Biography and City
RC38 Biography and Society
How do cities affect the lives of their inhabitants? This question has been relevant for sociological research since the publication of Georg Simmel’s essay “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (1903), and the programmatic writings of the Chicago School (see esp. Park 1915). They were also concerned with the social and geographical organization of living together in cities, as well as with group formation and mechanisms of segregation.
These questions have not lost their urgency for the social sciences, on the contrary. Mega cities continue to grow, and generally, urbanization is still on the rise. Urban growth, and processes such as segregation and precarization, are directly connected to the life courses and biographical constructions of their inhabitants.
In light of these considerations, our interest is the connection between biography and city, i.e. how urban contexts influence life courses and how cities have been formed and changed in the past and the present by interactions between their inhabitants. We welcome contributions which are based on empirical research dealing with questions such as the following:
* How does the city influence life histories and life stories? How are urban contexts constituted by interactions between their inhabitants?
* How can we explore a city’s history by employing biographical research?
* Which (combinations of) methods are suitable for research on biographies and cities?
* What role is played in biographies by ‘urban materialities’ and geographical features?
* How can we compare living in urban areas and living in rural areas on the basis of biographies?
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