Enquiring into the urban form through governing practices and social organisation (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology )
Marc Morell (University of Bergen)
Corine Vedrine (National School of Architecture of Lyon/ CMW-CNRS)
Dr Giuliana Prato
Producing the Earth
Alan Turing Building G207
Friday 9 August, 9:00-10:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

This panel will discuss how certain governing practices extract potential commodities from the vibrant urban, when not directly attempting at taming and curtailing it. Parallel or in response to this, current social-organisation examples signal in numerous ways the possible the urban holds.

Long abstract:

In recent years, social sciences have paid wide attention to accruing governing practices that enmesh the economic and the political in their attempts to catch on the urban.

The statist/static seizure of the urban often translates into stipulations of what this urban is about and regulations on how it should be managed within the logic contemporary capitalist societies "ought to" follow (neoliberalisation of space, urban marketing and competition...). Meanwhile, a range of centralising dominating and exploitative class strategies has sprawled unevenly allocating affluence and poverty. Programmes of urban renewal that aim at improving social cohesion in spite of social conditions, commoditisation of social space through tourism, processes of gentrification in which to capture rent gaps, the extreme securitisation of habitat (e.g. gated communities), and the financialization of everyday life contribute to segment further the urban form as well as the urban.

However, no matter how severed, the urban still thrives with striking imagination. There are new spaces of representation, and room is produced for urban appropriation, network spasms, unexpected mobility, attainable urban cultures... Distinct social actors are generating original initiatives in social organisation with fresh ways of contending, when not contributing to, governing practices.

This panel enquires into the shape the urban takes and the ways in which social actors set it free anew, against or beyond social exclusion, marginalisation, segregation and profit-gaining. It does so by discussing social experiences and representations in the context of the current ongoing crisis. Both theoretical and field-grounded contributions are welcome.