Accepted paper:

Migration, experiences of urban life and the making of city culture(s)


Vanessa Cantinho de Jesus (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

Through ethnographic datagathered among young adults living in Amsterdam I suggest that particular urbanities constitute an important resource for migrants’ emplacement and construction of belonging. I explore how such dynamics participate in the (re)production and transformation of city culture(s)

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I draw on ethnographic data gathered among young adults living in Amsterdam to suggest that particular urbanities - produced in the context of contemporary global restructurings of cities - may constitute an important resource for emplacement (Glick Schiller and Caglar 2013) and construction of belonging for migrants. By doing so I intend to both propose an alternative approach to the issue of identity construction in migration contexts - one that is not limited to the ethnic lens - and explore how such migrants' emplacements participate in the (re)production and transformation of city culture(s).

Within the on-going reconfiguration of cities on the contemporary world, leisure and consumption landscapes appear more and more as an important part of the branded character of urban competing capitals. Urban planning in the post-industrial cities of the West favour creativity, tolerance and diversity (Florida 2005) in tandem with the increase of the cultural-knowledge economy, as the new exciting growth formula. But outside the offices of policy makers and city planners', urbanites aren't simply neutral receivers of such structural decisions but rather the ones who steam life into the concrete surroundings. As such they must also be, not only the consumers of localized global trends, but also the producers in a dialectic relationship that binds together the construction of self and place. In the migratory context this relationship can be significant for the performativity and narration of the self, while at the same time it is constitutive of the quotidian processes of city making.

panel P34
Cidades em movimento: reconfigurações identitárias em espaços de mobilidade (PT/ES/EN)