‘Comparative Urban Studies’ School

Amsterdam School for Social Science Research
University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
1-12 July 2011

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Isa Baud

Challenging comparisons from the global south: mapping inequalities, citizenship and e-governance 
This session takes up the issue of how citizenship is claimed through diverse channels by middle-class and marginalized groups in cities in several countries of the global South. The focus in this session will be on mapping spatialized social inequalities in cities, and mechanisms, which local governments and citizen groups have developed to increase accountability strategies. The emerging middle-class in many cities has become stronger in urban agenda-setting, promoting middle-class city visioning and further marginalization of the poor. E-governance is seen as a means to make politics more transparent and accountable, but our research suggests a number of hurdles that need to be taken.
Drawing on work in India, Peru, and Brazil, the session will show the analytical implications of these processes, discuss the methodologies of mapping that ground discussions of e-governance and citizenship, and the mapping of inequalities in cities in the South.

Compulsory reading
Fernandez, L. and Heller, P. (2006). Hegemonic aspirations, New Middle Class Politics and India’s Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Critical Asian Studies, 38:4, 495–522
Additional reading
Baud, I.S.A.  Sridharan, N. and Pfeffer, K. (2008). Mapping Urban Poverty for Local Governance in an Indian Mega-City: The Case of Delhi, Urban Studies, 45: 7, 1385-1412.
Patel, S. et al (2009). ‘Getting the information base for Dharavi’s redevelopment’, Environment & Urbanization, 21:1, 241-253. (freely downloadable)
Hordijk, M.A. (2009). ‘Peru’s Participatory Budgeting: Configurations of Power, Opportunities
for Change’, The Open Urban Studies Journal, 2, 43-5 (open access)

Talja Blokland

Asking questions, doing theory, mixing methods
In this talk, the main point of departure is the question how we get interested in the questions we ask and the methods we use for studying them.  Starting from two ethnographic accounts of Good People ending up dong unhelpful things, we will see that understanding processes and mechanisms within a relational theoretical approach determines a methodology that includes both traditional social surveys as well as qualitative data collection techniques without taking one as simply addition to the other. Drawing on various research projects, the lecture seeks to also address some of the practical problems that one then has to face.

Compulsory reading
Tilly, Ch. (2003) Changing forms of inequality. In: Sociological Theory. 21:1, pp.31-36
Additional reading
Blokland, T.V. (2008) Gardening with a Little Help from Your Middle Class Friends. In: Blokland, T & Savage, M (2008) Networked Urbanism, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 147-170
Blokland, T.V. (2008). You got to remember you live in public housing: Place-making in an American housing project. In: Housing Theory and Society, 25(1), 31-46.
Blokland, T. & G. Van Eijk (2010) Do people who like diversity practice diversity in neighbourhood life? Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol 36, no. 2, pp. 313-332

Anouk de Koning

Ethnographic perspectives on public space

This lecture will explore ethnographic perspectives on public space. Urban geographers, sociologists and political scientist have converged on the theme of public space, which has been conceptualized as a key component of quintessential urban social life and urban modernity, as a space where social cohesion is established or broken down, where differences can be experienced and diversity lived, or as an arena for democratic politics and society.
While acknowledging the importance of relatively open, accessible spaces to social life, ethnographic research can raise important questions concerning the concept of public space. Rather than assuming the existence of an implicitly homogeneous and already known public space, we might wonder what different kinds of public spaces exist in various socio-cultural settings, how they are produced as social spaces, what rules they are seen to entail, and how they entitle some and disenfranchise others. Besides, has the public quality of public space changed, as many analyses of neoliberal urbanism would have it, and if so, how and with what consequences?

Compulsory reading
Anouk de Koning (2009) Gender, public space and social segregation in Cairo: Of taxi drivers, prostitutes and professional women. Antipode 41(3):533–556.
Don Mitchell (2004) The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space. New York: Guilford Press. Chapter 4: The end of public space? (pp. 118-160).
Additional reading
Sudipta Kaviraj (1997) Filth and the public sphere: Concepts and practices about space in Calcutta. Public Culture 10(1):83–113.
Greg Noble (2005) The discomfort of strangers: racism, incivility and ontological security in a relaxed and comfortable nation. Journal of Intercultural Studies 26(1):107-120.

James Holston

Urban Citizenship and Right to the City
This lecture suggests that in many contemporary cities around the world, national citizenships are being reconfigured through conflicts over the terms and aspirations of city life.  The urban citizenships that result generally arise in the realm of everyday domestic life.  They gather force around the struggle for the right to have a daily life in the city worthy of a citizen’s dignity, one which regimes of national citizenship deny to many residents.  Accordingly, these alternative formulations of citizenship get conceived in terms of housing, property, plumbing, daycare and other aspects of residential life.  They emerge when people act not primarily as nationals but as urban residents who legitimate their needs for dignity and livelihood on the basis of their sense of stakes in the city, of making, contributing to, and appropriating it.  The many meanings of this making often coalesce into a sense that they have a right to the city.  This transformation of need into right has made cities strategic arenas for the development of new and insurgent urban citizenships; that is, for a sense of belonging and membership that refers to the city as its primary political community and to a mobilization of right-claims and performances that address city-living as its substance.  The lecture examines how the urbanization of the global south has changed conceptions of right to the city and urban citizenship and investigates a number of problems they generate.  These include antagonisms between city and nation-state, conflicts of class and ethnicity, and the production of new forms of inequality through citizen participation.

Compulsory Reading
James Holston (2009) Insurgent citizenship in an era of global urban peripheries. Cities and Society 21(2): 253-277.
Additional Reading
David Harvey (2008) The right to the city. New Left Review 53(Sept/Oct): 23-40.
Balibar, Étienne (2007) Uprisings in the banlieuses. Constellations 14(1): 47-71.

Patrick Le Galès

Urban governance: What is governed?
Governments govern of course, like workers work, but what exactly? The urban government/governance debate has proved quite fruitful to contribute to the understanding of the transformation of cities. By contrast to classic views about local government, scholars from various origins have tried to understand the political capacity of groups within cities to steer, pilot, change the urban society, to adapt to outside pressure, to be transformed by state new policies or by market competition logics. In other words, governance and government are not linear, and if analysed as process are always incomplete. Urban societies are more or less governed over different period. Studying the limits and discontinuities of government and governance is therefore particularly interesting for urban scholars, a classic way of thinking for scholars working on large metropolis. In this paper, governance is defined as a process of co-ordinating ac­tors, social groups, and institutions to attain particular goals, discussed and defined collectively in fragmented, uncertain environments (Le Galès, 1998). Thus, governance relates to all the institutions, networks, directives, regulations, norms, political and  social usages, public and private actors that contribute to the stability of a society and of a political regime, to its orientation, to its capacity to direct, and to its capacity to provide services and ensure its own legitimacy. In other words, this conceptualisation based upon regulation is useful to answer the following question “who governs when nobody governs ?”. In other words, the point has been made that governments do not govern all the time. On the other hand, there is rarely no government at all, more or less strong, precise, codified, forms of government. Some sectors of the city can classically be organised and steered according to market logics and actors who may, or may not be dependent upon government resources to develop their project. But markets regulations can be combined with other type of regulation.

Compulsory Reading
Le Galès, Patrick (2011) Urban governance in Europe: What is governed?

Philip Kasinitz

Migration, Diversity and Qualitative Research
This lecture  will focus on the  strengths  and limitations of ethnographic and other  forms of qualitative research in studying diverse populations in multi-cultural cities. We will start by reviewing recent findings from major  studies  of migrant  and second generation communities  in the US and Europe and consider what  contributions ethnographic  work has  made to our knowledge thus  far. Drawing examples from these studies, we will then consider  the  positions of  “outsiders” and “insiders” in studying ethnic  communities, the ability of researchers to understand the subjective  life  world of migrant communities, the growing importance of multi-sited “transnational’ ethnographies, the pros and cons of team ethnography, the role of public spaces in studying migrant populations and the increasingly prominent  role of “mixed methods” in social scientific  research.

Compulsory Reading
Philip Kasinitz et al Inheriting the City. Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2008: Chapter 10 (p. 300-340).
Robert C. Smith, Mexican New York. University of California Press, 2006, chapters 2 (pp18 -520 and 8 (p 186-206).
Additional reading
Joana Dreby. Divided By Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children. University of California Press, 2010: 179-2000 (chapter  7).
Nancy Foner and Richard Alba. “Immigrant Religion in The U.S. and Western Europe: Bridges or Barriers to Inclusion”. International Migration Review Volume 42 Number 2 (Summer 2008):360–392.
Philip Kasinitz, “’New York Equalize You”: Continuity and Change in New York’s labor Day Carnival”. In Milla Cozart Riggio, editor, Carnival In Action. Rutledge/TDR. 2004: 270-282. 

John Mollenkopf

The Challenge of Comparison in Urban Studies
Comparative analysis is to a single case study as vision with two eyes is to seeing only with one.  It provides depth perception and a far richer sense of the relative positions of the objects of study.  Yet comparative analysis poses many challenges along with its benefits.  At a theoretical level, comparison can never "control for" many elements while varying only one "independent" variable to examine the resulting outcome, as proponents of the scientific method would advocate.  In reality, most aspects of case studies will vary together, muddying the causal patterns.  At a practical level, the investigator almost always knows one case better than the others, and adding case studies always increases the time and resource requirements for pursuing them thoroughly.  This talk will explore the variety of challenges facing comparative analysis and reflect on strategies for coping with them.

Compulsory reading
Mollenkopf, John (2008) School Is Out: The Case of New York City, in: Urban Affaires Review, (44) 2: 239-265.
Additional reading
Brenner, Neil (2001) World City Theory, Globalization and the Comparative Historical Method. Reflections on Janet Abu-Lughod's Interpretation of Contemporary Urban Restructuring, in Urban Affaires Review, (36) 6: 124-147.
Kazepov, Yuri (2005) The New Urban European Scenario of Local Welfare. The territorial re-organisation of social policies and the multiplication of actors, poster.

Clara H. Mulder

Event history analysis
Event history analysis or hazard analysis is a quantitative method for studying the occurrence of events in a population, for example, the occurrence of moves into the first owner-occupied home among renters in a particular country or group of countries. The method requires longitudinal data on the timing of the event under study among the members of the population and the background factors, and changes therein, that the researcher wants to use to explain the occurrence of the events. The most common types of data used are retrospective life history surveys (in which people are asked about their histories in various life trajectories, with an emphasis on the dates of occurrence of events), panel surveys (in which people are interviewed repeatedly about situations and events in their life courses) and register data, now existing for the Nordic countries and the Netherlands (in which people are followed using data from official registers such as population registers and tax registers). In the lecture, the method will be elucidated and examples will be given of how it can be used in urban research.

Compulsory reading
Yamaguchi, K. (1991). Event history analysis. Newbury Park: Sage (Applied Social Research Methods Series 28). Chapters 1 and 2.
Additional reading
Mulder, C. H., & Wagner, M. (1998). First-time home-ownership in the family life course: A West German-Dutch comparison. Urban Studies, 35(4), 687-713.
Feijten, P., Hooimeijer, P., & Mulder, C. H. (2008). Residential experience and residential environment choice over the life-course. Urban Studies, 45(1), 141-162.

Jennifer Robinson

Challenging Comparisons from the Global South
This session will establish the theoretical and methodological basis for building comparative analyses of cities across the Global North and South with a view to contributing to wider theorisations of cities. The premise is that as most predicted urbanisation will occur in poorer cities, there is an urgent need for urban studies to redress the existing northern bias in its accounts of urban processes. Existing comparative methodologies place some limits on this, and so we will reflect on how these might be recast to facilitate comparisons across a diversity of urban contexts.

Compulsory reading
Parnell, S., Pieterse, E. and Watson, V. (2009). Planning for cities in the global South: a research agenda for sustainable human settlements, Progress in Planning, 72, pp. 232-240.
Robinson, J. (2010). Cities in a world of cities: The comparative gesture. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Early view online.
Additional reading
Roy, A. (2009). The 21st Century Metropolis: New Geographies of Theory. Regional Studies, 43, 6: 819-830
Vogel et al. (2010). Governing Global City Regions in China and the West. Progress in Planning, 73: 1-75.

Mike Savage

Using mixed methods in urban research
the lecture will examine how multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) can be used to link qualitative interview transcripts with survey responses. It will review how such mixed methods strategies overcome the weaknesses of variable based surveys on the one hand, and small unrepresenative qualitative interviews on the other. It reflects on the relationship between MCA and Bourdieu's concept of field analysis, and considers its role as an urban research strategy

Compulsory reading
Mike Savage, (2010) 'The politics of elective belonging', Housing, Theory and society, July, 26, 1, 115-161 (with five responses which should also be read)
Additional reading
N Ellison and R Burrows (2007), 'New spaces of (Dis)engagement? Social politics, urban technologies and the rezoning of the city', Housing Studies, (22, 3, 295-312)
T Blokland, (2003) 'Urban bonds', Polity.
M Savage, G Bagnall, B Longhurst, (2005) 'Globalisation and Belonging', Sage.

AbdouMaliq Simone

The inventiveness of methods in comparative urban studies
How is it possible to broaden the possibilities of research?  As research is an activity among others—albeit with its own conventions, frames, and privileges—it is important to look at the inventiveness of methods in terms of other domains where an ordering and regulation of experience is being worked out in conditions where the customary frameworks usually connoting such ordering are not present.  In other words, there increasingly exist contexts where a sense of systematicity and predictability is attained where the usual distinctions of formal and informal, legal and illegal, local and global have only limited application.  If we are to learn something about how to research mobile, fluid, recombinant, and transversal social processes, then it seems important to perform a limited examination here  of methods, tactics, and practices that are not explicitly ones of research yet which are nevertheless experiments on and with social life worlds.
It is important to look at some contexts from around the world where the conventional ordering frameworks and practices have only limited purchase. In other words, contexts where the act of accounting, making an account of something, putting together a framework that accounts for what people are doing with each other is radically unsettled by the efforts of those who inhabit these life worlds to position themselves in changes that seem to be going in widely divergent directions, thus pulling apart once relied upon mediations and cultural references.  The stories they must tell themselves in order to maintain a viable sense of place become seemingly all over the place—and so the task of making an account for what is happening to them and what could be done is compelled to become more inventive.

Compulsory reading
Amin, Ash and Nigel Thrift (2002). Cities in a Distanciated Economy. In Cities: Reimagining the Urban. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers pp.51 - 77
Additional reading
Julia Elyachar 2005 Best Practices: Research, NGOs, and Finance in Cairo.” American Ethnologist, Vol. 33, no. 3, August 2005: 413-426.
Beatriz Jaguaribe 2004 Favelas and the Aesthetics of Realism: Representations in Film and Literature. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 13: 327-342
Martin Sanchez-Jankowski 2008 Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods.  Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press. (methodology chapters)
Nico Tassi 2010 The postulate of abundance: Cholo market and religion in La Paz, Bolivia. Social Anthropology 18: 191-209

Jeroen van der Waal

Using multi-level modelling in comparative urban studies
This course aims to familiarize students with multi-level modelling for empirically tackling theoretical controversies in urban studies, and will enable them to carry out such research themselves. By means of examples in the form of research articles, it will firstly be explained for which type of research questions multi-level modelling is needed. Subsequently, students will learn to apply multi-level modelling by reproducing findings of a research article using SPSS software (original data will be provided).

Compulsory reading
Teasdale, B & E. Silver (2009) ‘Neighborhoods and Self-Control: Toward an Expanded View of Socialization’. Social Forces, 56(1), 205-22.
Additional reading
Van der Waal, J. (2010) ‘Post-Industrialization, Immigration, and Unemployment. How and Why the Impact of Immigration on Unemployment Differs Between Dutch Cities.’ Currently under review.
Van der Waal, J. & D. Houtman (2010) ‘Tolerance in the Post-Industrial City. Assessing the Ethnocentrism of Less-Educated Natives in 22 Dutch Cities.’ Currently under review.

Ewald Engelen
Professor of Financial Geography, University of Amsterdam

Urban Boosterism, International Financial Centers and the Crisis
Or, how to recognize Bullshit when you see it
Before the crisis, a growing number of national elites, clustered around urban booster narratives as a new mode of economic policy making. Urban renewal, city marketing, the construction of transport infrastructure, central business districts, managed gentrification were sold to a skeptic electorate by means of mobilizing narratives about the creative class, cultural industries, global cities and the knowledge economy. While largely outside mainstream politics, the facilitation of International Financial Centers through light touch regulation, investment in higher education, light touch taxation for expats and a form of city marketing that catered to its workers was very much part and parcel of this mode of urban boosterism. Of course, this narrative has become unstuck on the back of the crisis, creating an excellent opportunity for urbanists to investigate in more detail the sense and nonsense of boosterist narratives. In this course, we will focus on the narratives surrounding the construction and further development of IFCs to debunk the story telling by urban growth machines. To do so we will use the term ‘bullshit’ as developed by the American philosopher of language Harry G. Frankfurt to analyze some of these narratives. This course is especially relevant for planners, who demonstrate tendencies to go along with the urban growth narratives instead of mildly skeptical criticizing them.

MOLOTCH H. (1993) The political economy of growth machines, Journal of Urban Affairs 15, 29-53.
Molotch H, 1976, "The City as a Growth Machine: Toward a Political Economy of Place" American Journal of Sociology 82 309-332
Ewald Engelen & Anna Glasmacher (unpublished manuscript) International financial centers, urban boosters and the internet as site of multiple negotiations, pp. 29
Harry G. Frankfurt (2005) On Bullshit, Princeton: Princeton University Press



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