The urban chronotope
Giovanni Spissu (University of St Augustine )
Paper short abstract:
In this panel, my aim is to explore a particular chronotopic form of observation based on urban movement in which a traveling viewpoint on the city is taken.
Paper long abstract:
Bakthin considered the road one of the most important forms of a literary chronotope. He said that different types of temporality converged in them. In novels the road is where daily life takes shape and it is also the place of adventure where extraordinary things happen. It is the merging of these temporalities with spaces that gives it a multiple meaning. I argue that we can transfer a chronotopic analysis of the road from the world of literature to that of ethnographic research. We can observe how the space-time intersection prompts inhabitants to project their memory onto urban spaces. I also argue that we can consider the road as a place that generates chronotopes from which we can explore the city's space-time connections. For this project, I carried out field work with the help of a resident of Cape Town who helped me to become aware of the meanings attributed to urban spaces, placing them in relationship to her personal experience. This let me observe the city as an (urban) chronotope.