[URBANTH-L]ANN: Workshop: Local Space and Social Conflict

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Tue Feb 20 19:47:37 EST 2007

Workshop: Local Space & Social Conflict

Wednesday, 30.5.2007, 12-18h
Center for Metropolitan Studies,
TU Berlin
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 3rd floor

Social struggles emerge at the local level in the form of conflicts over 
public and private spaces. The transformation of socio-spatial 
environments as a result of what is commonly called 'globalization' has 
led to a deepening of social divisions and a re-hierarchization of 
space. This scalar re-organization becomes particularly visible within 
large urban centers, since it is here that many of the policies and 
practices responsible for this transformation have been and are being 
implemented. In response to intensified interurban competition, policies 
have shifted towards the attraction of investment, tourism and the 
middle classes to the inner city, while simultaneously tightening 
control over the urban poor. Visible poverty as well as non-conformity 
to norms that advance the above policies is pressurized due to a fear of 
social instability.
This process is contested. Urban social movements increasingly address 
the local level. 'Anti-globalization' activists highlight the spaces in 
which a neoliberal political economy is implemented and is at its most 
vulnerable. Local grassroots initiatives turn against the exclusionary 
effects of the new urban politics (e.g. gentrification, privatization, 
or festivalization of urban cultural events) as well as more 
NIMBY-oriented local initiatives.

We want to explore these issues along the following questions: What are 
the mechanisms and larger social structures behind local struggles? How 
and why are certain local conflicts controlled, appeased, ignored or 
even fostered and induced by state intervention? Which new forms of 
exclusion are produced? How is and can exclusion and control be 
contested at the local level?
The focus of the workshop is on cities in Europe and North America. Our 
goal is to investigate the empirical richness of concrete conflicts, but 
always in relation to larger social and political-economic processes.

The workshop aims at providing PhD-students and Postdocs from any 
discipline with an interest in critical urban studies with the 
opportunity to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.

Preliminary schedule:
12.00 - 13.30 Introduction: Neil Smith
13.30 - 13.45 Coffee break
13.45 - 15.45 Paper presentation no. 1 + 2
15.45 - 16.00 Coffee break
16.00 - 18.00 Paper presentation no. 3 + 4
18.00 - open end: Food & drinks

To make a fruitful discussion possible, we want to restrict the number 
of participants to a maximum of 15-20 people. We therefore expect 
reliable registration. Texts will be circulated in advance and should be 
read by all participants in advance for an engaged and informed 
discussion. For those coming from outside Berlin, information about 
cheap hostels will be provided and we will try to find private 
accommodation with local students if needed.

If you want to participate please send an e-mail with brief CV and 
research interests. If you are interested in doing a 20-minute paper 
presentation please include an abstract.

Bas van Heur, bas.vanheur at metropolitanstudies.de
Jenny Künkel, jenny.kuenkel at metropolitanstudies.de

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