COMPRAÇA | WHAT CAN A MARKET DO?
COMPRAÇA is a research and intervention project that aims to highlight the role of social communication in transforming urban space into a lived place and the participation of each citizen in the process of building a commonplace and a shared/contested feeling.
The Public Market of Braga (A Praça), recently requalified, as an urban medium under transformation, is a laboratory of everyday urban life: it allows the observation and study of changes, tensions/conflicts/negotiations, but also of the potential and creativity that guide the interactions between multiple agents. Understanding the communicative nature of this dynamic is quite relevant, insofar as it allows us to enhance the effectiveness of the common action between the subjects, in their different roles, the sense of cohesion and connection in the intersubjective and social fabric of common ground and to contribute to cultivating the rights to daily sociality, leisure and public life in the urban space.
The dimensions of communication in the Public Market of Braga that we intend to observe, register and analyse, aiming to explore their interrelation and their functioning at the symbolic/political levels, are as follows:
- Verbal: what do the people who make the Public Market of Braga say/do and how it happens, with a particular interest in the vocabulary and the narratives shared among this speech community;
- Sociocognitive: knowledges and memories, beliefs and symbols and representations in circulation and thar are recycled; imaginaries, visions of the world that are cultivated and identities that are built among those who make the Public Market of Braga, in particular, sellers and consumers;
- Sensorial-aesthetics: expressions and manipulation of the senses, through the bodies, objects, spatial/architectural dispositions and their respective uses;
- Interaction: roles, strategies, games and resources used in exchanges between sellers and between sellers and consumers;
- Performative/ritualistic: selling/buying in the Public Market; going to the Public Market; being in the Public Market; to have a chat in the Public Market, etc.
- Intersubjective: the affective-emotional component of the bonds created in interactions and rituals.
Inspired by ethnography, the COMPRAÇA research project involves fieldwork and observation techniques that presuppose regular visits to the unity of analysis. We also use privileged informants as the main resource for obtaining empirical data, and other data collection procedures: informal conversations, life stories interviews, photographic and video records, and collection of various types of documents about the research universe.
This methodological program constitutes an important resource in the production of knowledge that induces ways of intervention that potentially transform the self-perception of different agents concerning their role and possible modes of citizen participation in the common urban space as well as in the policies in the sphere of institutional action.
Sustainability (environmental and social), citizen participation in the political sphere, the social functionality and democracy of urban design and architecture, the inclusion of disadvantaged social groups or new emerging groups, the participatory reinvention of public space, among others, are some of the concerns related to small but also global cities. It is with this sense of participation in the public discussion of contemporary urban life that Passeio proposes to contribute with concrete political recommendations, based in the field research, in a guiding document of good practices, to be available to the entire interested community.
The project team consists of Helena Pires and Zara Pinto-Coelho (Passeio’s coordinators), and Thatiana Veronez, a PhD student, and a Passeio’s scholarship holder. To join us, send a message to Passeio@ics.uminho.pt.