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S. Bento at the heart of the City of Porto

An ethnographic approach to the railway station

The research of the project violence in Transit in Portugal took place at Railway Station of St. Bento in Oporto city and its surrounding area. The research methodology followed an ethnographic approach to the field that took place from December 2011 to April 2012. Concerning with the main results, its conclusions pointed out for scarce episodes of youth violence at the S. Bento Station. Nonetheless, it is a territory marked by a social mosaic of deviation with signs of social exclusion such as alcoholism, prostitution (male and female), drug addiction, homeless, mendicity and “scams”.

However, those phenomena assume a certain invisibility due to a securitarian and hygienist perspective shared by management entities of the station, local police and other local actors (merchants, hotels). This perspective is reinforced by how the processes of urban regeneration of the surrounding territory are being conducted.

Additional to these conclusions, the research points to a lack of a support network to implement innovative social actions, especially because it’s a territory with a fragmented intervention by social organisations.

Despite these issues being common to others areas in Oporto city, it must be emphasised the clear potential of theterritory of Sao Bento station as a privileged awareness spot against social exclusion phenomena.

 

S. Bento no coração da cidade do Porto. Uma abordagem etnográfica à estação ferroviária

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