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

27. Urban order, crime and citizenship

This session explores how structures, practices and discourses aimed at achieving urban order establish social hierarchies and shape patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Efforts to ensure security and eradicate disorder are central in struggles over citizenship and belonging. We are interested on the one hand in the relation between urban order and criminalization, and on the other in the emergence of extra-state, and at times even criminal, organizations as key actors in the provision of security and reduction of disorder.
Attempts at ordering urban space may result in the criminalization and exclusion of certain behaviour and social groups by municipal authorities or private interests. As mixed urban settings bring together different groups, conflicts may arise over the use of space. Through informal and semi-formal means of social control, certain behaviours, lifestyles and needs may be criminalized thereby excluding some groups from using and enjoying places as they wish. What do such practices and structures of control and criminalization mean in terms of democracy and citizenship?
In addition, in contexts where the state fails to safeguard urban order, extra-state governance structures may emerge to fill this vacuum, promising a more inclusive city and enabling alternative formulations of citizenship. In contexts of urban marginality in both the Global South and North, organizations defined as criminal or illegal have developed non-democratic but relatively legitimate systems of urban order. Examples include Hezbollah in Beirut, criminal governance systems in Brazilian favelas and Jamaican ghettos, and of course the Italian mafia. These organizations may evolve into structures of rule and belonging that resemble citizenship. What are the consequences of imagining a citizenship that is reconfigured through, and embedded in, non-formal and illegal power structures?
This session examines the various ways in which a preoccupation with urban order and disorder results in the redrawing of lines of inclusion and exclusion and legality and illegality. We invite papers that discuss the relation between crime, extra-state interventions in the urban order and formulations of citizenship.

Session organizers:
Gwen van Eijk, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Rivke Jaffe, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University

« back



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