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Cities are dense, sensory environments that provide various stimuli that require interpretation and representation. The embodied sensuous lived experience of urban life, however, is much more dynamic and fluid than any one representation can encompass. A conflict often emerges between the dominant image of a city and what actually happens in it. As such, this creates a tension about a city’s ‘sense of place.’ I employ the notion of ‘aesthetic entrepreneurship’ to designate the practices of certain individuals who seek to create new senses of place in the face of opposition or in times of social crisis. I explore the ways aesthetic entrepreneurs have used sensory knowledge to create alternative narratives and images of Las Vegas after the economic crash of 2008. Each of the aesthetic entrepreneurs discussed here has actively sought to develop a new sense of place for a city popularly defined by its dominant neon imagery.
Though urban sociologists tend to study the growth and development of cities, there is a venerable yet often marginalized tradition that addresses the embodied experience of urban life. Studies of urban experiences have recently begun to flourish due, in part, to the rise of sensory scholarship. Recognizing the connections between urban experiences and sensory stimulations provides nuanced ways to explore the actions and interactions between individuals and their relationships to and with urban places. Relying on a diverse literature of recent studies that focus on cities as dense sensory environments, this article shows the significance of studying city life at the experiential and sensory levels. First, a few seminal early works are discussed, with specific emphasis on Georg Simmel. Then, each of the five bodily senses and their correlated sensescapes – seescapes, soundscapes, smellscapes, tastescapes, and touchscapes – are presented in order to show individuals and groups use their senses to experience and make sense of the city. The article concludes with a brief discussion of methods and few suggestions to encourage future analyses of the everyday embodied and emplaced practices and interpretations of being in the city.
The micro-foundations of the American culture wars can be located by investigating informal accounts, narratives, and other forms of public discourse. We focus on the accounts of self-proclaimed Christian believers who are Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans in order to uncover the nuanced ways they address the internal conflict between their religious beliefs and their leisure practices. Because American culture consists of multiple moral orders, individuals seek answers to questions about right and wrong in a great variety of social fields, including popular culture. By analyzing the accounts of Christian MMA fans who purposively use the Internet as a confessional device for claims making, we show that the culture wars are as much about conflicts within individuals as they are about conflicts between them. The culture wars are experienced by individuals offering and being offered confessional accounts of morality. We argue that these accounts and related boundary work are externalized products of an internalized culture war.
This article is about a place that does not exist, yet. It is about residents' perceptions of redevelopment plans involving the reconstruction of a defunct neighborhood firehouse. Interviews revealed the residents' “collective imagination” as they actively envisioned potential future outcomes for a firehouse-turned–community center. When asked about the needs of the community, interviewees discussed the current conditions of their neighborhood (the present), its history (the past), and how they would like to see it change (the future). This corresponds well with George Herbert Mead's ideas about temporality. I argue that connecting the identity of a place to a sociological understanding of time (especially Mead's) is a necessary step for gaining a better understanding of the subjective side of urbanization and ultimately creating a better vernacular knowledge base for urban redevelopment plans.
The majority of research in urban sociology tends to favor the study of urbanization, the development and growth of cities, over urbanism, the way of life in cities. Here, I identify a strand of urban sociology that explicitly focuses on the latter and introduce a theoretical framework for investigating culturally significant urban places. The urban culturalist perspective consists of six domains of research:1) images and representations of the city; 2) urban community and civic culture; 3) place-based myths, narratives, and collective memories; 4) sentiment and meaning of and for places; 5) urban identities and lifestyles; and 6) interaction places and practices. These distinct but related domains collectively provide a framework for addressing culture-place relationships in cities by offering a clear window into the ways that pepole use places as part of their cultural repertoires and how those repertoires can affect a city's social and physical environment.
According to the dominant cultural male viewership, the female fan is stigmatized for perceived lack of knowledge and will to be a" real" fan, assumed to be more interested in the "inconsequential parts of the game," such as the physical and sexual attractiveness of...
Fenway Park is short on comfort but long on character. It lacks the amenities that some of the newer sport stadiums have built into them. There is no Hard Rock Café (like Toronto's Skydome), no swimming pool (like Anaheim's Edison Field), and definitely no sushi (which has become a fan favorite from Seattle to Baltimore). All Fenway Park has are cramped seats, with poles in the way of many of them, an intimidating big green wall in the left field, a hand-operated score board, and a whole lot of history. As the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy wrote: “There is nothing trendy or hip about Fenway. It is NPR in an MTV world” (18). And there is something about Fenway Park, with its feet firmly planted in the past, that makes complete sense, even in today's newer-than-thou world.
In order to understand the practice of "culture wars work," we examined the claims of a particularly vocal evangelist, Jack T. Chick. Chick is a writer and cartoonist known both positively and negatively for his "Chick tracts." Chick tracts are small twenty-four-page black-and-white comic books that attempt to convert the reader to Chick's particular brand of "Bible-believing" Protestant Christianity. We focused on Chick's claim about Catholicism in order to show how theological and ideological boundaries can be constructed between presumably allied religious populations. Chick presents his anti-Catholicism using three main frames: (1) the associative frame——Catholicism is not only one of many social problems but is also cause of a number of them, (2) the subversive frame——the Catholic church is a political villain, and (3) the hidden agenda frame——Catholicism has not remained true to the authoritative teachings of Christianity and has embraced a secretly progressive worldview. Investigating a culture war claims maker like Chick, who purposely disrupts what presumably would be an orthodox or conservative alliance, reveals the process of symbolic boundary making within cultural/moral/religious conflicts.