Biography and City

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC21 Regional and Urban Development (host committee)
RC38 Biography and Society

Language: English

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?

Session Organizers:
Nicole WITTE, University of Goettingen - Center of Methods in Social Sciences, Germany and Johannes BECKER, University of Goettingen, Germany
Johannes BECKER, University of Goettingen, Germany and Nicole WITTE, University of Goettingen - Center of Methods in Social Sciences, Germany
Oral Presentations
Perspectives on City History and Their Interdependency with Constructions of Belonging in Ceuta and Melilla
Eva BAHL, Center of Methods in Social Sciences, University of Goettingen, Germany
Biography and Access to the City: The Working-Class Women Struggle for Housing in Brazil
Priscila SUSIN, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Brazil
Distributed Papers
Public Bus As Urban Space
Amy HANSER, University of British Columbia, Canada