Between Agency and Structure: Towards New Perspective on Urban Communities in Postmodern City

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:10
Oral Presentation
Marta KLEKOTKO, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Having the latest findings of community studies regarding “Community Question”, as well as current trends in urban sociology and urban policies as points of departure, the paper addresses the problem of contemporary urban communities’ production and reproduction processes, as well as cultural mechanisms and factors of these processes. Rejecting both the ecological determinism and cultural reductionism of community studies, I assume that postmodern city is a space of structuration of diverse urban communities that go far beyond the traditional concept of neighbourhood, personal networks or imagined communities. I assume that culture in general and symbolic meanings of territory in particular (urban scenes), play crucial role in the process of structuration of urban communities, and that structuration process takes place in collective cultural consciousness and is mediated by territorially embedded cultural (community) practices of individuals. I will argue that urban scenes provide socio-cultural opportunities structure for community integration and that spatial segregation of diverse cultural practices reinforces their capacity for community structuration through symbolical construction of social boundaries. The paper aims to answer the questions on how various cultural dimensions of urban space impact communal symbolic practices of individuals and what kind of cultural mechanisms shape various urban social forms. The paper provides a new theoretical and methodological perspective to analysis of cultural mechanisms of processes of urban community structuration, in which cultural practices of individuals and symbolic dimensions of urban space interact, leading to emergence, reproduction and reconstruction of a given type of social entity. Some preliminary research data will be provided in order to exemplify and support the arguments of the paper.