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

6. Marketplaces as sites of Cosmopolitanism

There is a burgeoning literature contesting the elitist conception of cosmopolitanism, grounded in the normative idea of openness, the celebration of the ability to transcend nationalism and local culture as a contrastive force of provincialism. A wide range of new terms have been proposed to capture the ‘actually existing cosmopolitanism’ (Robbins 1998), and calling for the ‘empirical-analytical cosmopolitanism’ (Beck & Sznaider 2006; Vertovec 2006). In a similar vein, ‘tactical cosmopolitanism’ (Landau & Haupt 2007; Landau & Freemantle 2010) has been introduced to highlight an ‘ironic form of distance from current cultural attachments’ in order to be able to adjust and survive in different cultural systems. The propensity towards cosmopolitanism from below is born not out of the desire to celebrate cultural diversity or philosophical considerations, but from the realities of globalisation, which gave rise to new forms of diversity. Banal cosmopolitanism (Haldrup 2009) turns the gaze towards the day-to-day experience of various mobilities including people, goods, images and ideas in both the global South and the North.

This panel explores the following issues:

  • Whether or not the marketplace functions as a microcosm and a nodal point, where new forms of diversity are negotiated, formed and/or contested;
  • and whether policy responses and other forms of governance have been developed to adequately deal with novel forms of diversity and cosmopolitanism in the marketplace.

We are welcoming contributions from both the global South and the North.

Ching Lin Pang, Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre, KU Leuven / Artesis Hogeschool, Antwerp. E-mail:
Jan Rath, University of Amsterdam, E-mail:
Sophie Watson, Open University. E-mail:

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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