punks. Cultural others change.
There is always a shifting in attitude. Organic cultures: are ones that evolve on their own. Manufactured
cultures: are deliberate developments that are often related to cultural auras. Further validates the social
acceptance. Cultural diversity: implies societies where there is increasing heterogeneity, diversity.
(Canada, U.S.A, Australia). The policies create a social norm of difference. Cultural difference is
accepted. Cultural homogeneity: there is a dominant culture that creates an assumption that are certain
ways of doing things. This dominant culture makes homogeneity the social norm. Material cultures: urban
landscape is a reflection of urban norms. Some cultures are more imprinted on the landscape than others.
When you're in the city they all have gated communities that separate wealthy groups for others. Culture has to exist at a level of representation. Culture at home is different from culture in the city etc. local
cultures re often seen as opposite of global cultures. Local culture is often seen as disrupted by
globalization. The local loses out to global many times. Global cultures are often inspired by local
activities, and culture.
“The process of urban neighbourhood change in which a group of wealthy residents and the institutions
that serve them – from high-end speciality sho