Urban Culture

A number of projects of the research centre are concerned with the contemporary city. They are united by the analytical perspective we call “new urban anthropology”, which implies that we focus on the variety of actors whose skills, bodily practices, ways of communication and co-action are shaped by particular cultural practices. There is a general interest in how public places (such as Tsaritsyno museum reserve and park in Moscow) function and how new norms and meanings emerge "from below" on everyday level through the process of - often playful and experimenting - social interaction. We analyze urban dwellers' experiences, communication and spatial practices. We also study the city as a site of memory and history, by focusing on memorial places and communities that create, protect, and maintain these. Another empirical case is street art. We think that graffiti and street art change the ways the city is perceived and lived. We are interested in how these forms of urban imagery are interwoven not only in urban materialities but also in broader cultural contexts, how they are represented and read. We also take into consideration power relations and state attempts to bring the city to order, for instance, by putting forward official street art projects or removing graffiti and street art pieces.


Graffiti and Street Art in Cultural Cityscape (HSE, 2012–2013)