November 10 6:30 pm


The Pleasures and Pains of a Changing City



Join us on Nov. 10th (18:30 at Luna6) for a talk by Tadas Šarūnas about his research on gentrification, housing choices and symbolic violence in the Vilnius Train Station District.

His work applies Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical concepts to urban studies to consider how physical, social and symbolic spaces correlate in processes of gentrification in Vilnius. His ethnographic research draws on personal housing histories of the residents of a block near the Vilnius train station to analyze how they experience, evaluate and enact transformations of their home, neighborhood and city. 

Taking into account their very different social histories, he looks at how people make choices about housing based on their search for social agency and cultural difference (rather than mere rational economic choice) and how these choices are constricted, shaped and at times instrumentalized by the housing market.

Šarūnas research not only traces the historical emergence of the physical spaces of Vilnius – considering recent conflicts over it –  but also proposes possible solidaridies that could emerge by breaking down polarizing perspectives on gentrifiers and locals as homogeneous and structurally opposed social classes. Šarūnas proposes that by “thinking of a city as an inherently violent structure - as symbolically violent for all - brings much more hope of solidarity between different people than can be seen in most of the current critical narratives in urban studies” (228). 

Yet how will such unifying appeals withstand a landscape scared by growing social inequalities? And what does housing solidarity amongst inhabitants of very different social positions, ages and cultures, look like in practice? 

***The talk will be followed by a discussion and drinks (bring cash for donations)***

You can read his recently defended dissertation in english here: