Immigrants and the domesticization of public spaces in Europe

Organizers: Jan Willem Duyvendak (University of Amsterdam, NL) Paolo Boccagni (Università di Trento, IT); Andrea Brighenti (Università di Trento, IT).


 “Home”, as an everyday experience of social reproduction and boundary making, is not necessarily restricted to the domestic sphere. It can also involve, interestingly, a variety of urban settings. This session aims to collect research on the ways in which immigrant minorities use and appropriate public urban spaces as a source of “derived domesticity”, or a channel of home-making out of their dwelling places and far away from their home countries. How can feelings of home – as a variable combination of familiarity, haven and heaven (Duyvendak, 2011) – be cultivated and negotiated in public urban spaces, as far as labour immigrants and refugees are concerned?

Empirically- and theoretically-based papers, which address this question in original ways, are invited.

We welcome also case studies that interrogate the inter- and intra-ethnic tensions, conflicts and dilemmas potentially associated to migrants’ home-making processes. The implications for urban governance processes are, likewise, an interesting focus of analysis. Prospective participants are invited to explore how immigrants’ home-making practices in the public sphere interact with the broader discursive and political ways of dealing with ethnic diversity in urban areas – including the emphasis on inclusive “diversity” in the self-representations of large cities, the commodification of diversity which underpins gentrification processes and, more critically, the real and systematic processes of urban segregation and marginalization of immigrant minorities.

While the session is open to a variety of methodological approaches and disciplinary backgrounds, contributions with ethnographic (and broadly qualitative) bases are particularly welcome, as they dialogue with the literature on home, ethnicity, belonging and place-making. Consistent with the Conference purposes, our session aims to contribute to a better understanding of the gap between “ideal visions of the city” and the “unpredictability” of everyday developments of urban life, given the “social, economic and political contexts” underlying interethnic relations in urban milieus.

E5 Immigrants and the domesticization of public spaces in Europe

Chairs: Jan Willem Duyvendak (University of Amsterdam) Paolo Boccagni (Università di Trento) Andrea Brighenti (Università di Trento)


Carrie Benjamin
At Home on the Street: How Working Class Migrants Use Public Space in Paris

Nicholas Harney
Ritual activism and the contestation over urban space in the everyday

Shannon Damery
Homeless in the house of God? Homeless in a Brussels church

Magda Bolzoni
Upscaling diversity? Some reflections on commodification and control of diversity in a trendy multicultural neighbourhood

Elena Fontanari
The everyday practices of refugees enacting different “homes”

Distributed papers

Christian Haid
Eat to Feel at Home, Eat to Travel – Picnicking at Thai Park Berlin

Claudio Marcelo Garcia de Araujo
Resourceful informal networks, Brazilians in Berlin

Guido Belloni
Tackling urban segregation of forced migrants in Milan: the (re)appropriation of public spaces through football

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