Ongoing research in urban history targets important aspects of urban culture, economics, religion, society, politics and institutions of urban environments from the Middle Ages to the present day, and addresses their interconnection. Specific niches currently focused upon include
- the history of everyday culture
- the history of folklore and religion
- the culture of urban elites
- art, books, and cultural production and consumption
- the study of urban networks
- urban economies and transportation history
The prime focus is on social-economic history and on cultural history. Collaborations have been set up with research groups outside the history department and there are close relations with the numerous archives, municipal study centers and musea in the Antwerp region and beyond. In line with developments in the field of urban history, emphasis is placed on the interaction and symbiosis between city and countryside.
As such, topics that exceed the limits of the city territory, such as
- the study of shrines and pilgrimages
- the spread of religion
- supply of urban areas
- the functioning of urban networks
are equally investigated, within social and economic history but also in cultural history.
Migration an inter-culturalism
Contemporary society, and urban environment in particular, face challenges brought about by migration pressure and today’s increasingly intercultural environment for living and working. The University of Antwerp’s research excellence and expertise relating to migration, integration of ethnic minorities and intercultural societal issues has been clustered in an interfaculty research centre, in which both fundamental and applied research is performed with research input from diverse fields, such
as applied economics, sociology, political sciences, law, philosophy, medical sciences, education and information sciences, and development management and -policy.
Since more than 20 years, the University of Antwerp has gathered ample scientific expertise in the field of poverty and social exclusion, with research addressing both social and spatial dimensions of living in urban environments.
Actual research topic include:
- measurements and indicators of (multidimensional) poverty
- the living environment of people living in poverty
- poverty reduction and the role of societal actors
- policy for poverty reduction
- poverty and immigrants
- social networks and social mobility
- housing and housing policy
- social housing
- children and youngsters in an urban context
- urban policy
Both basic and applied research is pursued, and quantitative and qualitative research methods are being used. Social problems and issues are studied mainly from a sociological point of view, but also involve expertise from other disciplines gathered within and outside the university. There is interest in increased research collaboration with anthropologists, social geographers, criminologists, psychologists and architects.
Governance of cities
Aspects of governance of cities and municipalities, and more generally of public governance are studied within the law faculty, in particular in the research cluster Government and law; within the research group Public Administration and Management of the Department of Political Sciences and within the Department of Management of the Faculty of Applied Economics, which includes the Antwerp Centre of Evolutionary Demography (ACED).