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Accepted Paper:

Kuwait City seen from its margins  
Sarah Jurkiewicz (Zentrum Moderner Orient)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses urban marginality and the complex interplay between spatial and social marginalisation in Kuwait. Drawing on case studies of two marginalised groups and their space making practices, it explores the relation of urban margins to both the urban as well as the political centre.

Paper long abstract:

The paper discusses two case studies of urban marginality in Kuwait City that shed light on the complex interplay between spatial and social marginalisation: First, Taima, a marginalised area inhabited by bedoon (literally the "without", i.e. without citizenship, which mainly refers to former nomads without citizenship). The neighbourhood displays a striking lack of infrastructural supplies and has been as one of the main centres of bedoon protests since 2011. Second, the case of migrant workers who "take over" the (administrative and commercial) centre of Kuwait City on Fridays on their day off and as such appropriate space through their presence (Falk 2014, Bayat 2010).

Both case studies thus display different articulated claims for participation (social and spatial) by marginalised groups as well as their social relation to a "centre", here both the urban and the political. The paper consequently argues that the study of urban marginality helps in better understanding the urban centre and its transformation (see Chapatte 2015, ZMO programmatic paper) and beyond that also illuminates key political controversies - such as citizenship in Kuwait - in their spatial dimension.

Panel P146
Urban margins: contesting hegemonic representations of the city
  Session 1