The city constitutes a highly contested topic within the field of social sciences. There is not a single human theme that could and would not be related and imagined within the framework of the urban. The main challenge, however, seems to go unanswered. It is sex in the city, poverty in the city, immigrants in the city, but what is meant by the city other than an all-purpose nostrum for societal problems? Taking this kind of theoretical void as a point of departure, the objectives of the talk are: First, to conceptualize the ‘city’ as a particular spatial form of sociation; second, to identify and qualify some features of this spatial form; and third, to draw attention to modes of perception, of perceiving the city as a ‘meaningful whole’.
Helmuth Berking, Dr. phil., Professor of Sociology, permanent fellow at the Technische Universitaet, Berlin. His teaching and research areas include: social theory, urban anthropology/sociology, and cultural globalization. He is co-editor of the journal Aesthetik und Kommunikation.