Anja Schwanhäußer

Hanging around

Subcultural urban research


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„Dérive“ is an ethnographic research practice to explore and produce the poetic geography of cities. Early forms of drifting evolved through productive exchanges between surrealism and ethnography in Paris in the 1920s (Clifford). Within the anthropology of cities it refers to the secret, sensual, underground side of city life. Starting from my research experience on the Berlin subcultural Techno-scene I show that subcultural scenes are and always have been productive sites of drifting. They are the sites where both observer and observed „hang around“ and perform a specific style. Ethnographic methods like „go-along“ and „sensing“ are ways of exploring the poetic geography while also creating it.

ethnography, urban anthropology, poetic geography, dérive, anthropology of the senses, style, subcultural scenes