Category: "Paris"


Pieces into place: Décroissance, another life and another politics – And making sense of the data

(Writing is progressing so fast now, that I’m not able to keep up here. This post I wrote several weeks ago, but haven’t found a free moment to post it before now. I’ll try to find some more time to keep up the blog in this final stage, as it would be good to document this part of the project as well. I’ll see what I can manage.)

Smaller and larger parts of the puzzle find their place at the moment. Phenomena that have only flickered past my attention in a superficial, disconnected manner suddenly add up to a larger picture.

Read more »


10:59:12 pmCategories: Writing, Paris

Create expectations for the reader

Canal St. Martin, summer in Paris

I wrote about my expectations of Hemingway’s little book from his early years in Paris, A moveable feast, a while ago. Silly me thought I would find the reason why it was particularly hard to write about Paris in his book, as he wrote so evocatively:

Read more »


01:38:24 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Paris

Fieldwork - a moveable feast?

Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan. I did not know it was too early for that because I did not know Paris well enough. But that was how it worked out eventually (A moveable feast, 2007, p. 4).

It took Hemingway several decades to write about Paris.

Read more »


11:18:17 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Spaces, Academic life and family, Paris

The multilingual playground

(Early Sunday morning. Where are my playmates?)

It’s not the first time I write about how I enjoy hanging out in Parisian playgrounds (see posts from 2005 and 2007). They’re small to middle sized and every neighbourhood seem to have one. So, if you’re looking for a green and shady place to relax for a while and observe the local way of life, a playground can be recommended. Earlier, I haven’t paid much attention to the standard of the equipment, but this time I quickly noticed that all the parks in this part of the town have got new, exciting and very varied games for the different age sets. Perhaps this is part of an renovation of the public spaces in the Northeastern and poorer districts of Paris?

Read more »


09:21:56 pmCategories: Paris

Noctambulism (viewed from a balcony on 7th floor)

There’s a time for everything, I’ve thought many times the last two years: One does one thing for a while, and then things change again. This time, I hear the night birds down in the street slowly making their way home after a night out in Paris, while I sit at the balcony listening to my child talk about the - for him – new wonders of twilight: “Look! Stal!”, “Play in the darkt!” and “Go down there!” - probably not because he wants to join the people hanging around down there, but because the street sweepers have turned on the water to flow through the gutter before they comes with their green broom at places where the little green sweeper and high pressure water cars can’t reach. He likes this early morning procedure (apparently earlier in weekends than in the week, as it usually happens a little later, at the when we go to the bakery to get breakfast. Maybe it’s because it’s more debris after Friday and Saturday night.) And I like it too, and I think about all the work that has to be done continuously to maintain good living conditions in an urban environment where the population density is as high as it is here (Around 40 000 per km2).

Read more »


10:54:02 pmCategories: Anthropological notes, Paris

What is it with Paris?

“I can see right away if people are from Paris or from the suburbs,” said a playground & park warden to me. “It’s a different mentality, and they behave and move differently. People from Paris are proud of their city.”

Read more »


05:23:21 pmCategories: Places, Paris

A descent into eternal Paris?

Rue de Belleville, just above the metro station

What is Paris to me now, I wondered when I sat on the plane on my way south after an absence of more than two years and the experience of a couple of seminal, life-altering (no less) events. I didn’t expect to feel at home. I expected to feel a little anxiety, particularly as I was arriving late in the evening, long after dark, but that didn’t happen. Not at the metro, neither at the metro station where I changed to Line 2, my old favourite, and neither as I walked down my old street. What stuck me instead, was the bizarness of Belleville, as I’d been away for a long time. When I exit the station by the electric stairs in boulevard de la Villette, it’s dark in the street and almost deserted at this stretch of the pavement where, except for two a bit lost men playing a ghetto blaster way over the limits of the loudspeakers, nothing else than a scratching white noise coming out of them. And this morning, a screaming man walked down the street in front of the hotel. I heard his screams from far away, once every twentieth second perhaps, and then they faded away again down in the main street, like a weird human Doppler effect.

Read more »