[URBANTH-L]Correction: IUAES Conference, Urban Identity, Power, and Space

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Mon Jan 15 18:58:45 EST 2007

There was a formatting problem with David Haines announcement of the IUAES
conference, "Urban Identity, Power, and Space."  Below is the announcement 
in its entirety.
A printable version of this announcement is also available on David's 
at: http://gunston.doit.gmu.edu/dhaines1/iuaes.doc

Apologies for the inconvenience.  AJ

Annual Conference of the Commission on Urban Anthropology
International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences


Urban Identity, Power and Space:
The Case of Trans-European Corridors
Tirana - 27-31 August 2007

Conference Convenor: Dr G. B. Prato - Co-Chairperson CUA

In association with

Institute of Folk Culture (Albania Academy of Sciences)
University Zoja e Këshillit të Mirë (Tirana)
University of Kent (U.K.)
University of the Peloponnesus (Greece)

The programmes for the reconstruction of post-Communist Europe have been 
compared to the Marshall Plan implemented after WWII. These programmes, 
however, are having a significant impact not only on post-Communist 
countries but also on the rest of Europe and on other areas worldwide. These 
programmes aim at fostering peace, democracy, respect of human rights and 
economic prosperity, through a shared strategy of stability and cooperation 
among the involved countries. To this extent, the construction of the 
so-called Trans-European Corridors - also known as Multimodal Transport 
Network - seems to be playing a central role in such a strategy, but it has 
raised controversial issues at the local level.

The 'Trans-European Corridors' aim at making exchange of goods, people, oil 
and other energy supplies easier between the EU, the East and South-East 
European states and other areas of the world. They also aim at improving 
stability in historically troubled regions of Europe.

The conference will address the changes that are occurring throughout Europe 
in relation to the construction of the Corridors and their impact on global 
politics. In particular, it will focus on urban change, old and new 
identities and the methodological issues raised by carrying out research in 
this new geo-political situation.
The conference will be structured around three main Sessions: 1) Corridors 
of Power; 2) History and Memories; 3) Anthropology, Research and Local 
Spaces, and a Session 4 aimed at postgraduates' Poster Presentations. The 
Sessions will follow a sequential order, focusing on specific aspects of the 
conference's overall theme, with the aim of stimulating discussion among 
participants. CUA encourages interdisciplinarity and the participation of 
research students.

Session 1. Corridors of Power - Convenor: Dr Italo Pardo, University of 
Kent, UK.
E-mail address: i.pardo at kent.ac.uk

The progressive enlargement of the European Union and the subsequent 
'restructuring' has led to a redefinition of identities and boundaries, 
including, political, economic and symbolic boundaries. Such ongoing process 
of redefinition poses disciplinary challenges and the question of how to 
link academic research to responsible and legitimate policy.

The construction of the Trans-European Corridors has brought to a head 
critical aspects of this problematic. While the dominant political rhetoric 
has portrayed the Corridors as an opportunity for economic development and 
integration, they and their ramifications have been either hailed or 
vilified at grassroots level, often with equally strong feelings. 
Environmental and cultural concerns have been voiced. Economic development 
and sometimes conflict have been stimulated, particularly by the growing 
participation of the private sector in urban affairs. Legal problems remain 
unsolved in highly significant fields, such as the regulation of 
international business deals, citizenship rights and cultural conflict. Such 
complexity has raised both fundamental issues of legitimacy at the various 
levels of the decision-making process and significant questions on how this 
process is experienced at the local level, particularly in urban areas; on 
how it is affecting urban change and expansion; on what impact the internal 
and international demographic movement, particularly, though not only from 
outside the European Union, is having on urban life and identity; on the 
attendant competition; on whether the new social, economic and spatial 
situation is contributing to entrenching or to solving existing problems and 
on whether new forms of inequality and exclusion or new opportunities and 
forms of integration are instead taking shape. The mixture of graded 
timidity and political determinism with which the ruling élite in various 
countries have addressed this problematic has visibly compounded on their 
difficult relationship with citizenship.

An anthropological approach based on a contested understanding of the 
empirical situation at the local level illuminates key methodological and 
theoretical issues with specific reference to relations of power among 
different States and between governing élite groups (national and 
international) and the rest of society.

Session 2. History and Memories: Roads of Power-Roads of Exchange and how we 
came to remember them - Convenors: Gerda Dalipaj and Armanda Hysa, Albania 
Academy of Sciences. E-mail addresses: ethno_studies at yahoo.com; 
armanda_hysa at yahoo.com

The development of huge communication networks has been historically linked 
with the expansion of empires. Communication through roads has been central 
to economic, political and cultural unification, as well as to military 
domination. Over time, these roads have affected and have been affected by 
the changes in economic and political relations. However, although initially 
built to serve military purposes for the acquisition of new areas and the 
control of those already conquered, they turned out to be roads of exchange, 
linking these areas to each-other and to the centre, while reshaping 
existing borders. These roads became the source of livelihood for many 
communities, also generating a new sense of belonging. People who lived near 
them, or made use of them, transformed their space while, in turn, being 
transformed by it. These roads encouraged new trades, movement of 
population, the creation of new urban settings and the reconfiguration of 
existing ones. The changes that they brought about were also reflected in 
people's lifestyles, especially as people adjusted to the new circumstances 
either through resistance or through cultural, economic and political 

The Trans-European Corridors, which are now being built along ancient 
itineraries, are presented as corridors of power and to power. The history 
of the old itineraries is being used to stress a past identity and a 
re-discovered belonging, or to legitimise the new politics of the involved 
states in opposition to those who stress the original military purposes 
ignoring the impact they had on economic development and cultural exchange.

This session addresses historical, social and political issues. It asks, who 
built the old roads of communication and why? What were their itineraries? 
What were their primary purposes and how have they changed over time? How 
did they affect people's life and sense of belonging through new trading 
centres, movement of population, new urban settings and the changes they 
brought to existing ones, and the reshaping of borders? The session also 
addresses the ways in which history and social memory are politically used, 
and the extent to which our understanding of 'roads of power' affects our 
scientific approach to the study of history, culture and society.

Session 3. Anthropology, research and local spaces: Spatial connections and 
representations - Convenor: Dr Manos Spyridakis, University of the 
Peloponnese, Greece.
E-mail address: maspy at otenet.gr

Social anthropology has been historically founded on the primacy of 
participant observation, which has undeniably shaped the epistemological 
'autonomy' of the discipline.

Participant observation takes place in a specific geographic space, the 
field. Space has traditionally been seen as portioned, as divided up into 
localities, places, regions. An isomorphism was assumed between 
culture/society and place. Cultures had their own places, and the 
differences between place-based cultures were believed to be internally 
generated and preconstituted. This created a picture of identification of 
space with the culture that it 'included' and vice-versa. 'Territorialized' 
data gave a sense of 'real' world and a certainty that what one needed to 
know about the field could be found in a limited space. Therefore, the field 
as a limited space predetermined the information and its interpretation.

Many anthropologists see this notion of 'enclosed', 'isolated' field as 
obsolete. Today, places are seen to function more as palimpsests within 
which the game of identity, multiplicity and relations are in an incessant 
process of embeddedness and recreation in social, economic and political 
terms. Therefore, the anthropological field as a space through which the 
social action exists constitutes a means for bringing about the variety of 
practices and not their ending, because social action is also affected by 
processes that take place outside the anthropological field.

This session intends to challenge fixed views about space through 
anthropological work in urban and other contexts, keeping in mind that space 
as such is not a neutral entity; it is, instead,  an interactive entity 
involving social practices, which in turn affect the notion of field and of 
anthropological practice and theory. The challenge is to see place and space 
in a way which is not defined in terms of exclusivity, of contraposition 
between an inside and an outside and which is independent of false notions 
of internally-generated authenticity.

This session proposes three stimuli for discussion: Space is a product of 
interrelations since it is made out of interactions. Space entails 
multiplicity and plurality. Therefore, it is a constantly open system of 
actions; it is always being made, never finished.

Session 4. 'Poster Presentation' - Convenor: Albert P. Nikolla - Univ. "Our 
Lady of Good Council". Tirana. Albania. E-mail: a.nikolla at unizkm.edu.al

The main aim of this Session is to offer young researchers from Albania, the 
Balkan Region and beyond an opportunity to present their work to a broader 
audience, and to encourage contacts among junior younger scholars and 
between them and the International Scientific Community.

Paper proposals should be submitted both to the Session's and the Conference's 
Convenors by 31 January 2007. Proposals should include the paper title, an 
abstract of 250 words, the author's name, institution, address and a brief 
biography. Please indicate if you need technical equipment for your paper 
presentation. The working language of the Conference will be English. Paper 
proposals from scholars from related disciplines are encouraged. Accepted 
papers will be notified by the end of February.

Registration Fee: The Conference registration fee will be 20 Euros.
There will be no registration fee for postgraduate Poster Presentations.

Output: A selection of revised papers will be published in an edited volume 
and in academic Journals.

Conference Committee:

Giuliana B. Prato - Co-Chair, Commission on Urban Anthropology - E-mail: 
g.b.prato at kent.ac.uk
Italo Pardo - University of Kent (UK) - E-mail: i.pardo at kent.ac.uk
Gerda Dalipaj - Institute of Folk Culture (Albania Academy of Sciences)
E-mail: ethno_studies at yahoo.com
Armanda Hysa - Institute of Folk Culture (Albania Academy of Sciences)
E-mail: armanda_hysa at yahoo.com
Albert Nikolla - University Zoja e Këshillit të Mirë (Tirana) - E-mail: 
a.nikolla at unizkm.edu.al
Manos Spyridakis - University of the Peloponnesus (Greece) - E-mail: 
maspy at otenet.gr
Nebi Bardoshi  - Institute of Folk Culture (Albania Academy of Sciences) - 
Co-ordinator of local organisation and social events - E-mail: 
nebeda at yahoo.com
Rafaela Marteta - Conference Executive Secretary - E-mail: 
rafaelamarteta at yahoo.it

More information on the Conference Programme can be obtained from Dr 
Giuliana B. Prato, Co-Chair of the Commission on Urban Anthropology.

Information on Travel and Accommodation can be obtained from Mrs Rafaela 
Marteta, Conference Executive Secretary.

Further details will be posted on the Commission's website:

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