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Publication Detail
The Application of Space Syntax Methodologies in Researching The Contemporary Urban Past: Embedding ‘Configurational Ethnography’ The Case of South Norwood
  • Publication Type:
    Conference presentation
  • Authors:
    Jeevendrampillai D, Dhanani A, Griffiths S, Buchli V, Vaughan LS, Haklay M
  • Date:
    11/04/2012
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Name of Conference:
    9th European Social Science History Conference
  • Conference place:
    Glasgow
  • Conference start date:
    11/04/2012
  • Conference finish date:
    14/04/2012
  • Conference URL:
Abstract
This paper explores the potential of the application of space syntax theory and methods for anthropological research into the contemporary urban past. Specifically it examines how such a methodology may provide a basis for the exploration of what John Urry has characterised as 'mobilities' at different spatial and temporal scales. As a theory of spatial description, space syntax facilitates a consideration of why historical centres emerge at particular locations and provides an appropriate basis for an account of the 'material network context' in which place centric ethnographic description can be situated and embedded. Drawing on a configurational analysis of the South London suburb of South Norwood, as part of research done by the EPSRC funded ‘Adaptable Suburbs’ project at UCL – and integrating ethnographic and historical data into the network analysis - the paper suggests how a ‘configurational ethnography’ might be possible and discusses the value of conducting research of this nature. One possibility that is identified is the role of the built environment both in the generation and in the persistence of social networks. The paper suggests that approaching the built environment as an example of a purely spatial phenomenon may be less useful than examining the network relationship between a range of ‘spatial and non spatial’ factors.
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