Institutional ethnography: a transformative mode of inquiry in the renovation of a Brussels high-rise housing estate

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Abstract

In spite of a clear interest in ethnography and institutions, the method of institutional ethnography has been underexplored in the planning field. This paper looks at its critical potential in the renovation process of the high-rise social housing estate of Peterbos, Brussels. By doing, it sheds light on its transformative capacity. Using multiple approaches of institutional ethnography enabled us not only to develop a better understanding of local communities in planning processes, but also to argue for an increased self-reflexivity and responsiveness of institutions, essential for creating a more critical planning practice. We conclude institutional ethnography can inform planning practice in two ways. First, the approach can help planning scholars reveal power relations and explore grounded collaborative practices, based on everyday concerns of inhabitants and institutions. Second, any actor operating within and beyond the institutional field of planning can strive for ways of knowing that are embedded in everyday life experiences. However, this requires to embrace open-minded perspectives and open-ended inquiries in those locations where institutional policies and practices are being felt.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Early online date30 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Planning practice
  • High-rise social housing estate
  • Institutional ethnography
  • Renovation

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