P016
Reconsidering the future of urban space: social and economic divisions in the public domain (Commission of Urban Anthropology and Commission on the Anthropology of Women)

Convenors:
Italo Pardo (University of Kent)
Chair:
Italo Pardo
Location:
Hall 2
Start time:
15 May, 2014 at 15:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Most cities are divided along social and economic lines, which belie the liberal and secular nation states' rhetoric, particularly evident in urban areas. We invite empirically-based papers on changing urban scenarios, also paying attention to changing ideologies, perspectives and living conditions.

Long abstract:

The urban public space is ideally democratic, and most modern states do officially subscribe to secularism and equality. Ideally, public space in modern cities should be freely accessible to all. However, this is rarely the case, as most cities are divided along social and economic lines (gender, class, caste, ethnicity, employment, income, etc.), which belies nation-states' liberal and secular ideologies. Not only do deeply embedded social, economic and cultural divisions not disappear in the city; at times they become even more pronounced. City dwellers are unequally placed in respect to the sources of power. A very significant area is the place that migrants have in the city, especially those who are made vulnerable in terms of class, gender and ethnic marginalization. However, it is often found that large sections of native people may well be equally marginalized. We invite ethnographically-based papers that contribute to debating three, interrelated key issues: 1. The social and economic divisions and forms of exclusion in urban areas as they are observed in public space; 2. Second, how such divisions are manipulated into cognitive maps; neighbourhoods, shopping malls, streets and markets all carry the stamp of the political and social divisions that mark urban society. 3. As urban spaces change alongside political, economic and social transformations, this Panel will address empirically such changing urban scenarios, also paying attention to changing ideologies and living conditions. We also welcome analyses based on archival and historical research. This panel is interdisciplinary and will benefit from diverse viewpoints.