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

23. Political culture and contention in cities

There is no clear, univocal relationship between diversity and conflict in urban settings. Current literature underlines that social and ethnic mix does not automatically produce hostility and conflicts. Yet, the specific social mechanisms that engender conflicts between social and ethnic groups in urban space remain unclear. In this session we want to focus on the issue of representation. Urban conflicts cannot be disassociated from the various processes of political and cultural representation allowing for the delimitation of the groups, moral boundaries and interests. The way in which differences between groups (and individuals) are named, elaborated and represented, in order to articulate a common voice, seems to be a key to understanding outcomes in terms of adversarial contention or peaceful cohabitation.
The growing heterogeneity of cities, especially inside neighbourhoods in transition where strongly contrasted populations coexist, seems to raise new challenges to the way political mobilisation and urban struggles can develop, away from the old mechanism of class representation at the level of the whole neighbourhood. In other words, how are the borders and common stakes of the affected communities produced? As Nancy Fraser recently suggested, matters of justice in a networked society can no longer be considered on a single scale inside fixed borders. Therefore, we need to document and analyze the way urban struggles produce the new moving borders of the just city.

This session invites papers discussing single-case or comparative research that deals with:
-            The representation of differences before, during and after dynamics of contention.
-            The role of political parties, religious communities and populist leaders.
-            The intersection of interests and valuations.
-            Frames of justice in the evaluation of diversity and conditions of living together.

Session organizers:
Luca Pattaroni, Laboratory of Urban Sociology. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Tommaso Vitale, Centre d’études européennes (CEE), Sciences Po Paris

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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