Luis Tsukayama Cisneros is a PhD candidate in sociology at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He is also a photographer and is currently exploring photography as a medium of emotional engagement and narrative.
Luis’ doctoral dissertation (titled “Food across many differences: the unexpected emergence of commonality in Lima”) seeks to understand why and how eating and food have become, since the mid-2000s, a symbolic space of civility (and imagined equality) in Lima, Peru, despite everyday social practices of exclusion and class-based boundary-making that are central in how Limeños build their identities, along with an important historical tradition of economic, political and spatial separation in the city aggravated by mass migration from the countryside to Lima since the 1950s. Luis’ research is focused on the question of what is there when a society lacks the essential elements of “democracy” as it is traditionally understood in Western societies. Through qualitative, historical and ethnographic research, his research shows that in Lima, Peru—as in many other societies around the world—civility, social relationships and social cohesion almost always take place outside of the political and institutional spheres, in the realm of culture (through things such as food, literature, sports, the arts and aesthetics).
In addition to his dissertation, he is also interested in the relationship between aesthetics and society; the way in which social imagination plays a central role in the people’s construction of reality; and how people make sense of their own life narratives and identities in adverse socioeconomic and political contexts.
- Cultural and political sociology
- Democracy, civil society and civility
- Aesthetics and art
- Latin American studies