Repensar Bonpastor: finally, the book!

25/04/2016 admin 0
It is a pleasure to announce that finally we managed to publish the book Repensar Bonpastor: Tejiendo historias de Barcelona desde el umbral de las casas baratas, a collective work that is the product and testimony of the Competition of ideas for the neighborhood of Bon Pastor, on which we had been working for many years.
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The Watchmen of Urban Conflict: OACU’s new webpage

08/01/2014 admin 0
The new OACU webpage!

This is the new toy that the Idle Magi brought yesterday, and that will cause sleepless nights for all the planners of gentrification and social peace: the new webpage of the Observatorio de Antropología del Conflicto Urbano (OACU)! You will find it in  http://observatoriconflicteurba.org, it has a great media section, and you can try it now, by downloading the program of the I Ciclo “The social impact of architecture” that begins todaty january 8th, within the Master in Anthropology and Ethnography of University of Barcelona. Here you have more info, here the entire program. Thanks to the Magi and Long Live the Republic!…

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Conference in Bolonia: the subjective dimensions of vulnerability

01/09/2013 admin 0
"Lean, Cover, Hold": Risk prevention against earthquakes in Khatmandhu, Nepal. Photo: Stefano Portelli, 2013

On october 5th, in Bolonia (Italy) the Network for the Evaluation of the Subjective Dimensions of Vulnerability (REDISUV) Chile-Europe will meet for the second time, after the foundational Conference in Paris. The repeated natural catastrophes in Chile made evident the need for a more systematic study about the subjectivities of the communities affected, which are always the product of particular social, economical and political conditions. The program of the conference includes papers concerning natural desasters, but also approaches to the “urban” vulnerability, caused by neoliberal policies as the one our group has been studying in Barcelona.

  • Bolonia, Thursday september 5th, 10am-6pm: “Vite invisibili: dimensioni soggettive della vulnerabilità sociale, program in PDF.
  • Davide Olori (2013) “Taking over the center to oppose evictions: the case of the Inmuebles Recuperados Autogestionados en Santiago de Chile” [PDF, italian]. “The urgency for housing after the earthquake forced towards the aggregation of both informal organizations (as neighbours, relatives, co-workers) and formal ones (political, parties…), so causing dynamics of rupture and recomposition among interests, hierarchies, relationships…”
  • Fabio Carnelli studied ethnographically the consequences of the earthquake in L’Aquila (central Italy) some years after: the “militarized” solution brought again to life the traumas, and increased the  vulnerability of the population. See Sismografie on Il lavoro culturale webpage. And also Rita Ciccaglione’s article, one year after the earthquake in Emilia Romagna.
  • Caterina Borelli jsut published on academia.edu her PhD thesis about Sarajevo: “La ciudad post-traumática” (see also this older post)
  • Stefano Portelli (2013) “Spatial reordering and social pathology in the periphery of Barcelona: the social impact of urban transformation”, intervención al XXI congreso del International Social Theory Consortium, Copenhagen, June 26-27th [Coming soon!]
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“Re-cordar” Can Ricart: to pass it back through the heart

01/09/2012 admin 0
Twelve years after the approval of "Plan 22@", two pieces of news show us the long-term impact of the displacement of factories from Poblenou neighborhood, and of its supposed urban renewal. The Mas Candle manifacturer closed in march, exactly five years after being removed from their old location in Can Ricart; in april, four people died in a fire of a shack close to the Jean Nouvel's new Parc Central [link here]. The words of Jaume Pagès, former administration manager of the factory, take us back to the sensations of that old battle we lost but we didn't forget. el desahucio "bueno, en primer lugar, te sientes echado, no querido, violentado. se rompe de pronto el universo ese repetitivo e invariable y, sin avisar, todo zozobra, nada parece real. incluso los cambios en el barrio, los derribos, no tienen ninguna connotación positiva, sólo resultaban amenazadores, tristes. trasladar una empresa es complicado. es decir, debería serlo, pq una empresa, por encima de todo, la forman personas. eso quiere decir q se trastorna –de pronto- toda la cosmogonía de tooodos los integrantes...
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Squatting in Europe

06/01/2012 admin 0
Squatting in Europe is a research network on the squatting movement in Europe. The origins of its members are very different: Brigthon, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Roma, Catania, NewYork, Vermont, Amsterdam, Paris... so are their academic positions: some come from the universities, other are outside, some in between, and obviously shifting. From these diversities the members share a compromise and proximity with different expressions of the squatting movement, a practice of dialogue and reflection with the people who live these spaces, and an effort to publish works in free formats. Each meeting is held in a different city, always in squatted places, to share the debates with people living and using these spaces. Since 2009, the meetings have been in Madrid, Milan, London, Berlín, Amsterdam; the last one (december 2011) was in Copenhagen, in Bolsjefabrikken and Youth House. The results of the collective work and periodic meetings is obviously the enrichment of researches with the experience of the places visited, as well as the production of collective research from multiple perspectives.
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Permanent Workshop on Urban Spaces

06/11/2011 admin 0
Our first workshop was on september 15th in the University of Barcelona: we plan to meet on the last thursday of every month, to share projects and reflections on the city and urban space, key issues in contemporary anthropology produced in the catalan capital. Participants in the workshop include: Omar Borrás,who is working on football among Cochabamba's immigrants in Barcelona; Andres Antebi, who is involved in a visual anthropology project on a small public square in Tangiers; Ariadna Mestre who studies Barcelona's Forat de la Vergonya as a theatralized space; Caterina Borelli who, after researching urban renewal of Raval, is now researching in Sarajevo; Marco Stanchieriwho works on the transformation of Vallcarca neighborhood; Muna Makhluffwho is doing her fieldwork in Barceloneta; Alba Marina who studies the nomadic network of "Salsa brava" in Barcelona; Miguel Fernández researching on the application of "civism" in Raval's calle Robadors; Marc Dalmau who focused on the impact of urban change of the Colonia Castells over the lifestyle of its inhabitants; and, obviously, Manuel Delgado for coordination and repression.
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A naval battle in Vallecas (Madrid): utopia as a device to build identity

11/06/2011 admin 0
2011 will be the 30th year in which, in the outskirts of Madrid, and despite the ban of the City Council, the Naval Battle of Vallekas will take place: a popular and politically engaged fiesta that celebrates the independence of the neighborhood and its the proclamation of Vallecas as a seaport. Anthropologist Elizabeth Lorenzi, got involved in the neighborhood since 1998, and recently published an ehtnography of the fiesta (downloadable for free in PDF) in which, beginning from the Naval Battle, she analizes the urban and social transformations of Vallecas in the last decades, the role played in it by the grassroot movements, and the consequences of all this in the building and maintanance of the neighborhood identity. The Naval Battle celebrates and strenghtens the vallekanismo: the neighborhood as a frame for social mobilizations. Through this symbolic device, the long history of political demands, neighbors' struggles, anarchist movements of Vallecas, become part of the process of constructing the neighborhood identity.
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The forgotten mountain: everyday geopolitics in Sarajevo

29/03/2011 admin 0
Do you know when was it the last time I climbed on Trebević? February 1992. I used to go there every weekend with my father. I never went again. From that mountain 22 grenades fell onto the roof of our house. Now I see it everyday from my window, and I just want it to disappear”. Bojan, 30-years-old Sarajevan.[br]The inhabitants of Sarejevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) don't climb any more on Trebević mountain, even if the war ended 15 years ago; the restaurants and panoramic terraces are destroyed, the cable car that connected it with the city never worked again, and, most of all, there are parts of it where there still could be landmines. But it's not lack of money the main reason why the city administration is keeping Trebević in this state of "no man's land": the divided city is useful for both nationalisms, and an invisible barrer separating "us" from "them" undermines the postwar coexistence project and the dream of a city that could be universal again.
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Pedagogy of waters

01/03/2011 admin 0

"I will tell you something about stories - he said They aren't just entertaiment, don't be fooled They are all we have, you see all we have to fight off illness and death You don't have anything if you don't have the stories Their evil is mighty, but it can't stand up to our stories So they try to destroy the stories let the stories be confused or forgotten They would like that. They would be happy because we will be defenseless then". (Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, 1977)

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A competition of ideas against the demolition of a popular neighborhood

22/01/2011 admin 0
During the years 2009 and 2011, some members of our research group helped in the organization of Repensar BonpastorInternational Competition of Ideas promoted by a group of architects and urbanists from Barcelona with the collaboration of the International Alliance of Inhabitants. After various years of fieldwork (2004, 2009) in Bon Pastor's casas baratas, and helped by the stable relationships we entailed with a series of families of residents, we reached a conclusion: that in spite of the media and institution constantly repeating how this neighborhood is in need of "renewal" (the word they use to say "demolition"), other solutions are possible, for this group of social houses, "red" and popular, built by Barcelona's City Council in 1929: it could be possible to preserve the historical and social peculiarity that this neighborhood represents for its residents and for all the city. Cultures, habitus, techniques and languages developed during decades by the inhabitants of the 784 casas baratas, and deeply rooted in this particular style of housing, will not survive after the demolition of the neighborhood. Even many of its inhabitants, since "modernity" arrived to the neighborhood under the form of demolitions, had to leave the neighborhood or suffered violent evictions.
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The quality of life in Naples: between Pomigliano and Posillipo

14/01/2011 admin 0
[/caption] “An oasis of luxury in the capital of mafia" was the title chosen by a peruan newspaper in publishing this photo reportage about Naples' Circolo Posillipo. But in spite of many elements that might make us believe it, we can't pretend that Napols is just like a stereotype of a South American city, where the rich lock up in their golden bunkers, while in the streets the people shoot each other with guns. Partly because the members of Circolo Posillipo are not as rich as we could imagine; but mainly because Naples, as south american cities are, is a place far more complex than the unambiguous narrations we receive from the media, that now only see/sell the violent deaths, criminality, urbanistic and social chaos, while in the Nineties they only showed the monuments that were reopening, the dynamism of the new upper classes, and the rebirth of tourism. Even them the camorra controlled the neighborhoods, the peripheries were second-class places, the young people were beginning to assume crack and cocaine, hidden by the invisibility in which they were being kept. All these things, at that time, were not so fashionable as they are it now.
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The horizontal city: the neighborhoods of Cases Barates in Barcelona

13/09/2010 admin 0

Our research group began working in 2008 on the Casas Baratas de Bon Pastor, in the north periphery of Barcelona. It's a special neighborhood: more than 600 one-story houses, every one of them painted in a different color, in the middle of factories and industrial zones, on the shore of the Besós river. Built in 1929 in the middle of nowhere, to give housing to the immigrant factory workers (“murcianos y de la FAI”, they called it in those times), now it's an urban space more similar to a village than to a neighborhood of an occidental metropolis. A project of the Barcelona City Council, owner of all the houses, entails the “remodelation” of the whole area, through the demolition of the "casas baratas": the first 145 where demolished in 2007, a few months before we began our research. The inhabitants of the neighborhoods are suffering a series of “social pathologies” that go along the physical demolition of the houses: the social networks (neighbors, relatives...) are suffering the consequences of the urban transformation, and the "humanscape" of the neighborhood is changing maybe even faster than the physical landscape.