Neighborhood Social Map as an Urban Research Tool
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Varshaver, E., Rocheva, A., Ivanova, N. (2016). Neighborhood Social Map as an Urban Research Tool. Urban Studies and Practices, (3), 31-52. [in Russian]


Urban anthropology that has been rapidly developing recently in Russia has its methodological soft spot that is data analysis and formalization of conclusions. Research results often remain as first-order textual descriptions without transition to the analytical generalizations. This article suggests a tool that is able to diversify the methodological toolbox of urban anthropology: the neighborhood social map. It was developed and tested in the course of the research of two outlying areas of Moscow (Kapotnya and Kuntsevo) conducted in 2014–2015 on the topic of migrant integration on the local level that included 170 interviews and 86 field diaries. The social map is not a conventional map as it does not depict an area but represents a graph with types of dwellers, neighborhood spaces and means of communication in the neighbourhood. The social map demonstrates which types of dwellers — “migrants” or “locals”— are present in the neighborhood, with whom they socialize, which means of communication and spaces they use. The social map served as a basis for the development of the integration concept for Moscowʼs outlying neighborhoods and a series of integration practices. The social map is, therefore, not only an instrument for data analysis and presenting research results, but also a basis for social policy making. The authors describe in detail the research methodology, the fieldwork and analysis that resulted in the creation of the social map. They conclude by discussing how this instrument could be further incorporated into urban research.