Anthropological understanding of the city and urban research methodology
Keywords:anthropology of the city, urban sociology, urbanism, urban ecology, urban studies, urban culture, city image, cognitive mapping technique, urban identity
The article provides an analysis of the city as a social and cultural object. The authors consider different viewpoints expressed by Russian and foreign researchers who study urban cultural space, city’s cultural image and urban identities. Based on the views presented in the paper and scientific evidence the authors conclude that the problem of urban cultural image is in its infancy.Urban studies as part of culturology, ethnology and sociology are not institutionalized: Russia lacks solid scientific centers focused on urban communities and urban culture. Anthropological, sociological and ethnological studies of the city are absent from Russian textbooks, unlike foreign textbooks. Russian science provides no clear idea either about the substantive area of urban anthropology or about its methods; at the same time various conferences related to urban anthropology are conducted.Discussions about the subject matter and methods have taken place but they simply stated that city is a complex object, and an interdisciplinary approach should be applied to study urban cultural processes. The present paper does not claim to set down the full range of problems of urban anthropology and aims to outline its evolution in the Russian and Western world as well as its essential issues.