Defining Centrality

Topics: Transylvania, City, Romania Pages: 13 (3617 words) Published: January 19, 2013
The present paper is trying to see how two different social groups with a different cultural background, but with a common activity, perceive and use Piata Unirii. We are interested in similarities and differences between the two populations we intend to study. It is used a qualitative methodology of collecting and interpreting the data. We expect to be great differences between the foreigners’ perspective and Romanians’ perspective over this public space.

Research Theme
Defining the city centre
Perception and usage of the centre
The most used routes

The theme of our research is “Routes and social groups in the city centre”. We will try to find out how social groups with different backgrounds define this space and how do they use it in a daily basis .We chose to study the perception of students ,in what concerns this space ,with the emphasis put on the different ways in which Romanian and foreign students define and use the city centre.

Research questions
1. Which is the city centre in Cluj-Napoca?
2. What are the indicators that students use to define the city centre? 3. What is their perception of the city centre?
4. How do they use the centre?
5. What are the most frequent routes used in the city centre? 6. Why do they choose to use these routes?

1. The city centre of Cluj-Napoca is considered to be Piata Unirii. 2. Foreign students have a different perception of the city centre in comparison with the Romanian students. We presume that this information comes to them through different sources and shaped by different experiences. 3. After they are accommodated foreign students take over the same habits as Romanian students, in what concerns the use of the city centre.

Under the methodological aspect, the data will be collected by using two methods. One of them is the observation, and the other one is the focus group. The observation will be carried in different days, at various hours. Concerning the other method, there will be two focus groups each having between 7 and 10 participants. One focus group will consist of foreign students, and the second group will comprise Romanian students. If there are some dimensions that worth to be highlighted, after collecting data from focus groups, there will be made some interviews with some of the subjects. The collected data is going to be subjected to a thematic analysis, focusing on the dimensions from the interview guide.

Sampling and Population
As far as it concerns the interest population, this is composed of two categories of subjects. We refer here to foreign students and Romanian students coming from ClujNapoca (including here Hungarian ethnics) .The targeted population for the focus groups are significantly different, the only resemblance being the fact that we are only interested in the population of students. The subjects have to be enrolled to license and master level. As a sampling method it will be used the snowball sampling method in order to gain access to the population we are interested in.

Theoretical background
Despite the fact that place is generally described in geographical terms, it must also be understood as an essential element of social life and historical change, as a prominent figure which underline the significance of material culture in social life (Gieryn, 2000). When defining place, several dimensions must be taken into consideration.

The first is the geographic location which allows individuals to appreciate the place in terms of near and far, to make a distinction between there and here (Gieryn, 2000). The second form refers to the the physicality of place, a material component, while the latter dimension describes the meaning and the value a place is invested with. Due to the fact that places are are constructed, interpreted, narrated, perceived, felt, understood and imagined (Soja, 1996), they are more flexible, individuals control them, change them over time and even...
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