(Social): Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2020
The session will explore urban socio-spatial disparities in the 20th and early 21st centuries with a focus on two key problems of research: 1) identifying and analysing patterns of socio-spatial disparities in liberal, Western welfare and socialist regimes; 2) seeking new approaches to examine cultural dimensions of socio-spatial disparities and to reflect critically the old narratives about them.
Socio-spatial disparities were a major point of interest in the early days of modern urban history research. Segregation of workers, upper classes, ethnic or religious minorities in different quarters of cities was regarded as a key indicator of social injustice and a trigger of class struggles in liberal capitalist societies. In the context of the recent revival of capitalist (neo-) liberalism new scholarly interest has arisen in the potential role of cultural segregation as a trigger of right-wing populist movements. At the same time cultural history has developed new approaches which revise old ideas on the negative effects of socio-spatial segregation and highlight the function of “arrival quarters” and socially homogenous quarters in the integration of immigrants. Moreover, we see that problems of socio-spatial disparities in Western welfare regimes and formerly socialist cities have developed specific patterns which have not been widely researched up to now.
The session will explore urban socio-spatial disparities in the 20th and early 21st centuries with a focus on two key problems of research:
1. Phenomena of socio-spatial disparities in welfare and socialist cities have not yet been widely discussed, nor have comparative perspectives on western liberal and eastern socialist cities been developed
2. New approaches which explore the communicative and cultural dimensions of socio-spatial disparities and critically reflect and re-evaluate older narratives should be developed.
Key Questions to be discussed:
- Which patterns of socio-spatial disparities do we observe in urban societies of the late 20th/early 21st century?
- What are the main triggers of social disparities in liberal, Western welfare and socialist regimes?
- How urban segregation has been perceived, defined and measured in different times? How has it been framed politically and brought to local/ national politics?
- Which political strategies against social polarisation do we observe?
- Which specific social disparities did welfare and socialist urban regimes generate, which patterns of socio-cultural exclusion?
We want to encourage scholars in the fields of urban history, urban anthropology and urban sociology to send in proposals which should have focus on historical perspectives.
- Spokesperson: Christoph Bernhardt, Leibniz-Institute for Research on Society and Space
- Co-organizer(s): Marjaana Niemi, Tampere University
- Keywords: Urban socio-spatial disparities | Liberal, Western welfare and socialist regimes | Cultural segregation
- Time period: Contemporary period
- Topic(s): Social | Political
- Study area: More than one continent