International Summer School in Urban Ethnography


The third edition of the Summer School in Urban Ethnography builds on the collaborative working environment established in the previous editions. The School’s core mission is to provide participants with an inside view on the practice and the skills of urban ethnography.

As such, the School represents a forum where adepts, students, cadets and scholars may familiarize themselves with the status of the discipline, absorbing the tools as well as the tricks of the trade directly from long-time practitioners. A sustained theoretical reflection is, in our view, an essential companion rather than an alternative to fieldwork. This means that discussion on key social-theoretical notions and theories is encouraged.
The third edition of the School pivots around the fieldwork experience. Rather than theorizing the fieldwork per se, we are interested in probing the fieldwork experience in relation to key concerns in urban and spatial analysis. Our aims thus include:

  • delving into the sensoriality of the fieldwork experience and the limits of description;
  • understanding the relations between the perceptible and the articulable;
  • thinking through the fieldwork to advance new languages for ethnographic research;
  • clarifying the concepts that connect the fieldwork experience to theoretical social analysis and social critique.

Teaching method will be based mainly on interactive formats, such as workshops, data sessions, and roundtables. Participants will have a chance to present their current research project, receive  feedback and recommendations.
There will be four keynote lectures by established international scholars. Presentation of case studies and on-going research will occupy a large share of the allotted time. A small ethnographic exercise will be carried out in groups. Reading materials will be circulated well in advance among participants, ensuring that they arrive at the meeting with a strong shared background.
The Summer School draws on the expertise of the Department of Sociology at the University of Trento in the study of urban sociology, urban cultures and territorial analysis. It is co-organized and supported by the Italian ethnography journal Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa and the independent publisher professionaldreamers.

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