On May 12 at Goldsmiths:
Migrant Cartographies: Cities, Circuits and Circulations
Cities are in part constituted in myriad enactments of migrant presence which generate urban dialectics of self-and-city composition. Cities also condense many of the challenges we face in migration in the generation and navigation of local circuits composed through forms of social provision, distributions of opportunities and social goods, labour markets and so on, making cities a crucial scale for the research and analysis of transnational migrant mobility. Circulations of transnational migrants within and between cities articulate other circulations – of money, objects and various forms of property – providing a challenge in thinking about the ways in which these circuits might be connected.
This symposium intends an interrogation of cities through the transnational mobilities co-composing them. It aims to develop a conversation among scholars of migration, mobility and urbanism reflecting on, developing and refining some of the conceptual categories we use in our research. It invites interrogation of transnational urbanism’s underlying logics and theoretical frameworks in concepts like circuit, migrant, city, mobility, migrant journeys, trajectories and circulations.
“Speaking of the Working class” in Bridget Anderson, Vanessa Hughes (eds) Citizenship and its Others. London: Palgrave (November 2015), pp.177-183.
The chapter is a response to Ben Rogaly’s chapter in the book. Here are my opening paragraphs:
Citizenship is inextricably bound up with voice, with the act of speech and the act of listening. At the edges of accounts of the Athenian polis and of the Roman republic, we can faintly hear the clamour of the demos, those with no voice and have not counted, insisting on being heard. In the Roman republic, the proletariat were those who were heard last, if at all, in the assembly; it was property that gave weight to voice, that made a voice count, and the proletarians were counted in the census only by their number of offspring (proli) instead of their property.
For Aristotle, while all animals have voice, only humans have speech. Discussing a tale told by Livy of the Roman plebs on Aventine Hill, as retold by Pierre-Simon Ballanche in 1829, Jacques Rancière talks of the plebs claiming the human facility of speech. ‘They [the plebs] do not speak because they are beings without a name, deprived of logos – meaning, symbolic enrolment in the city. Plebs live a purely individual life that passes on nothing to posterity except for life itself, reduced to its reproductive function. Whoever is nameless cannot speak.’ Just as Plato called the demos a ‘large and powerful animal’, the Roman patricians heard the sounds of the plebs as – in Ballanche’s words – ‘only transitory speech, a speech that is a fugitive sound, a sort of lowing, a sign of want’: a voice that did not count, that held no meaning to them.
In today’s modes of citizenship, not all voices are heard as speech, as carrying the weight of meaning in the community of value.
Link to book; Amazon; ebook via Springer. Continue reading
My colleague Mette Berg’s COMPAS blog post on the conference we recently held. Extract:
The intensification of global flows in the current period has led scholars to describe cities like London as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterised by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles (Vertovec 2007). Last week about 70 scholars, students and policy analysts from across Europe, North America, the UK, and Japan convened in Oxford to discuss the implications of super-diversity for ethnographic research, and for the ways in which we conceptualise urban space.
While multi-sited ethnography is now well established, enabling ethnographers to study mobile people across multiple locations, there have been relatively few attempts to research multiple migrant communities sharing specific locations. We – the conference organisers (Mette Louise Berg, Ben Gidley, Vanessa Hughes, Nando Sigona) – wondered how we can develop the methodological tools required to achieve this.
Ethnography, both in the anthropological and sociological traditions, has tended to prefer long-term immersion in discrete, bounded ethnic communities – a model that is increasingly problematic in the context of super-diversity. In terms of urban space, we wanted to understand how emerging forms of multiculture are structured in and by urban space, and how urban space is structured in and by the multiplication of diversity.[…]