(University of Amsterdam)
Eveline Dürr (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)
Paper short abstract:
This panel seeks to investigate the effects of increasing commodification and marketable global representations of the urban poor and their particular spaces: how does this affect city imaginaries, urban space, local economies and social relations?
Paper long abstract:
This paper introduces research on the effects of increasing commodification and marketable global representations of the urban poor and their particular spaces. While many cities are eager to "clean" their central spaces and remove "undesirable" citizens to present a favourable urban image, others draw attention to marginalization, poverty and social exclusion and market no-go areas, gang life, drug districts, slums and other poverty-ridden urban areas as tourist destinations. While these socio-spaces were previously erased from the city's representation, they are now tentatively included as integral parts of the urban environment. Increasingly, tourists seem to be keen to move into these spaces, albeit always in a controlled and safe way. The consequences of these quickly expanding, globally prevalent urban practices are manifold yet have hardly been investigated empirically, much less in a comparative perspective. This panel aims to examine the ways tourism intersects with spaces of urban misery and their representation. How do the commodification and increasing circulation of representations of the poor and their spaces affect city imaginaries, urban space, local economies and social relations? By emphasizing actors and socio-spatial dimensions, we include a performative understanding of these practices, going beyond the analysis of representation strategies. What are the consequences for cities and their dwellers when poverty and decay are turned into fashionable tourist experiences? How are cities transformed by these processes and how are social relationships reconfigured in these new spaces of encounter? Who actually benefits when social inequality becomes part of the city's spatial perception and place promotion?
Commodifying urban poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation: spatial and social consequences (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology)