[URBANTH-L]cfp: Cultural diversity between staging and everyday practices – Managing cultural diversity in cities in Eastern Europ e

gdaniecc at cms.hu-berlin.de gdaniecc at cms.hu-berlin.de
Tue Mar 11 12:58:39 EDT 2008

Cultural diversity between staging and everyday practices –
Managing cultural diversity in cities in Eastern Europe

Call for papers:
Anthropology of East Europe Review, special issue, spring 2009

Guest editors:
Cordula Gdaniec, Humboldt University Berlin
Eszter Gantner, ELTE University Budapest / Touro College Berlin

In this collection of articles we aim to present case studies of
qualitative ethnographic research in a variety of cities in central, east
and south-east Europe on the theme of (diverse) cultural practices and
their spatial manifestation in the city, which we define here as urban
culture (cf. Hannerz 1993 and 2000, Zukin 1995). The focus is on different
perspectives of cultural practices such as ethnicity, lifestyle /
(post-)subcultures, gender or consumption.

Cities are built on and develop through cultural diversity. This implies
that urban culture is necessarily diverse, multi-faceted, often
contradictory, even conflicting. Every city manages this ethnic and
cultural mix in a different way: While most cities are spatial
manifestations of their multicultural society, representing a
heterogeneous urban landscape as well as a politics of multiculturalism /
cultural diversity some actively foster this cultural capital. Other
cities merely tolerate the existing multitude of different lifestyles and
groups, where certain groups are forced to carve out their own, separate
spaces within the city, forming an urban cultural mosaic.

In an age of cultural and economic globalisation and increasing
transnationalism of people’s lives, cultural diversity in the city is
becoming an ever more important topic within certain branches of the
economy, in politics, and, not least, in the everyday lives of the city’s
inhabitants. On most city administrations’ agendas cultural diversity
plays a key role in city marketing and urban policy, they cultivate a
rhetoric of diversity as a positive and profitable aspect of urban
culture. Beneath a discourse of multiculturalism and tolerance on the one
hand there lies, of course, a reality of everyday experience with
intolerance and racism on the part of members of “non-mainstream” cultural
groups. It is also an increasingly urgent item on policy agendas as city
authorities and public discourse perceive social and economic problems as
stemming from an influx of (labour-) migrants, thus racialising urban
problems and “Others”.

This special issue proposes to address the following questions: Firstly,
how do city governments and public discourses deal with this increasing
multiplicity of urban culture, especially where it results in higher
fragmentation of the urban landscape and, secondly, how are the different
cultures inscribed into the urban landscape; when and where are they
present in public space; where and how do they (have to) carve out their
private spaces? The interaction between city governments and diverse
cultural groups and the interaction between the appropriation of public
and private spaces, which involves negotiations about contested spaces and
cultures, is a crucial element of urban culture and the development of the
social, economic and spatial fabric of the city.

While there is a large body of literature on the subject concerning west
European and North American cities there appears to be a dearth of
research in and of east European cities. We welcome papers from (urban)
anthropologists and cultural geographers to collate analyses of these
issues in Eastern Europe.

Please send abstracts of 700-1000 words by e-mail to the two editors
by May 5th 2008
Accepted texts must be completed by Oct. 31st, 2008
The editors reserve the right of article selection.

Cordula Gdaniec c.gdaniec at gmail.com
Eszter Gantner gantneresz at gmail.com

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