City from the Street: an Ethnographic Aapproach to urban life
More so than the topic, it is the street that is a problem to be identified and stated. The street can be seen as the minimum unit of city life, a place of sociability registering various levels and dimensions ? of action, interaction, differentiation and sociability; misbehaviour and social control; circulation and mutual acquaintance; meeting and confrontation; a space for the integration of functions (relating to residence, work and leisure), a territory steeped in memories, a social crossroads and the scene of and stage for different daily lives and individual, interacting trajectories and destinies. In its extensions (shops, associations, churches, squares, street corners and even houses) the street is viewed here as a possible synthesis of city life, a singular ethnographic sample for exploring and getting to know contemporary urban life from ?the bottom and the inside?. In this sense, the street does not emerge as a pre-defined unit but as an object to be defined and constructed throughout the research process itself, an observation unit with considerable social and cultural consistency and with comparison possibilities that add original knowledge to a theoretical reflection on the city and its specific socio-cultural dynamics. Methodologically, the research is organized around a set of social and culturally different case studies, both from the point of view of the topics and the ethnographic contexts involved.