Urban Anthropology

Research Projects:


Ethnographic approaches to the Luz neighbourhood (São Paulo): gentrification in question in anthropology

Description: The aim is to conduct a systematic approach to Luz as a São Paulo neighbourhood of strong urban and sociological density, addressing and relating issues involving heritage preservation, cultural consumption, and historical use of space by the popular classes. The more specific interest, aimed at undergraduate researchers, concerns the investigation of practices and representations of the public who regularly visit the cultural institutions located there, which have initially attracted social actors of different social origins or affiliations from those who inhabit the place and use their public spaces. It is relevant to deepen the understanding of their representations on the metropolis, the Centre, the Luz neighbourhood, and the frequented institutions.

Professor in charge: Heitor Frúgoli Junior (hfrugoli@uol.com.br)


Amazon cities: spatial dynamics, local and regional urban network

Description: The project has as one of its axes, studying the cities and urbanisation in the Amazon, the investigation of everyday life and culture of cities as relevant variables for understanding the dynamics of the urban network. The contribution for the project of the Centre of Urban Anthropology at the University of São Paulo (NAU/USP) is the ethnographic approach aimed at the study of cultural practices of indigenous and non-indigenous social actors in the urban context of medium-sized cities in the channel of the Solimões River.

Professor in charge: José Guilherme Cantor Magnani (jmagnani@usp.br)


Cities, heritage, and cultural consumption in comparative perspective

Description: Project of Exploratory Missions between Brazilian universities and the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES), whose central object of investigation is the contemporary policies and practices of cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) in their socio-spatial relationships with urban life and economic development of historic cities. It is important to study and learn, comparatively, how the policies of cultural heritage revaluation have been a favoured object of local development policies and tourism, and how it is possible to observe convergence in the type of policy implemented. Project approved under the Program of Cooperation in the Area of Social Sciences for the Community of Portuguese Language Countries - Social Sciences Program CPLP (International Cooperation Office - ASCI N/CNPQ/Multilateral Programs).

Professor in charge: Heitor Frúgoli Junior (hfrugoli@uol.com.br)


Between the village and the city? The indigenous presence in urban Amazon

Description: The interest of the Centre of Urban Anthropology of the University of São Paulo (NAU/USP) when proposing, in this program, the Centre for Amerindian Studies (CESTA) (an ethnography of Amerindian spaces and sociality networks in Amazon cities) lies in the opportunity to mobilise and test concepts and methodologies already developed over its history, since 1988, on the city of São Paulo. Having prepared analysis models based on the specificity of a cosmopolitan mega-city dynamics, it is now relevant to refine these models from researches on cities with other scales, experiences, and formation processes. The Amazon cities, with significant Amerindian presence, constitute a privileged field for comparative purposes, since they are located in a region whose history of human occupation - often characterised as demographic void and untouched nature - has been revised by historical research and archaeological records.

Far-reaching and long-lasting population displacements open a privileged interdisciplinary space from which the Urban Anthropology may, in dialogue with Ethnology due to studies already accumulated on indigenous populations, with History and Archaeology, advance in the preparation of more general analysis of mobility and integration strategies of the different ethnic groups in the context of contemporary urban Amazon. The purpose is to start with Manaus and, in medium term, include cities close to the indigenous land of Andirá-Marau (Parintins, Barreirinha, Maués) in eastern Amazon, to work with various urban scales and, thus, in a theoretical comparative perspective, work the very concept of city as opposed to other forms of settlement, especially those that are more present in anthropological literature, historical documentation, and archaeological researches.

Professor in charge: José Guilherme Cantor Magnani (jmagnani@usp.br)


Urban experiments and its counterpart in ethnography

Description: This is an approved research in the mode of Productivity in Research (PQ) and aims to bring to the field of urban experiments and its counterpart in ethnography the methodological reflection, especially on ethnography, new issues raised by fieldwork in the urban context, especially of large metropolises, completed or in progress in the Centre of Urban Anthropology of the University of São Paulo, of which I am coordinator.

Professor in charge: José Guilherme Cantor Magnani (jmagnani@usp.br)