Accepted Paper:

Crisis, displacements, and migrants in disempowered cities  


Ayse Caglar (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to address the varying relationships between migrants and cities that are differently positioned within the crises-ridden processes of the current neoliberal globalization.

Paper long abstract:

On the basis of ethnographic data on three European cities, which were once industrial centers, this paper explores the varied processes of urban restructuring and analyse the dynamics unleashed by the crises and the place of migrants in these processes. This paper argues that the crisis and the reconfiguration of power hierarchies might be changing the opportunities available in cities of different scale (in this case in disempowered cities) with consequences to the ways migrants are inserted into the social, political, economic and cultural landscapes and imaginaries of cities. By focusing on former industrial cities, which went through massive deindustrialization and are now trying to follow the path of culture-led urban regeneration (especially through the European Capital of Culture title), this paper develops the concept of "displacement" to unpack the category of "migrant" and the location of "the crisis" in time. The concept of displacement enables us to capture the impact of different forms and regimes of labor (including forced labor) and their histories in the city making process that include but are not limited to those framed by the nation-state; to approach mobility as spatial but also as social displacement of people (including their dispossession); to reflect on how the sources, remedies, uncertainties, and the responsibilities as well as the legitimation of the crises are acted out.

This paper concludes by arguing that disempowered cities might provide new insights into the dynamics and fault lines of processes of repositioning, emplacement, and displacements.

Panel P012
Crisis as ongoing reality: perspectives from different anthropological locations (European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and the Committee for World Anthropologies (CWA) panel)