Mutuality's margins: contesting cosmopolitanism in the rescaled city

Madeleine Reeves (University of Manchester)
Nina Glick Schiller (University of Manchester)
Ayse Caglar, Virginia Dominguez
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Celebrations of cultural pluralism - cosmopolitan city, multicultural nation-state, "borderless" Europe or global urbanity - coexist with forms of material/social exclusion. The panel explores ideals/contestation of cosmopolitan coexistence and what this reveals about cosmopolitanism's redefinition

Long abstract:

Official celebrations of cultural pluralism and borrowing, whether in the shape of the cosmopolitan city, the multicultural nation-state, the new "borderless" Europe, or the marketing of a global urbanity coexist with new forms of material and social exclusion. The responses of those facing deprivation are multiple as well as multi-layered. Exclusions can foster rejections of pluralism and explicitly anti-cosmopolitan politics. At the same time apparently anti-cosmopolitan politics may simultaneously contain alternate narratives of inclusion that reconfigure belonging around markers other than culture, appearance, nationality, or religion. This panel contributes to a critical reflection on diversity and mutuality by exploring various social fields of disparity where accounts of cosmopolitan coexistence are practically resisted, contested, reconfigured and redefined. Explorations of the marketing of diversity and elite cosmopolitanism and its rejection by marginalized urban residents -- whether migrants or natives -- will be grounded in a critique of the neo-liberal global restructuring and rescaling of cities and urban spaces. The panel does not take the links between economic marginalization and responses of the excluded to be unicausal or self-evident. Questions and issues to be addressed include: the relationship between economic marginalization legitimated through the marketing of urbane cultural difference and violent anti-cosmopolitan or nationalist urban movements; the coexistence of categorical exclusions (in the form of the legal production of migrant "illegality"), discourses of "equality", and the articulation of desires for personal and collective respect, through which the excluded create alternative narratives of mutual humanity.