Annual RC21 Conference 2011

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

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

19. Scales of citizenship

This workshop explores the identification strategies of urban dwellers from different ethnic background, and the way territorial links foster or hamper feelings of belonging, solidarity and (in)justice among urban residents in (larger) immigrant receiving cities. In the past decades, in many countries and especially in their cities, the social, cultural and religious diversity has strongly increased, due to international migration and transnational communication. City governments face the difficult task to foster social cohesion among their diverse population, but urbanites position themselves in various configurations of identification and belonging and it is not always clear what the meaning of ‘place’ is for them. The ‘sense of belonging’, the feelings of solidarity with others/places in a particular society, seems to be the new challenge of citizenship. The concept of ‘citizenship’ itself, however, requires reflection as it has become multifaceted and multiscalar over time. National citizenship seems to have lost its predominance. At the same time, national discourses on immigrants/ethnic minorities have become increasingly polarized, emphasising monocultural points of view and often focusing one-sidedly on religious or ethnic identity. This does not do justice to the different identities of groups and individuals and might even hamper their identification strategies.

We welcome papers from various disciplines, both case studies and more theoretically inspired ones, that address topics like:

  • the multifaceted and multiscalar character of ‘citizenship’
  • the importance of ‘local’ identity as compared to ‘national’ identity, as a bonding and bridging identity
  • to what extent citizenship could be an important aspect of the (emotional) identification strategy of ethnic groups, offering space for creating ties and for emphasizing a (new) home for all
  • the way in which city governments deal with the concept of ‘citizenship’.

Thea Dukes, University of Amsterdam, Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, Amsterdam. Email:
Inge van der Welle, Regioplan Policy research, Amsterdam. Email:

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21 December 2011
Deadline for abstract submission

10 January 2011
Notification of selected abstracts

1 March 2011
Registration open

15 May 2011
Deadline for early bird registration and for (some) hotel options

15 May 2011
Deadline for paper submission

15 June 2011
Papers online

7-9 July 2011