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“Those who can’t leave”: urban resistance in Seoul

27/09/2010 admin 0

This video describes the struggle of the population of Yongsan neighborhood (Seoul) against the programmed evictions for the “urban renewal project” for the area, promoted since 2008 by the City administration of the Southcorean metropolis. A protest occupation of a building under construction ended up with the death of five activists. “In South Korea, a country infested by excavators, this could happen to any tenant”. [Entire video in] In November, the G20 will be held in Seoul.

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Anthropology in action

22/09/2010 admin 0

A series of links and articles about how anthropology becomes when it decides to enter into action, i.e. coming out of an (impossible) “pure” observation and getting politically involved into the field it studies. In the seventies, in Italy, they used the expression “ricerca-intervento“, that translated the english “action research”. Many experiences of those times are having a continuity until today, for example the “inchiesta operaia” (worker’s inquiry) autogestionated and driven by activists or by the same people who participate of social conflicts. While the field of “applied anthropology” is being colonized by NGOs and development plans, almost always under control or even financed by the same governments, the social movements are developing some other forms of creation of knowledge. In Barcelona in 2004 a workshop was held (in the Ateneu de Nou Barris) with the title “Investigaccio“, the book Recerca activista i moviments socials (El Viejo Topo, 2005) was a product of this activity; among others, the anthropologist Jeff Juris collaborated with it. In the USA academies now there is a strong debate on what they call “public anthropology” (see the article by Robert Borofsky and the section Public Anthropology Review of American Anthropologist review). Also interesting is the perspective called
collaborative anthropology“, (see the article by Joanne Rappaport) that aims to break with the individual production of knowledge by the ethnographist. But it seems that in recent years this perspective basically dedicated to writing and reading blogs… To go back to our point: two books on anthropology and anarchism,

Istanbul: living in voluntary and involuntary exclusion

19/09/2010 admin 0
During 2005-2010 there have been about 1 million evictions in Istanbul. The residents of gecekondus are evicted to enormous public housing estates in the extreme periphery, where they are hit by intents to "civilize" and normalize the population - almost always Kurdish, Roma, Armenians or low-class Turkish.
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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.