[URBANTH-L] Lumpen-City: Discourses of Marginality/Marginalizing Discourses (Toronto)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Mon Nov 10 11:21:39 EST 2008

*** Please forward widely ***

CFP: Interdisciplinary Conference at York University, Toronto, Canada
March 12-13, 2009

Discourses of Marginality | Marginalizing Discourses

Research on marginalized urban residents has been an academic cottage
industry throughout the history of the social sciences - addressing
social problems related to issues such as poverty, crime, youth, race,
ethnicity, gender, health, and employment. To apprehend these notions
of difference, conceptualizations of the poor, the underclass, the
outcast, the ghetto, exclusion, marginality and others have been
developed and applied. Inevitably, research defines and represents a
group and as such influences everyday preconceptions and
politico-administrative strategies, including policies, regulations
and laws.

Contextualizing cultural and behavioural patterns of marginalized
populations, academic and activist research commonly seeks to humanize
an excluded group and/ or suggest alternative strategies of
intervention and modes of engagement by which to remedy the inequities
of a particular situation. However, by virtue of representation fixity
is imposed upon the identified population. Marginalized and excluded
groups are often rendered vulnerable and passive through the
circumscribed dictates of representational inscription. How can
innovative and creative discourses break with this pattern of

This conference challenges academics and activist-scholars alike to
reflect upon the realities and potentialities of research on
marginalized urban populations in the context of their struggles. We
invite scholarly contributions which illuminate issues of
representation by exploring multiple axes of identity such as class,
race, gender, ethnicity, age, ability / disability, and sexuality.

The York University Sociology Graduate Students' Association (YSGA) in
conjunction with the City Institute at York University and the
Collaborative Urban Research Laboratory (CURL) invite academics and
activist-scholars to participate in the interdisciplinary debates of
this conference on Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th 2009 in
Toronto, Canada.

We accept proposals for:
- Academic papers (Presentation of 20 minutes)
- Short films, art, poetry or other forms of creative dialogue.

The deadline for proposals / abstracts (approx. 250 words) is December 15th.
Submission materials and general inquiries should be addressed to:
LumpenCity2009 at gmail.com

Selected papers will be considered for publication.

Travel bursaries may be available.

Possible areas of engagement include, but are not limited to:

1. Methodological engagements:

   The poetics and politics of representation
   Comparing marginality across borders & boundaries
   The description, inscription, and circumscription of research design
   Ethnographic immersions
   Activist alliances
   Methodological alterities: Narratives of inversion/subversion

2. Institutional interrogations:

   Local, extra-local, regional, national, international contextualizations
   Welfare state retrenchment and visions of poverty
   The funding and financing of research
   Fashions, fads and foibles of urban research
   Re-structuring the university
   University-community collaborations

3. Controversies and Contestations:

   Spectacularization of the urban outcast
   Spaces of Struggle: Neoliberal citizenship and representations of
urban marginality
   Post/Colonialism and the metropolis
   The Unrepresentable Multitude in the Lumpen-City
   Public sociology / sociologies
   The marginalized and media discourse

4. Challenges and Change:

   The role of activism in academia
   Critique and the public sphere
   Research, resistance and revolution
   Envisioning the just city: claiming the right to the city
   Social movements, citizenship and critical urban praxis
   Progressive visual and aesthetic engagements

Roger Keil
The City Institute at York University (CITY)


Co-editor The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)

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