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

9. Invisible migrants in the cities of the South

While in the Global North, multifaceted challenges of governing the increasingly diverse urban societies have received political and academic attention, a systematic analysis of the impacts of international migration in cities of developing countries is still lacking. The neglect of ‘immigration’ as one of the components of urban society, when coupled with an uncritical alignment with the global trend of criminalizing irregular migration, has prevented adequate local responses to the evolving contingencies of empirical circumstances. This leaves migrants settled in cities of the South with not many options, other than keeping a low profile and trying to stay invisible by devising unconventional practices of incorporation. The latter are usually confined to the informal sphere or to their ethnic networks.

This session welcomes papers providing evidence that international migration is an emerging issue also in many cities of the South. The emphasis is placed on how dominant frameworks and lack of awareness about immigrants stocks and flows might exclude foreign residents from the ‘right to the city’ where they live, with consequences on the overall social and spatial cohesion. Particular attention is given to migrants’ coping strategies and their construction of belonging and identity as urban residents, as well as to existing urban policies or practices fostering migrants’ urban inclusion. Other topics include, but are not limited to: opportunities and challenges international migration poses to the cities of the South; living conditions of migrants and barriers they face in accessing urban facilities and services; impacts of immigration on the social and spatial fabric of these cities; pioneering urban policies and creative practices relating to migrants inclusion; unconventional modes of incorporation and new forms of citizenship.

Giovanna Marconi, SSIIM UNESCO Chair, Università Iuav di Venezia. Email: 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