Archives for June 2014

JULY BLOG A Walk in Olympic Park

  As Londoners we are used to buildings crowding out the sky, the constant friction of human traffic, the barrage of  audio-visual noise which cuts into our  thoughts and counterpoints our   conversations on the street.   And so we cocoon  ourselves  inside little immersive techno-bubbles which are just as invasive, but at least of our own choosing, and we seek out little niches of tranquillity amidst the urban buzz: churches,  squares, unfrequented places and of course parks, so many refuges from the oppressive circumstances of everyday city  life. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is not a refuge from the city, it is a prospect on it. The first  impression as you walk onto it from the main entrance  is of an infinitely  expansive space,  a series of vistas  that pull the eye to a  skyline dominated by the iconic landmarks of financial power clustered around Canary Wharf and the old City [Read More…]

June Blog Crossing the Borderline : the dialectics of trespass in ethnographic fieldwork

Introduction Trespass is a very complicated, tricky, and sometimes dangerous concept. It occupies an ambiguous  semantic space somewhere  between a model and a metaphor, that is, it operates within both a normative and poetic  discourse of transgression.  For example a work  of graffiti sprayed on the side of a house can be treated as both an act of  cr5iminal damage or trespass, ‘the intermeddling  of the property of another’ as the legal statute puts  it, and as an act of creative vandalism,  one which, if it happens to be by Banksy,  may greatly enhance the value of the property in question.   It might also serve a social function in marking out  a gang territory and convey the implicit message ‘ this is our manor, keep out. Trespassers will be  given a good kicking’. The polysemic aspectof trespass is its special attraction for ethnographers in seeking to define the peculiarity  of [Read More…]