What the built environment does to people: the lack of public spaces and democracy in the district of Los Olivos

Public spaces are essential to city life. Public spaces are places such as plazas, parks, streets lined with things to do, where people can see other people. “Others” are not just family and neighbors, but moreover people one would not normally see in one’s own area of residence, including people from different socioeconomic backgrounds or from areas of the city different from ours. Public spaces are thus central for people to become accustomed to seeing strangers and developing a sense of diversity and civic congeniality. The district of Los Olivos (Lima, Peru) has developed as an up-and-coming residential neighborhood with lots of parks but with no real public spaces. In this article, I explore how this affects public life and people's high sense of danger and lack of public security.

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Technology, music and how we understand society through popular culture: Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and electronic music in the 1970s

What is the meaning of  music to a society? Everyone has a special relationship with music, but not everyone can very clearly say what makes a song, a style or band special to someone. By looking at the cases of the two grandfathers of electronic music (Kraftwerk in Germany, Yellow Magic Orchestra in Japan), and how electronic music emerged in Germany and Japan in the 1970s, we can explore the relationship between popular music and the social, historical and cultural context in which it appears.

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Understanding civil society and civic culture in Latin America: Southern Peru and Buenos Aires

Whilst the case of the city of Lima is my the focus of my work, in this article I would like to focus on what civil society is and what happens when it does not exist. To do this, I would like to refer to another case in Peru, that of the cities of Puno and Juliaca, and later compare them to the case of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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"The limits between life and the virtual: the real shape of autistic avatars" a documentary by the NHK

In July this year, I worked as a photographer and personal assistant to professor Eiko Ikegami (sociology and history professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City) on a documentary the NHK (the Japanese broadcasting company, the Japanese equivalent to the British BBC) was filming about her work on people in the autism spectrum that use Second Life (the online virtual world) as a platform for support and socialization.

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The social construction of life, or what the fluidity of gender can tell us about social categories and the risk of simplifying everyday life

This is a review and commentary on "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints" at Japan Society in New York City. 

"How do we know that gender is socially constructed?" That is an interesting question in light of the fact that there is currently an intense social (and political) desire to simplify certain social categories, particularly those that make reference to gender. "Social categories" might not invoke much in everyday parlance, but they give us points of reference in almost all aspects of social life. Social categories such as those of gender (such as “man”, “woman” or “gay”) or morality (“good”, “bad”) show us that culture(s) changes over time and that what we now understand in one way depends on social, historical, political and cultural contexts.

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From object to subject: consciousness at the center of a necessary “reframing” of science and the production of knowledge.

In late December 2016 I wrote this piece for the YHouse blog. YHouse is a newly-formed New York City based organization that is dedicated to approaching the topic of consciousness from a multidisciplinary perspective that includes the hard sciences, social sciences, arts and philosophy; from the for-profit, non-profit and academic world. I started volunteering at YHouse in September 2016. There, I am in charge of photography, taking care of its blog and social media, and, as a social scientist, I occasionally write opinion pieces and commentaries. This piece is a commentary on a talk given by Doctor Piet Hut (one of the founders of YHouse) about the need to come up with new ways of understanding and researching the issue of consciousness.

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Rest in peace, Mr. David Bowie, dear inspiration of mine

I am broken-hearted. I cannot find words that will do justice to what I feel about David Bowie’s passing; neither about his death nor about how much his artistry influenced my life. He is the first person (and one of the only ones) I ever saw who showed that what you produce and show to the world can be anything: music, acting, a life of artistry in general and to the full extent of the word.

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Being consequential, the real thing to do.

What I DO think is that good wishes evaporate in the air. Prayers are just that, good wishes. Putting up a picture of a flag on your Facebook wall is the same thing. Furthermore, reminding people that they are being hypocrites for not paying attention to other less media-favored societies is exactly the same. Good wishes, ideas, that one week from now will disappear when life becomes, once again, "business as usual".

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French flags on Facebook? No.

I am not putting a French flag on my picture. I refuse to do that because doing so demonstrates exactly what is wrong with this war the world has been in for 14 years now. I stand in solidarity with the French people, but also with those in Lebanon, Syria, Irak, Afghanistan, the United States, and really all humanity at this point. I also stand in solidarity with refugees in Europe, who ran away from terror only to now there being political voices in Europe saying that they shouldn't find peace there either.

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The links between then and now in photography

Here is a link to an amazing set of photos that resonate today. These were taken by one of Hitler's personal photographers in Jewish ghettos in Poland at a time when color photography was still in its infancy (but resonate with us modern viewers because they appear natural to our color-accustomed eyes).

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The end of capitalism is at hand? This is the most capitalist thing one could say!

The argument in this article is based on the notion that access to information is getting humanity out of Capitalism. But access to information is limited around the world [...] What the author is arguing is that, from the Capitalist producer point of view, this is a different type of Capitalism… but the rest of society continues to “thrive” under the ideas, systems of exploitation (material and information) made from above??? Dear gents and ladies, this is Capitalism at its best!

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