Frederikstorv - a socio rhythmic place

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Katrine May Duus
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
During months of wayfaring field studies combined with situated interviews, the everyday life of the public use of Frederikstorv in Aalborg was observed. Applying phenomenological perspectives on the bodily experience of participant field observation, the multitude of data was collected and presented in rich detail in an interpretationless field diary.
The qualitative data was analysed through a complementary theoretical position of urban sociologist Henri Lefebvre's rhythmanalysis and psychologist James Gibson's theory on perception of affordance. Lefebvre's point of view in this regard is focused on the triadic factors of rhythm - time, place and energy - all of which is nonmaterial but observable nonetheless. To fully encapsulate the extent of sociality Gibson’s material oriented perception concept is inflicted upon the observed use of Frederikstorv and the interior of the place, the public benches, the trash cans and other facilities.

In correspondence with the empirical findings, the combined theoretical positions proved fruitful in understanding the complex and dynamic social life at Frederikstorv. The results provide an abundance of insight into how the users of the place go about their everyday life in parallel with each other even when they have an embedded conflict of sharing the public place.
This thesis produces a micro case study of a multifaceted way of co-living in a size limited and sparsely decorated public place. The results show a heterogeneous social distribution of shared urban interior, and a need of attention to the nearby locations.
The social life of Frederikstorv is situated in and around time and the plurality of time in regards to coexisting places. Observing Frederikstorv is observing an multiethnic social mixed anthill. Everybody has a job or an activity to do. Some clash in their perception of the place, others never meet. The final result is a nonconfrontational discourse battle of the socially legitimate use of Frederikstorv.

A high level of movement is represented in the observed sociality of both the individual and community-oriented activities. The wayfaring field observation provided an unique view of the life of the informants, and made it possible to gain a nuanced understanding of the sensory experience of being at Frederikstorv. By observing the place at different days, hours and under different weatherly conditions, the social dynamics was represented dressed in all its colours. From harmony to chaos. From lively to silent.
Publication date1 Mar 2021
Number of pages121
ID: 405494084