Article Information


Ekaterina Shishova (E-mail:

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Shishova E. (2018) Atmosfera gorodskikh prostranstv: ot metafory k yazyku opisaniya [The atmosphere of urban spaces: from metaphor to description language]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(4): 85–103 (in Russian).

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Abstract. In the last decades the atmosphere of urban spaces has been increasingly studied by representatives of various fields of knowledge. This is connected both with attention to a person, his/her emotions and experiences, and with the need to apply this concept in real life: urban and public spaces planning, building a marketing strategy for tourist destinations, organizing mega-events, etc.

Despite the fact that the phenomenon of the atmosphere is extremely in demand, because it enables a comprehensive view of the urban space from various research positions, it has not yet been clearly defined, conceptualized and operationalized. The lack of a conceptual apparatus and a relevant language for describing this phenomenon leads to the impossibility of effectively measuring urban space and the social relations produced in it, creating difficulties for both social researchers and practitioners.

The author attempts to create a language to describe the phenomenon of the urban atmosphere. The work is based on the analysis of the concept of the atmosphere and its shades, the search and justification of its metaphorical meanings. As a result, to describe the urban atmosphere, the author proposes to use the concepts of laminarity and turbulence, borrowed from the natural sciences. The descriptive categories are used by the representatives of the phenomenological and neo-Marxist approaches, and such concepts as urban rhythms, affects, social and political contexts of a city, emotions, infrastructural relief, authenticity and aestheticization of urban space are considered.

Keywords: urban atmosphere, city, metaphor, social interation, affects, aestetisation.


I thank Oksana Zaporozhets (PhD, associate professor, NRU HSE) for helping me to find the idea of this article, for discussing and editing it, and also Oksana Nikitina (graduate of Faculty of Geography of MGU, coordinator for Freshwater Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Hydropower, World Wide Fund for Nature — Russia) for discussing on laminarity and turbulence process and for editing geofraphical part of this text.

The study was implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2018 year.



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