The project uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) to map how everyday practices changed in European cities under the pressure of deindustrialization between the 1960s and 1990s. It will substantiate the hypothesis that the processes of social transformation, which have led to phenomena of social and cultural polarization, cannot simply be deducted from socio-economic factors alone, but hinge on the (re-)production of social status, gender and ethnicity in everyday routines. Spatial analysis using GIS offers a suitable tool to reconstruct the relevance of practices in processes of social transformation because everyday routines aggregated around places, nodes and networks, and these localizations in turn become important references in defining social relations. Accessing and analysing information about past practices brings with it methodological challenges which the project addresses by combining oral history interviews with digital mapping techniques. With this, the project will contribute to the ongoing efforts to devise methodologies, which allow to further expand research in the field of digital spatial humanities into the realm of qualitative data and “deep mapping”. It will build on the extensive expertise of the HI (University of Antwerp Centre for Urban History) and will be integrated in the HI’s initiatives to refine the DARIAH and CLARIN infrastructures in the ‘Spatial Humanities’. The project will therefore contribute to the field of contemporary urban history and to the methodological advancement of GIS as a tool of historical research.
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