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

26. Urban neighborhoods as spaces of production and consumption

Production and consumption meet each other in new ways at the neighborhood level. Ways of production have changed due to the digitalization (and, in part, dematerialization) of production which make people more footloose and allow people, in principle, to work almost anywhere at any time. As a result, people now often work from home and neighborhood pubs have been transformed in flexible workplaces where members of the “creative class” go to work behind their laptops or discuss business. Patterns of consumption have also transformed as demand has fragmented along not just socio-economic but also along cultural and ethnic lines. Small shops and cafés displaying “artistic” or “authentic” qualities catering to various niches from vegetarian food to Bollywood DVDs are now springing up in many shopping streets. Small outlets, once considered doomed by competition from large chains and global corporations, are increasingly seen as a comparative advantage that gives urban neighborhoods a distinctive cultural “character”. Moreover, these small shops, cafés, restaurants galleries and other local amenities are now often part of economic development strategies. Following the advice of Jane Jacobs and Richard Florida, policymakers want to boost the local and the urban economy by offering an attractive atmosphere for members of the “creative class”. Production and consumption thus intersect at the neighborhood level in new ways, thereby creating novel environments, altering local identities, and benefiting some groups while harming others.
In this session, we want to address how changes in the spatio-temporal division of production, on the one hand, and new patterns of consumption, on the other, are affecting neighborhoods in cities and what the social, cultural, and political implications are. We, therefore, welcome papers on topics like home-based businesses, the role of “third spaces” and contestations regarding shifts in identity of neighborhoods. We hope to draw papers that represent a variety of national experiences and disciplinary approaches.

Session organizers:

Ewald Engelen, Professor of Financial Geography, Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies , University of Amsterdam

Philip Kasinitz, Professor of Sociology and Chair Program in Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

Robert Kloosterman, Professor of Financial Geography, Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam

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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