Urban Anthropology & Photography

Urban anthropology is a subset of anthropology concerned with issues of settlement, immigration, urbanization and poverty.  It is a relatively new and developing field which became more consolidated during the 1960s and 1970s.

As part of my fieldwork, I came across a series of interesting photos that portray the neighborhoods of the city of Salvador, Bahia Brazil over the past century.  Salvador is one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere. It was settled in 1549 and was the first capital of Brazil. Some of the photos show Salvador at the end of the 19th century.



While others, portray the city during the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s.



Still others, capture the mode of life during the 1960s and 1970s.


Anthropology typically differs from other affiliated fields of science by its method of gathering information. Scientists prefer research design, where defined independent and dependent variables are used. Anthropologists, however, prefer the ethnographic method, which is broader and does not oversimplify a case. Urban anthropology covers a broad subject area and for this reason, urban anthropologists find it easier to incorporate research design in their methods and usually define the city as either the independent variable or the dependent variable. So, the study would be conducted on either the city as the factor on some measure, such as immigration, or the city as something that is responding to some measure.

A video portraying a more in-depth review of these photos can be found below.

I would like to thank the Biblioteca do Estado do Bahia and the Arquivo Público do Estado da Bahia for these archives.

8 thoughts on “Urban Anthropology & Photography

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