Promotionsprogramm "Transformationsprozesse in Europäischen Gesellschaften"

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Michel Massmünster



University of Basel
Seminar of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology
Spalenvorstadt 2
4051 Basel

Phone: +41612671242


Further Information

Dissertation Project

The co-production of night and city

The alignment of day and night becomes obvious in a variety of fields, ranging from people's individual day-night-cycles and lifestyles, to 24 hours public transport, shopping, partying or the constant illumination of public places at all times. The disappearance of the night has been predicted again and again since urbanisation and industrialisation, however, at the same time discussions about light and noise pollution as well as debates about regulations of cultural industries and economies attest to the existence of the night, and further manifest it as a particular (troublesome) subject and distinguishable phenomena. Moreover, event titles such as »museum's night», »sport's night» and »night of literature» point to the difference of day and night by emphasising and implying special characteristics of the latter. Thus, night, remains a subject of importance, relevance and discussion.

This ethnographic project is concerned in the making of the night, especially the city night, that is the night in Basel and Basel by night. Inspired by the constructivist thought that the city is neither a mere fixed geographical space nor is the night a closed period of time, the interest is to analyse how both, night and city, emerge out of movements and communications and hence become a social reality. How do collective expectations towards a space according to different day and night times condition the space's practices? How are night and city experienced in different situations? What forms of access, use and interests exist in a post-industrial city at night? And how do these present forms differ or build on longstanding ideas, imaginations and infrastructures?

Thus, in an ethnographic cultural analysis this project describes the co-production of night and city in Basel.

Supervisors (Cotutelle de thèse): Prof. Dr. Walter Leimgruber & Prof. Dr. Johannes Moser