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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Social heterogeneity and visibility in urban Europe


This is a sociological qualitative research focused on how socio-cultural diversity and heterogeneity are created and reproduced in concrete, immediate social action and normative interaction. Relationships of visibility and inter-visibility among social actors are of particular importance in this context. Visibility is at the basis of the production and circulations of social representations and socio-types. Indeed, visibility is a strategic site for understanding the social working of law - at least, when we understand law as the architecture of human interaction.

Once law is seen from a pluralistic point of view as fundamentally behavioural and fundamentally linked to people's commitments, we might start enquiring on issues such as: how is law created and applied to different subjects in different social positions, according to their relative visibility? How does social and cultural diversity emerges and is shaped in these processes? How much does embodied, inescapably visible, difference matter f or legal relationships (classification, discrimination, etc.)?

From this point of view, European cities offer complex environments where visibility mechanisms take place as people moves throughout them. Because of its own peculiar history, each European city creates its places of passage and visibility. The research aims at both raising theoretical questions that interrogate traditional sociology from novel perspectives, and to suggest new directions for future empirical research.

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