Performing Cities: Engaging the High-tech Flâneur


  • Karen Rodríguez
  • Bradley Rink



City, Intersecting cultures, Student engagement, Technology, Place, Study abroad, Education abroad


 The city is a place of intersecting cultures, identities and ideas that also serves as fertile ground for learning within the context of study abroad. Using the notion of the flâneur, this article problematizes students’ engagement with the spaces and places of the city with special attention to the mediating role now played by technology.  We interweave a theoretical discussion with empirical examples from two urban study abroad locales and with suggestions for practice. We argue that despite the complex array of resources the student employs to take on the foreign city, it is only the savvy wanderer who picks up on the subtle differences that we elusively refer to as a city’s “character” or personality and who understands their own shifting role of spectator, wanderer, and performer—thus entering into a relationship with place.


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Author Biographies

Karen Rodríguez

Karen Rodríguez is the Director of the CIEE Study Center in Guanajuato, Mexico. She has masters degrees in both Applied Anthropology and Latin American Studies, and a PhD in Cultural Studies. Her research interests include psychoanalysis, cities, and the intersections between writing, culture, and subjectivity. 

Bradley Rink

Bradley Rink has been involved in the field of education abroad since 1992. He currently serves as Resident Director of the CIEE Study Center at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He is a geographer by training and holds a bachelor's degree from Saint John’s University, masters degrees from the School for International Training and the University of Vermont, and a PhD (Geography) from the University of Cape Town. His research interests include utopian urban landscapes, sexuality and space and culture & the city. 


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How to Cite

Rodríguez, K., & Rink, B. (2011). Performing Cities: Engaging the High-tech Flâneur. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 20(1), 103–119.