This panel addresses the effects of urban upgrading on the lives of the affected population and the implications for political agency and citizenship. How is the relation between people and larger structures of rule shaped and changed through spatial interventions in public and private space?
Urban renewal is a well-known phenomenon all over the globe. It can refer to the reconstruction of social housing areas, the improvement of run down neighbourhoods, or the clearing and upgrading of slums. These renewal projects, administered by (semi) governmental and private actors, often in public-private partnerships, tend to have a huge impact on the lives of the population concerned. On paper, by using participatory mechanisms, these renewal projects, claim to use a pro-poor approach. In practice, nevertheless, most projects are imposed in an authoritarian way, leaving little room for the voice of those affected. In addition, urban renewal projects are used as instruments to discipline, educate and civilize the "unruly" and "uncivilized" lower classes. This panel addresses the impact of modifications in public and private space on people's notions of belonging and security and on the social fabric in neighbourhoods. The panel also looks into peoples' strategies to resist or rework disciplinary regimes and re-claim space in the light of these powerful projects. Ultimately, the panel aims to discuss the effects of urban upgrading on citizenship. How is the relation between people and larger structures of rule shaped and changed through spatial interventions? We use citizenship in a broad meaning, not only following prescribed notions, but also trying to understand citizenship from below, citizenship which emerges from the ways in which local people themselves give meaning to politics and express their political agency. The panel invites ethnographic contributions from all over the world.