Guided tours: The layered dynamics of self, place and image in two American neighborhoods

by Bendiner-Viani, Gabrielle, Ph.D., CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, 2009, 333 pages; 3379208


This work complicates our understanding of the creation, knowledge and experience of everyday experience in two heterogeneous neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York and Oakland, California. This project incorporates conceptual, epistemological and methodological questions. The concern with the everyday is explored by addressing how everyday places are known and experienced, weaving local with global, personal with political, embodied with ideological, in two neighborhoods marked by American post-World War II urbanism. Challenging conceptions of the role of the expressive, the individual and the visual in research, the work shows that a combination of embodied walking and expressive representational photographic strategies—my "guided tours" method—can show us new ways of knowing about the physical and phenomenal everyday world. The evocative and embodied power of being physically in place—through walks or drives—is juxtaposed with a process of photographic production and reflection, utilizing photography's evocative relationship to the real as a prompt for storytelling. From this unique method, this work develops a typology of "layered dynamics" to understand how everydayness is continually created through processes of knowing, negotiating and experiencing, as places and lives are woven together. These layered dynamics are the intersecting and changing forces and motions that come from and change lives in a neighborhood; they characterize the system of a place, and constitute the everyday experience of places we inhabit.

AdviserSetha Low
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsAmerican studies; Cultural anthropology; Psychology; Urban planning
Publication Number3379208

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