When thinking of London, the above quote is something that will readily cross most people’s minds. However, for an anthropological context, Samuel Johnson stated a far greater truth; that
“a great city is, to be sure, the school for studying life.”
But what does life in a city mean?
Cities are our biggest human settlements, attracting a vast variety of people and constantly being crafted and reformed around the human experience. Keeping my focus on London, walking around the East you can see the tiny brick back alleys from Jack the Ripper’s old stomping ground, yet you need only look up to see brand new skyscrapers being built from Plexiglas. How and where we live is changing, and how the body moves and is affected in a city shows huge contrast to living anywhere else. It creates health problems, but also affords room for innovation. To many there is a sense of opportunity and freedom, but to others claustrophobia.
In this blog I am going to examine the individual and collective experience of being a body in the city from an anthropological perspective. Particularly as I am surrounded by ‘the school for studying life’ on a day to day basis, I am looking forward to what I might find.