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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 14, 2014

Place, Environment, Atmosphere

Jürgen Hasse
Pages 101-131

Der Leib der Stadt

This article discusses the complex space of the city as an urban milieu of vitality. On the skin of the city, a permanent change of its physical and physiognomic appearance takes place. The alternation of urban “faces” is constituted situationally in the structures and wrinkles of the skin. However, characteristic features of urban quarters do not only appear visually; they become bodily felt and are perceptible as holistic impressions, emanating from atmospheric “vital qualities” (Dürckheim). Therefore, lively urban districts are discussed as “body islands” (Schmitz) in urban space. Seen from this vitalistic perspective, the city is not only a world of rational actors—as it is common ground in the social sciences—but also an unpredictable space of performativity.

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