Annual RC21 Conference 2011

The struggle to belong. Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings
Amsterdam (The Netherlands), July 7-9 2011


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The RC-21 2011 Conference will analyze how globalization and individualization have given rise to new forms of diversity—ethnic, religious, gender, sexual, class and otherwise—, and new deliberations and conflicts over citizenship and belonging in urban settings in both the Global South and North.  We want to know how people with diverse backgrounds locate themselves and others in new social hierarchies, how they struggle to create meaningful places, in what ways they develop strategies to belong, and with what consequences. Moreover, we aim to understand better what types of (new) policy responses and forms of governance have developed to manage diversity in urban settings.

The struggle to feel at home can be understood as a response to the process of globalization. On the one hand, there are indications that traditional loyalties evaporate, which seems to hold particularly for those who operate in what Castells has called the ‘space of flows’, for example for people involved in the tier of internationally oriented knowledge workers. On the other hand, there are also indications that traditional or local orientations and loyalties become more significant, and corresponding groups are strengthened. This is especially the case for those people who are, for Castells, in the ‘space of place’, and who often comprise the less privileged groups in society. In this way, globalization goes hand in hand with localization, i.e. a greater stress on the meaning of local traditions and practices. This process of ‘glocalization’ results in new societal cleavages to which new notions of citizenship have been viewed as a possible response. Some of the research questions orienting the meeting are: how do social, political, economic and cultural processes at the international or transnational level influence new forms of diversity and, consequently, new forms of belonging? What type of (new) policy responses and governance forms have developed to manage diversity in urban settings? How can we understand the recent culturalization and emotionalization of citizenship, e.g. by way of rising demands on feelings of loyalty, national or local pride and on the need to ‘feel at home’? How do these homogenizing tendencies relate to the development of transnational citizenship and multiple and hybrid identities?

Secondly, the struggle to belong can be understood as a response to individualization. There is considerable debate on the meaning and extent of individualization. Individualization is often understood as a socio-cultural phenomenon: the duty to behave as autonomous and ‘free’ as possible. While individualization processes are rooted in long term historical forces, neoliberal pressures have accelerate these processes by privatizing risk, making individuals financially independent, and requiring people to become calculating citizens. During the conference, we want to discuss how individualization influences identities, chances and tasks for individuals living in urban settings. How do citizens experience these changes? What new duties, rights and communities come into existence in response to (which kind of) individualization? Which emotions does individualization evoke or demand, e.g. joys or pains that come with autonomy and ‘freedom of choice’? What new forms of mutual help and solidarity are created or expected in local communities? How does individualization give rise to new social and political communities and to new notions of publicness?

In sum, the central concern of the 2011 RC-21 annual conference is the ways in which individuals and communities in an urban context respond to the major social processes of globalization and individualization: how do they articulate various forms of diversity and develop inclusive or exclusive strategies to ‘belong’?

Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research – Urban Studies
University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands


Venue: Oudemanhuispoort (OMHP) central hall

Thursday 7 July 2011

Friday 8 July 2011

Saturday 9 July 2011

9:30 - 13:30
Venue: Oudemanhuispoort (OMHP) central hall Registration

13:30 -14:00 Room D0.08
Welcome Yuri Kazepov (ISA-RC21 President) Dymph van der Boom (Rector University of Amsterdam) Walter Nicholls (Co-chair RC21 Amsterdam Committee)

14:00 -15:30 Room D0.08
Opening Plenary: Justice and Belonging in Amsterdam?
Chair: Walter Nicholls (University of Amsterdam) Kick off questions: Justus Uitermark (University of Rotterdam) - download ppt
Responses by: Susan Fainstein (Harvard University) - download ppt, Jan Rath (University of Amsterdam), Roger Keil (IJURR Co-Editor)

15:30 -16:00
Coffee break

16:00 -18:00
Session 03.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 30.1 – Room A1.18D
Session 05.1 – Room C1.17
Session 12.1 – Room C3.17
Session 02.1 – Room A0.09
Session 08.1 – Room A2.01
Session 18.1 – Room A2.08

Special Session
Author meets critics
Susan Fainstein – Room F0.01

Round tables
RT 23.1 – Room D1.18A
RT 28.1 – Room A2.12
RT 24.1 / 17.1 – Room A2.03
RT 27.1 / 04.1 – Room A2.09

18:30 -20:00
Welcome reception (De Bazel)
Welcome by Andree van Es (Alderman City of Amsterdam) and Edward de Haan (Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam)

09:00 -11:00
Session 04.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 27.1 – Room A1.18D
Session 12.2 – Room C3.17
Session 17.1 – Room C1.23
Session 08.2 – Room A2.01
Session 01.1 – Room A2.08

Special Session
Author meets critics
Jan Willem Duyvendak – Room F0.01
Discussant: Mike Savage

09:00 -11:00
Round tables
RT 30.1 / 18.1 – Room D1.18A
RT 02.1 / 14.1 – Room A2.12
RT 15.1 / 24.1 – Room A2.03
RT 03.1 / 13.1 – Room A2.09

11:00 -11:30
Coffee Break

11:30 -12:30 Room D0.08
Plenary Debate: An IJURR dialogue on innovative methods in Urban Studies
Chair: Jeremy Seekings (University of Cape Town), Mike Savage (University of York), AbdouMaliq Simone (University of London)

12:30 -13:30
Lunch Break

13:30 -15:30
Session 15.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 16.1 – Room A1.18D
Session 28.1 – Room C1.17
Session 29.1 – Room C3.17
Session 21.1 – Room C1.23
Session 20.1 – Room A2.01
Session 18.2 – Room A2.08
Session 05.2 – Room A2.13

Special Session
Art project – Room F0.01

Round tables
RT 30.2 – Room D1.18A
RT 14.2 / 01.1 – Room A2.12
RT 08.1 / 10.1 – Room A2.03
RT 12.1 / 13.2 – Room A2.09

15:30 -16:00
Coffee Break

16:00 -18:00
Session 14.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 16.2 – Room A1.18D
Session 24.1 – Room C1.17
Session 13.1 – Room C3.17
Session 21.2 – Room C1.23
Session 20.2 – Room A2.01
Session 23.1 – Room A2.08

Special Session
Publication Strategies – Room F0.01

Round tables
RT1 18.2 / 05.1 – Room D1.18A
RT 28.2 / 29.1 – Room A2.12
RT 07.1 / 10.2 – Room A2.03
RT 06.1 / 19.1 – Room A2.09

Departure boat to conference dinner

Conference dinner (Lizboa)

Conference dinner (Lizboa)

lizboaThe conference dinner will be held at the Lizboa, a boat moored in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands. It promises to be a lively dinner party with an Italian buffet that includes a range of cold and warm dishes, from Carpaccio to Wild Spinach with Ricotta to Lasagna and Seppia. The dinner party will spread out over Lizboa’s three decks, offering ample opportunities for mingling and socializing. All drinks are included in the 35 euro cover charge.

08:30 -10:30
Session 07.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 24.2 – Room A2.01
Session 10.1 – Room C1.17
Session 13.2 – Room C3.17
Session 26.1 – Room C1.23
Session 09.1 – Room A1.18D
Session 19.1 – Room A2.08

Special Session
Author meets critics
James Holston – Room F0.01

Round tables
RT 20.1 / 25.1 – Room D1.18A
RT 29.2 / 21.1 – Room A2.12
RT 22.1 / 16.1 – Room A2.03
RT 12.2 / 06.2 – Room A2.09

10:30 -11:00
Coffee Break

11:00 -12:00 Room D0.08
Plenary Debate: Politics of Belonging
Chair: Isa Baud (UvA), Jan Willem Duyvendak (UvA), James Holston (University of California at Berkeley), Patrick le Gales (Sciences Po Paris)

12:00 -12:15 Room D0.08
Closing remarks by Jan Nijman, Director, Urban Studies, UvA.

12:15 -13:00
Lunch Break

Session 22.1 – Room A1.18C
Session 11.1 – Room A1.18D
Session 10.2 – Room C1.17
Session 29.2 – Room C3.17
Session 25.1 – Room C1.23
Session 06.1 – Room A2.01
Session 19.2 – Room A2.08
Session 31.1 – Room A2.09

Special Session
Understanding Amsterdam – Room F0.01

Round tables
RT 20.2 / 26.1 – Room D1.18A
RT 01.2 – Room A2.12
RT 07.2 / 16.2 – Room A2.03

15:00 -17:30
Thematic field trips

Sunday 10 July 2011

10:00 -18:00
Optional field trip


The Global Urban

08 World Cities
09 Invisible migrants in the cities of the South
16 The challenge of global suburbanism
24 Housing and Belonging in Latin American Cities
29 Slums, Ghettoes, and the Internal Periphery of the Global Urban

Housing, Markets, Gentrification

02 Social Consequences of Gentrification
04 The end of urban neoliberalism (as we knew it)?
06 Marketplaces as sites of Cosmopolitanism
20 Housing Markets, Urban Transformations
26 Urban neighborhoods as spaces of production and consumption

Urban dis/order

07 ‘Gated Communities’ from a Global Perspective
15 Urban Disorder and Social Cohesion
27 Urban order, crime and citizenship

Contentious cities

13 Urban politics between contention and control
18 Social Justice and the Right to the City
23 Political culture and contention in cities

Citizenship and Belonging

03 Local Responses to Transnationalism
10 Negotiating social mix in global cities
12 Belonging, exclusion, public and quasi-public space
17 Cities as learning grounds for citizenship
19 Scales of Citizenship
31 New boundaries of urban integration and conflict


01 Neighbourhoods and individuals: advanced methodologies
21 Ethnographic Interventions
25 Changing urban geographies of growth and decline

Diversity and space

05 Governance and diversity in cities
11 Does Diversity Divide? Dealing with sexual diversity in 21st century urban settings
14 Religion and Urban Space
22 Reconstructing Gender in Urban Space
28 Living with Difference
30 Youth geographies and spatial identities