Accepted Paper:

Borders within: embodying frontiers in Skopje  

Author:

Goran Janev (Sts Cyril and Methodius University Skopje)

Paper short abstract:

Urban dwellers’ spatial practices negotiate daily the urban borders and delineation of a city center and its margins. Movement of bodies with ascribed identities across those borders challenges spatial divisions. Urban frontiers are constantly remade by trajectories of Skopje citizens.

Paper long abstract:

Infrastructural investment and aestheticized city centers make visible the social urban divisions. Marginalization of urban peripheries is rather a class and/or ethnic stratification effect. The social divisions that define marginalized citizens ("second", or even "third generation of migrants") are reflected in spatial organization. Movement of the urban dwellers across those borders of commercial, administrative and residential segregation shakes daily the established borders. As we move around the city we carry along our identities and lifestyle preferences, often determined/limited by our economic opportunities, and thus challenge the established urban order.

The social construction of space is not determined only by urban planners' decisions, but also by the direct users of urban space, their daily routines, habits and customs performed in the city. Unrests, and other occasional crisis situations, unwrap the existing social order by inverting the established spatial order. I will focus on the symbolic remaking of the city of Skopje and the changed patterns of movement of its citizens as well as on the movement of protesters in the last year's wave of demonstrations that swept the city. Those movements of ethnic bodies altered the established or intended urban divisions, where Macedonian nationalists claim the city center as exclusively theirs.

Panel P090
Urban margins: new perspectives on the city