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Accepted Paper:

Political fields, social space and place  
Christian Rosen (Technical University of Darmstadt)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution will present different types of places of political practice and highlight their qualities. In doing so it aims to help understanding national political fields. On the methodological level, different field research practices will be discussed.

Paper long abstract:

This contribution deals with the national political fields of Berlin and Madrid and the relationship between their socio-spatial and place-specific characteristics. The research is theoretically based on Pierre Bourdieu's work on the practice of politics and the social field of politics as a socio-structural frame for it.

Building on the findings of various field research stays and the already completed analysis of the extensive material gained, this contribution examines the question of the extent to which the dimensions of place and space are helpful for a better understanding of political fields. It will focus on the process of ethnographic field research and its advantages and disadvantages in the study of places of political practice and site-specific socio-spatial practices. Questions addressed:

- Which characteristics of places of political practice and which site-specific practices can be explored through ethnographic fieldwork?

- Which methodological framework and which methods work best for this kind of research?

- What problems result from the combination of the research interest, the field of research and the chosen methods?

This contribution will present different types of places of political practice and highlight their different qualities. It will also explore the connection between places and the field specific practices performed there. On the methodological level, the different field research practices will be discussed, especially in the context of their spatial and local references. Finally, methodological obstacles with regard to the exclusivity of political fields and the specific role of the researcher in international comparative settings will be analysed.

Panel P094b
Ethnography of Parliaments [LAW NET]