Different Facets of Urban Unrest – Untangling Urban Collective Action

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 12:30-14:20
RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change (host committee)

Language: French and English

Urban transformations usually spur several forms of social mobilization in response. These may be very diverse in form and content, ranging from fierce defences of residents’ rights through art collectives and food-cooperatives to neigbourhood-beautification groups. Contemporary urban movements give voice to quite different conceptions of the urban environment, combining with variable emphasis the aspiration to participate more intensely in local planning with the focus on the autonomous building of alternative realities, in order to counteract the money-not-people-driven city investments. As in other contentious areas, civil society actors address urban issues through variable combinations of advocacy and service provision, of down-to-earth problem solving and political representation.

At the same time, despite this diversity, urban actors often perceive themselves, and are perceived by external observers, as part of (relatively) specific urban movements. This session will explore the common themes in urban mobilisation, underlying the variety of topics and strategies characterizing collective action fields. We welcome papers analysing the mechanisms (relational as well as cultural) through which urban initiatives and actors may get coordinated, generating local, national or even global platforms for urban change. We are particularly interested in papers exploring the extent to which broad interpretative frames like “right to the city” have facilitated the linking of various forms of urban mobilization under common identities and consolidated distinct urban collective action networks. We invite participants to explore how their specific cases relate to global ideas such as “right to the city”, drawing conclusions that can be relevant to a wider international audience.

Session Organizers:
Anna DOMARADZKA, University of Warsaw, Poland and Mario DIANI, University of Trento, Italy
Oral Presentations
Field Theories of Urban Collective Action: A Comparative Assessment
Anna DOMARADZKA, University of Warsaw, Poland; Mario DIANI, University of Trento, Italy
Alternative City: Possibilities and Limits of Prefiguration in Urban Mobilizations
Joelle DUSSAULT, University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada
Fractured Citizenship and Contestations of Belonging in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Hlengiwe Patricia NDHLOVU, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa