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Accepted Paper:

Rethinking cities from the 'periphery': children's views from two European cities  
Kitti Baracsi (University of Pécs/ University of Deusto)

Paper short abstract:

The paper invites to rethink the city based on mental maps of Roma and non-Roma children who live on the 'peripheries' of Naples (IT) and Pécs (HU). It offers a new image of the cities, neighborhoods, research sites: takes the children's point of view, the 'periphery' as the center of experiences.

Paper long abstract:

The paper offers a reflection on the city as such based on the mental maps of Roma and non-Roma children from the 'peripheries' of Naples and Pécs. These territories belong to the city but are excluded and/or stigmatized within the city's image. While in Pécs we talk about "Roma neighborhoods" as peripheries, in Naples the Roma camp has its symbolic and physical confines within/from the ghettos of Neapolitans.

The mental maps offer an insight into what children imagine as their city and/or neighborhood, how do they construct it and what kind of spatial experiences they have. I invite to look at the mental maps as starting points for deconstructing our image of the city and take the children's point of view: looking at the 'periphery' as it appears in their drawings: as the center of experiences. We can take into account for example the semi-rural characteristics of certain places that challenge our idea of city and its margins. The popular cultures of the periphery- e.g. hypermarkets - are generally excluded from the cities' promoted cultural image though have a strong importance in the lived experiences of children.

The preparation of mental maps (with collaborative analysis) is part of my PhD research that has been realized since 2011 on the discursive and regulative effect of Roma educational (and not) policies on the lived experiences and strategies of Roma students and the other actors of education on the urban margins of Naples and Pécs.

Panel P146
Urban margins: contesting hegemonic representations of the city
  Session 1