Furthering our studies around ethnography and cultural studies, we attended a session at the Arnolfini. We were introduced to various different theoretical grounding mostly based on the concept of the public and private sphere and in particular with focus on Habermas.

Doreen Massey (2005), For Space, London, sage, pp.912.

Space is not… neutral, cultural, and is the product  of interrelations and is constituted through interactions.

‘Private’ Spaces;

  • closed down, shut out everything, closed off from the public.
  • You’re own personal area where you feel comfortable to be yourself. (We act differently when in a private space, than when in a public space because we docile due to the environment we are surrounded by)

‘Pubic’ spaces;

  • Open area, viewed by masses of people. An area not owned or governed by yourself. Areas are constructed in a particular way to cater to a large and varying amount of different needs. The physical space is constructed in such a way that mediates and controls our behaviour because we feel that everything we do will be seen and scrutinised.

‘The Public Sphere’ – Jürgen Habermas

  • According to Habermas the public sphere is an area in social and cultural where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems
  • Common judgement/public opinion
  • Greater democracy/democratisation > a resistance to power emerges such as the occupy movement (space becomes an area of deliberation and democratic debate.
  • E.g. Coffee shops; symbolic of modernity

Semi-Public Spaces;

  • The space we use can’t always be categorised into ‘public’ and ‘private’ because the lines are often blurred with commercial infrastructures such as Malls and Shopping centres, because, although these areas are open to the public they are owned and maintained by private companies. These areas are also governed and manipulated by their own laws and regulations
  • Informed by privatised practices
  • Subjected to message / discourses that influence public our public space
  • Shopping Mall;  Commercialised, something influencing space which tells us how to behave in particular ways.

    Power and discipline

    •       According to Michel Foucault, power is organised through knowledge

    •       …and through discipline

    •       Power and discourse

    •       ‘Docile bodies’

    •       Bentham’s panopticon

    *Subjected to disciplinary rules and powers e.g. security guards, CCTV surveillance, signs > all regulate or movements and behaviours

    *Represents an efficient way of observing, only needing one prison guard> potential of viewing meaning we mediate our behaviours: You become ‘Docile’ by policing yourself

    ‘Virtual’ Spaces;

    Increasingly, we are participating within both physical and virtual spaces because we are increasingly engaging and interacting with the use of technology. This is a controversial subject because this seems to be fragmented by positive and negative outcomes. The Internet has the possibility to connect humanity on global levels and with free use of social networking; this provides a potentially free and open space to deliberate and discuss issues as well as creating a potentially utopian reprentation of life. (Jaron Lanier)

    On privatization
    of internet

    •   Tim Berners-Lee, http inventor, W3C founder   http://www.ted.com/speakers/tim_berners_lee

    Harry Halpin, World Wide Web consortium



    Jaron Lanier, VR inventor (Internet is a utopia, now writing critical books detailing what’s wrong with the internet)


E.g. Phones, Internet

*Simultaneously inhabit; co-presence

*Changes the way we act in a physical space

*How do the technologies we use affect the way we use physical public space?

*‘Virtual Realm’ – an extension of Habermas?

*Internet could be potentially shut down? To stop democratic uprising

*Adam Kurtis – Hyper normalisation

David Lyon (2001) Sureveillance Society, Monitoring Everyday Life, Buckingham: Open University Press.

•       ‘World Wide Web of surveillance’

“Individuals have a new kind of presence…subjects constantly participate in their own surveillance by making telephone calls, automated bank transactions, Internet bookings and so on.” (Lloyd 2001: 116-17)

•       Sherry Turkle (2006) ‘Always – On/Always –On-You: The Tethered Self’ in James Katz (ed) Handbook of Mobile communications and Social Change, Cambridge MA; MIT Press

“A train station is no longer a communal space, but a space of social collection: tethered selves come together, but do not speak to each other. (Turkle 2006: 2)”

“Increasingly, what people want out of public spaces is that they offer a place to be private with tethering technologies…In fact, the spaces themselves have become liminal, not entirely public, not entirely private.”(Turkle 2006: 3)

  • Utilising time, Matrix> were plugged into a virtual realm?
  • Not entirely public or private; ‘Liminal’ Neither one or the Other

The Shopping Mall

•       Private/Public spaces: ownership and occupation

•       Consumption+ Leisure + Display

Ø Inclusive?

Ø Democratic?

Ø Liminal?

Ø Docile bodies?

*Think about performances of the self, certain lifestyles, class and status

Public space:

  • More self-conscious
  • Restricted, Disobedient
  • More regulated

Private Space:

  • E.g. walking around naked

*Wider disciplinary powers may be influenced by gender/class

*Provide us with clue as how to behave openness helps regulate space, people would police you

*Privatised spaces make us do things

*Laptops is a portal into a virtual public

*Cultural display of identity

*CD/DVDs are an expression of the self

Blog 4: Media in public & private space : Field report

•       You will write a 500 word research report (illustrated with your own photographs) exploring the role of media in public spaces (shopping centres, public transportation, city spaces) and the ways in which we bring more private media experiences into those spaces (eg; listening to music on headphones, tweeting, Instagramming, etc).

•       Your field report should engage with ideas arising from this week’s lecture and readings (eg; public sphere, commercialisation of media, disciplined bodies, surveillance and self-surveillance etc) reflecting how personal media use contributes to our contemporary experience of public space.

•       Your blog should also include a short bibliography – meeting the requirements of the UWE Harvard system -containing  3 sources:

Ø 1 book

Ø 1 journal article

Ø 1 internet source

Please do not use sources taken from the course reader – find some new ones!

•       The bibliography will not count towards your word count so the main body of your blog should be 500 words long

•       Your blog should be submitted on your wordpress site by midnight Sunday October 30th. Once you have completed and submitted your blog you must email your tutor so they know you have completed your task and can give you some feedback on your work.

Any blogs submitted after this date will not receive feedback from your tutor and will not contribute towards the overall 10% mark given for weekly blogging.

•       3 kinds of research:

  1.  Background/context: websites, readings etc
  2. ‘Textual’ analysis of your space
  3. Ethnography: observational and/or auto-ethnography (no interviewing

  Today: (Monday 17th October 2016)

•       In pairs carry out some initial field research

1)  Identify key questions/discourses

2)  Identify a location

3)  Carry out initial research plan

Possible Sources: