[URBANTH-L]Call for papers-urban cultural diversity

Eveline Duerr eveline.duerr at ethno.uni-freiburg.de
Sat Sep 29 00:36:45 EDT 2007

Call for papers

Creative Capacity: Urban Cultural Diversity as Potential
and Problem
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.
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 constructions. 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. 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
extended until October 25th 2007. For more information
about the ICAES conference see http://www.icaes2008.org

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