Cities have always been dynamic social environments for visual and otherwise symbolic competition between the groups who live and work within them. In contemporary urban areas, all sorts of diversity are simultaneously increased and concentrated, chief amongst them in recent years being the ethnic and racial transformation produced by migration and the gentrification of once socially marginal areas of the city.
Seeing Cities Change demonstrates the utility of a visual approach and the study of ordinary streetscapes to document and analyze how the built environment reflects the changing cultural and class identities of neighborhood residents. Discussing the manner in which these changes relate to issues of local and national identities and multiculturalism, it presents studies of various cities on both sides of the Atlantic to show how global forces and the competition between urban residents in 'contested terrains' is changing the faces of cities around the globe.
Blending together a variety of sources from scholarly and mass media, this engaging volume focuses on the importance of 'seeing' and, in its consideration of questions of migration, ethnicity, diversity, community, identity, class and culture, will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists and geographers with interests in visual methods and urban spaces.
Reviews: '… Krase's book is inspiring and opens up new possibilities of inquiry, and his multidisciplinary approach should be lauded.'
Polish American Studies
'… Recommended. All levels/libraries.'
'Although the particularities of each ethnic type and landscape are discussed, the structural inter-connections that mark the immigrant experience across temporal, socio-spatial, and, most interestingly, international contexts are also identified and impressively interwoven into the analysis. In each of these cases, while drawing off an incredible wealth of original research and existing literature, the role of space is isolated as a central analytic object for the purpose of illustrating the strengths (as well as limitations) that visual approaches can bring to the field of urban studies in particular and the social sciences in general… the book will be of interest not only to cultural geographers but human geographers in general (the urban focus will also be of particular interest to urban geographers). It is also recommended to anyone interested in critical social theory, race and ethnicity, and immigration studies… In the end, the case for the visual is convincing, and makes the reader ponder why visual methods have yet to be taken seriously in the social sciences.'
Journal of Cultural Geography
'Krase brilliantly demonstrates throughout the book that ‘seeing is the only way of knowing’ (p. 249). It is clear from this book that the life’s work of a scholar, through its many versions and revisions spanning some forty years, culminates here. Seeing Cities Change is a major contribution to urban and visual studies. It is a must read for urban social scientists or anyone interested in cities and a visual approach to studying them.'
'Seeing Cities Change demonstrates the utility of a visual approach and the study of ordinary streetscapes to document and analyse how the built environment reflects the changing cultural and class identities of neighbourhood residents… this book raises the most important question for urban studies on how best to ‘see’ cities change through a scholarly lens… Jerome Krase is an eminent visual sociologist who has for decades photographed the ways that cities in North America have changed through immigrant life and practices. Seeing Cities Change is one of his more important publications which brings together his collection of photographs into a study of urban transformation through photo-documentation… As a book that makes a methodological and conceptual contribution, it will be useful to a range of students and scholars from sociology, geography, urban studies as well as architecture and urban planning… raises the most important question for urban studies - is it possible to ‘see’ cities change through a scholarly and critical lens that goes beyond the tourist gaze? Krase makes a bold attempt at showing us how. In doing so, he joins other urban scholars who are working with critical visual and participatory methodologies to highlight the material geographies of migrant home-making in western cities.'
LSE Review of Books
'When we visit urban spaces for the first time, Krase argues we behave like tourists, scanning our environment for the clues and cues that give us insight into our new surroundings. For Krase, this process is not merely an aesthetic exercise, as what we ‘see’ makes a difference to how we respond to the people and places we encounter. It is in this sense that Krase’s new book provides a timely reminder of the value of visual methods for exploring wider processes of social and economic change in Cities… A stimulating read for anyone interested in urban studies.'
'… the book will be of interest not only to cultural geographers but human geographers in general (the urban focus will also be of particular interest to urban geographers). It is also recommended to anyone interested in critical social theory, race, and ethnicity, and immigration studies… In the end, the case for the visual is convincing, and makes the reader ponder why visual methods have yet to be taken seriously in the social sciences.'
Journal of Cultural Geography
'Seeing Cities Change is a unique book, not only an analytic framework into the cultural and spatial distinctions within cities, but also an incredibly useful companion for novice students learning what it means to see as sociologists and investigate the worlds and cultures around them. It would be an excellent text for classes on the sociology of cities, especially those that require students to explore their neighborhoods to understand them.'
Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews
'Seeing Cities Change is an important and necessary intervention in how we ‘see’, understand and negotiate cities. What we tell ourselves as a community and what we choose to remember and forget as individuals. Krase has done an excellent job of not only providing a theoretically and methodologically rigorous explanation of why and how cities change, but also in how we create meaning and discourse around changes we often have so little control over.'
Allowing the reader to come to terms with the evolutions of modern cities Seeing Cities Change clearly shows how cities can be analysed and understood in terms of spatial semiotics and visual ethnography.