European Sociological Association Research Network 37 “Urban Sociology” Mid-Term Conference
Public spaces and private lives in the contemporary city
Lisbon, FCSH-UNL, 19-21st November 2014
Proposal submission deadline: 30 June 2014
Organisation: CESNOVA, FCSH-UNL and IS-FLUP, in cooperation with Dinâmia’CET-IUL, CIES-IUL and CES-UC
Urban Sociology ‘s history is as old as Sociology itself. Urban Sociology can be found on classic literature: Durkheim’s concepts of social morphology and organic solidarity; Weber and the genesis of the city; Simmel and the representations of the metropolis; Engels and the working class’ ways to inhabit the city; and, last but not least, the school of Chicago with authors such as Robert E. Park or Louis Wirth.
Today, there is a renewed interest in urban issues and urban questions have gained a new focus in public policies and public debate. Themes such as public spaces, suburbs, urban security, urban violence, ways of inhabiting, transitions from rural to urban, neighborhood and proximity, urban inequalities, etc.; returned to the sociological debate with an unexpected force in globalisation times. Research is also debating the impact of current economic crisis on urban life, and how to re-think cities on the aftermath. Being an area with a cumulative critical thought, Urban Sociology’s contribution is key for the development of the discipline as a whole, and for the understanding of our multiple and unachieved modernities.
For this Midterm Conference, which inaugurates ESA’s Research Network in Urban Sociology, we invite submissions addressing a wide variety of issues, as suggested in the four conference tracks. We accept both theoretical and empirical papers contributing to the development of Urban Sociology, and we welcome interdisciplinarity, as a requisite for broadening the scope of scientific research.
1. Culture and mega events in contemporary cities
Cultural and festive dynamics are strongly related to great physical, social, cultural and economic transformations in cities worldwide, often involving the (re)production of both established and new urban inequalities. This conference track aims to debate this broad issue but also the more specific phenomena of cultural and sports mega events and the way they contribute to re-shape cities and their public spaces by challenging urban coexistence.
2. Networks and sociabilities
Sociability has progressively been a concept of intense debate within the scope of social sciences in general, and sociology in particular. In this track we are interested in discussing the role of urban sociability on the construction of social networks and the configuration of circuits. Specially in the context of social, political, cultural and artistic movements. We welcome papers focusing on both online and offline social networks, as well as interdisciplinary research about sociability in contemporary society
3. Public and private tensions in urban places, lives and meanings
Public and private uses of urban space are key aspects in the tense and conflictual processes of creating and remaking places. This track is concerned with topics like (1) power, urban form and experience, namely in the relation between urban management / administration practices and everyday uses of spaces (e.g. shopping malls, gated communities, slums, plazas, streets and urban voids); (2) (in)visibility and (un)awereness of both private troubles and public issues (e.g. in labour, housing, mobility and leisure) and their impact on placemaking and everyday life of urban populations; (3) conditions of coexistence of urban groups and individuals (e.g. visitors and residents, neighbours and strangers, tourists and workers, commuters and trapped populations) and its effects on urban spaces, lives and meanings.
4. Territories of exclusion and (in)security
Security and the feeling of insecurity has always been central to the urban social fabric. Portrayal of the city as an insecure place has been a very powerful one, triggering the constitution and reconstitution of institutions, strategies, tactics, technologies and techniques undertaken by multiple actors from state and local associations to individual schemes of public and private safety. In this track we aim to address these issues and discuss how they are intrinsic elements in the production and reproduction of urban territories and urban social groups.