Our main instrument of knowledge is the immersion in the practices of city users, among others by travelling around the city and discussing it with them, and by tracking as closely as possible the details of what catches (or fails to catch) their attention in their day-to-day journeys. Those details are filmed by them, using the camera on their shoulder.
Using this method, it is not the researcher who films and exposes, but users who “frame” the city in their own way.
By this means, we hope to get away from the image of the scientist who knows it all and reveals to others what they don’t know, to propose an approach of active, shared knowledge, in which each actor (users, researchers, urban planners) has their own part to play and skills to contribute.
The materials presented in our case studies take the form of:
- photos of urban scenes,
- video walk-through urban tours (including commentary) with residents and/or professionals,
- extracts of interviews with participants (anonymised),
- analyses by members of the team (more with the aim of focusing attention on specific aspects and stimulating debate than for theoretical purposes).
The materials in our two case studies are the result of a joint effort by different members of the team, including students of anthropology and communication science involved in the project.
- anthropological- and sociological-type field inquiries carried out since 2015 (observations, filmed and commented walk-through urban tours using a camera worn by participants, interviews, daily-life accounts)
- communication analysis activities (analysis of interviews, public discourse: signs, advertising, toponyms, etc.)
- debates and workshops with city actors, and other communication tools (this site, publications)
Since most of the team are student researchers from France and Romania, we propose a comparison of two cities and countries, informed by two case studies: Brașov in Romania and Lyon in France. In both cases, we chose to focus on neighbourhoods that have seen intense urban transformations in the past and present.
This method, by stepping to one side and looking “elsewhere”, ultimately brings greater clarity to your subject matter. In addition, some members of the team are anthropologists, and comparative methodology is at the heart of our research.