Disputas: Bengt Andersen

Cand. polit. Bengt Andersen ved Sosialantropologisk instiuttt vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden ph.d.:

Westbound and Eastbound. Managing Sameness and the Making of Separations in Oslo

Tid og sted for prøveforelesning

Tid: torsdag 30. januar kl. 10.15-11.00

Sted: auditorium 3, Eilert Sundts hus

Tittel prøveforelesning: "Discuss the role of contextualization and comparison in the production of anthropological knowledge, using examples from Scandinavian ethnography."

Bedømmelseskomité

Førsteopponent: Dr.  Lenie A. Brouwer, Assistant professor of Anthropology at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Andreopponent:  Dr. Christine Jacobsen, Forskningsleder ved IMER (International Migration and Ethnic Relations Research Unit) og Postdoktor ved Institutt for sosialantropologi ved Universitetet i Bergen.

Tredje medlem og administrator: Dr. Halvard Vike, Professor ved Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo.

Leder av disputas

Professor Christian Krohn-Hansen, Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo

Veileder

  • Professor Odd Are Berkaak, Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo

Populærvitenskapelig sammendrag

Sosial og geografisk segregasjon i Oslo: Historiske betingelser og nåtidige prosesser

 

Hvorfor dominerer villaer langs Holmenkollbanen, mens blokker dominerer langs Vestlibanen? Hvorfor er folks helse best på vestkanten? Hvorfor trives norsk-pakistanere best i øst? Og hvorfor er det så få på vestkanten, men så mange på østkanten som synes å være «bekymret» for elevsammensetningen på den lokale skolen? For å forstå dette må vi se bakover i tid: Dagens segregerte bosetningsmønstre er et resultat av en rekke politiske beslutninger fra 1624 og opp til i dag, avgjørelser som har påvirket og blitt forsterket av Oslofolks egne preferanser for likhet.

Avhandlingen Westbound and Eastbound bygger på feltarbeid over to år, hovedsakelig i Oslo øst, og søker svar på spørsmål som: Hvordan er det å leve på østkanten? Hva kjennetegner hverdagens praksiser? Hvem omgås? Hvor ferdes folk? Hvorfor bor en der en bor? Hvilke betingelser og begrensninger «styrer» handlinger og preferanser? Og hva medfører disse handlingene? Og ikke minst: hvordan er «dagens» Oslo blitt til?

Den delte byen skapes av politikere, utbyggere og eiendomsmeglere, samt de som bor i og flytter fra Oslo: Både “ovenfra” og “nedenfra” samtidig. Få ser ut til å gjøre mye for å endre på situasjonen. Om sentrale politikere og andre «maktpersoner» har hatt avgjørende betydning for utformingen av Oslo, er både fremveksten og opprettholdelsen av den delte byen blitt sikret og i liten grad utfordret ved at beboerne i de respektive områdene trives og i stor grad holder seg innenfor hver sin «kant». Gjennom analyser av bostedsvalg, sosiale nettverk og hvordan Oslofolk bruker byen, vises det hvordan likhet søkes og grenser mot de «ulike» skapes. Et segregert byrom der boligene er langt dyrere i vest enn i øst, og det at ulike grupper i liten grad omgås andre eller flytter «mot strømmen», er med på å opprettholde elitenes privilegerte posisjon. Sosial og romlig avstand er en forsikring mot konflikt. Østkantfolk som vestkantfolk trives i nabolaget og byen, og det er lite som tyder på at den delte byen vil bli forent.

Vitenskapelig sammendrag

Systematic analyses of divided cities are dominated by scholars from disciplines such as human geography, sociology or history, despite recent contributions of anthropologists (cf. Caldeira, 2000; Low 1999). A key finding is that where you (happen to) live in such a partitioned urban space influences your opportunities in life (e.g., Galster & Killen, 1995). Bengt Andersen’s study contributes to the wider scholarly debate on urban segregation and demonstrates the contribution that anthropology can and should make to this scientific and highly politically relevant debate. The author discusses the relevance of concepts such as segregation when analyzing socio-spatial processes and mechanisms in Oslo. Moreover, the very premises of theories/notions of social cohesion and integration are critically examined. Additionally, this study makes important contributions to the anthropological debates on for instance social relations or non-relations and differentiations, and demonstrates the relevance of analysis of historic data/sources for anthropologists.

Inspired by Lévi-Strauss’ (2004 [1967]) reading of the story of Asdiwal, Andersen argues that with the foundation of Christiania in 1624, King Christian IV gave some very specific directions influencing the development of Christiania (later renamed Oslo) for centuries to come. But not only did Christian IV direct the spatial configuration of the coming Norwegian capital, he greatly influenced the historic as well as the contemporary socio-spatial arrangement of the city. With the permission of the king, the elites would appropriate land, and make and remake a landscape of privilege and the home of the privileged to the West. In the opposite direction, the remainder of the population was “given” an environment of disadvantage. The “underclass” and workers, and from 1967 “non-Western immigrants”, would make their homes to the East. By keeping to their respective and different “Ends”, the West Enders were and continue to be westbound and West-bounded and the East Enders were and continue to be eastbound and East-bounded. By drawing on the work of Gibson (1986), Andersen argues that the West End and the East End are two different environments, environments that afford or offer the respective inhabitants different ways of life. Being born into the West End, you are for instance likely to grow up in a villa and go to college. For a native East Ender, it is less likely that he/she will attend college, but it is very probable that he/she will reside in a high-rise building.

Through an analysis of data gathered from fieldwork (taking place in youth clubs, at bars and shopping centers, as well as on the metro connecting places), interviews, statistical reports, newspaper articles, and historical accounts this dissertation seeks to shed light on the doings of “ordinary” people and a city-in-the-making. Although the king’s acts and decisions influenced and continue to influence the residents’ doings, it is shown that individuals striving for sameness in large part explains the (re)production of socio-spatial separations. People “belonging” to different “socioeconomic”, “racial” or “ethnic groups” mostly keep to themselves. Although this is indicated by statistics on residential patterns (e.g., when comparing the western and eastern city-districts), it becomes evident when examining social networks, people’s motives for moving, as well as everyday spatial movements and doings at the metro, in the parks, inside youth clubs and so on.

Many studies show or claim that contemporary “Western” cities are fragmented in the sense that different population groups or classes are concentrated in different parts of the urban landscape (e.g., Byrne, 2001; Caldeira, 2000; Hamnett, 2005; Marcuse & van Kempen, 2006; Sugrue, 2005; Varady, 2005; Wacquant, 2008). Although Oslo can be said to be “divided”, that is between a West End and an East End, it is argued that the two “ends” and their respective inhabitants are not just separated but connected or interconnected as they only make sense together. When analyzing people and their environments, both must be seen as mutually constitutive: The West End is not west or different without the East end and vice versa. However, Andersen demonstrates that even if both “parts” are the result of the same directions, the inhabitants in the respective environments know little to nothing about those living in the opposite direction. They essentially live in two different worlds, worlds that are interdependent but at the same time “isolated”.

The study provides new ethnographic knowledge on social and spatial practices, processes and conditions and constraints in a contemporary «multicultural» city. It also demonstrates the usefulness of combining several research strategies (including “multi-sited” fieldwork) in order to understand complex and historic phenomena and trajectories. Moreover, it contributes to the anthropological debate on urbanism, social relations, differentiation and classification, and to discussions of power, place and space, and how to analyze macro, meso, and micro phenomena/processes. Lastly, it contributes to the broader social scientific debate on urban issues in general and dual or segregated cities in particular.

Publisert 13. jan. 2014 11:02 - Sist endret 26. okt. 2016 09:28