[URBANTH-L]ICAES 2008 - call for papers

Eveline Duerr eveline.duerr at ethno.uni-freiburg.de
Mon Feb 19 05:29:46 EST 2007

Call for papers
Creative Capacity: Cultural Diversity as Potential and
Problem in South Pacific Cities
Convenor: Eveline Dürr

Academic Session for the Commission on Urban Anthropology,
International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological
Sciences (ICAES): Humanity, Development and Cultural
Diversity, Kunming, China, July 15-23, 2008

Cities have been identified as key centres of intercultural
encounters and dialogues, constituting compact spaces where
the myriad facets of interculturality become manifest. This
is particularly evident in cities of Australasia and the
island countries of the South Pacific, where exchange,
mobility and diversity have been enduring and crucial
features since historical times. Globalisation processes
intensified these characteristics and contemporary city
dwellers are mobile across urban spaces and beyond national
boundaries, creating wide ranging transnational networks
which transport powerful imaginaries of homelands, distant
places, interpretations of modernity as well as goods,
services and remittances. Cities also offer a range of
choices in lifestyles and are places of imagined
modernities which affect generations and gender
In 2001, cultural diversity was acknowledged for the first
time as “the common heritage of humanity” by the UNESCO’s
Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The
articulation and adoption of further declarations on
cultural plurality reflect its increasing significance for
political agendas worldwide and defines it as a
characteristic of humanity. Following these lines, this
proposed session critically reviews current notions and
implications of cultural diversity in cities from broadly
three different angles: representation, cultural politics
and spatial perception.
The representation of harmonious multiculturalism and
plurality as a political vision advocating tolerance and
offering possibilities is part of neo-liberal aspirations
and economic globalisation. In this vein, creative
celebrations of cultural identities find expression in
performances, re-invented rituals and other colourful
representations. Cultural diversity can also be
conceptualised as economic value adding to the seemingly
timeless exotic flair of the South Pacific as often
suggested in Western imaginations. However, these cultural
politics and performances may not result in social
integration but rather may produce conflicts, segregation,
deprivation, discrimination, discourses on cultural
pollution and other forms of social exclusion. These
dynamics are often recognised as part of the relationship
between minority groups and the dominant society but they
can also characterise relations among diverse minority
groups competing in the urban context. Concepts of
indigeneity are reformulated as political instruments or as
controversies over the legal implication of firstness
challenging claims to group specific rights, the
universality of human rights and access to scarce
resources. Changing cultural compositions require also a
political response in terms of revised urban policies and
good governance strategies. Particular attention is given
to urban conditions and adjustments for social justice and
sustainable development. Increasing cultural diversity
alters also the ways of conceiving urban space. Dynamic
processes of placemaking are driven by diverse
interpretations and uses of the urban environment and the
way space is appropriated and re-conceptualised by cultural
specific strategies. 
Comparative and reflective anthropological research based
on fieldwork contributes to the understanding and analyzing
of these essential urban challenges. Papers addressing
these aspects in contemporary societies are welcome.

Please email your abstract (ca. 200 words) accompanied by
information about the author (name, affiliation) to
Eveline.Duerr at aut.ac.nz. Deadline for paper proposals is
July 31st 2007. For more information about the ICAES
conference see http://www.icaes2008.org

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