20 December 2011

CFP: Urban Imaginaries and Power

The rise of Asian cities and their challenges: Urban Imaginaries and Power in Asia's world-level Cities

The world is witnessing a global shift in power relations between the ‘old West' and the East which puts Asia's developed and rapidly developing economies at the global centre stage. While these trends are mostly seen in a globalization and a national perspective, it is also clear that they cannot be understood, if the dynamics at the sub-national and urban level are left out of the account.

Asia's large cities are ‘world-cities', that is urban agglomerates with millions of inhabitants struggling to accommodate to and exploit new challenges and opportunities posed by global risks and shifts. The ADI Urban Imaginaries and Power Cluster (UrbanAsia) is in the process of elaborating a new program platform (read more here) The proposition of UrbanASIA is that creative and visionary imaginaries about urban development at micro-, meso- and macro-levels are important for urban development and change. Imaginaries are key drivers for shaping new urban territories and identities in agglomerates that thrive on the pluralism of their constituencies. UrbanASIA will examine how the interaction between and negotiation of global, national and local perspectives and interests contribute to and force urban change and development in Asia's ‘world cities'.

We envisage that this thematic workshop will combine panels and papers with discussions on network building and how to proceed with building a platform and at this stage we propose the following four panels:

Archipelago - Futures - Entrepreneurial city - Urban governance

The urban Archipelago: Treating new cultural spaces and technologies in the Asian ‘world city': paper topics might address how urban space is represented and relates to the production of identity and difference. What is the role of technology in the production of new forms of association and communities?

Building Futures: treating the role of historical and contemporary prospective and collective imaginaries and the ways these shape city identities and the recreation and re-development of cities. Paper topics might address how the expectations, perceptions, and practices of urban dwellers intersect with new urban landscapes and projects and what possible conflicts can arise from this relation? This could also include empirical data on materiality, such as cultural texts, cultural products/commodities, for example as symbols of different kinds of urban lifestyles or as imaginations of urbanity as read through TV-dramas or cinema etc.'

The Entrepreneurial city: As cities increasingly are engaged in inter-place competition a new line of place-making strategies influences the urban environment. Cities are transformed to become harmonious, green or beautiful places to work, consume and invest. Paper contributions might address how the new social technologies of the city serve specific political, ideological or economic ends. And, furthermore, how different social actors might contest social technologies.

Urban governance: Asia's world cities are being confronted by global, national and local processes that challenge the authorities and urban constituencies to transform risks into opportunities under new governance regimes that will negotiate the balance between utopian ideas and urban planning and between state building and innovative governance arrangements.

We invite abstracts that focus on aspects related to these questions, but other topics are welcome also, as well as proposals for other panels. Asia's cities also engage with European partners in different types of ventures and we would therefore also like to solicit papers that deal with the Asia-Europe connections or and their contestations.

The committee will notify abstract submitters of acceptance by email no later than 27 January 2012.

Deadline for submission of full papers is 4 April 2012.

We would seek to publish the proceedings as an edited volume or as 1-2 special issues of journals.

Jørgen Delman, Professor, China Studies, University of Copenhagen
Anders Blok, Post-doc, Sociology, University of Copenhagen
Michael Ulfstjerne, PhD Candidate, Comparative Culture Studies, University of Copenhagen

Read more about the conference here