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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Wintersemester 13/14

Hier finden Sie eine Übersicht über das Programm des Think&Drink Kolloquium im Wintersemester 2013/14. Das Kolloquium findet in der Vorlesungszeit immer Montags von 18 bis 20 Uhr in Raum 002 in der Universitätsstraße 3b statt.




Montag, 21.10.2013   Prof. Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto

Scales of Urban Citizenship: Seeing Like a City, Seeing Like a Neighbourhood, Seeing like a Firm

A five-year empirical  research on how the city of Toronto uses its legal tools leads to the conclusion that theoretical work on citizenship in the urban context could benefit from an analytical framework that has more dimensions than the usual city-state-global tripartite division of powers and knowledges. First, it is important to understand the profound differences between the logic of citizenship at the neighbourhood (and micro-neighbourhood) level and citizenship at the scale of the (large) city. Secondly, it is necessary to go beyond the theoretical tools provided by geographers' explorations of scale and scale shifts and include temporal scale as an important dimension, when analyzing both official and grasroots practices of citizenship.

Note: while the empirical  work in question has been published in the 2012 book "Everyday law on the street: city governance in an age of diversity", the theoretical conclusions that will be presented in this talk are not included in that book or in any other publication thus far.





Montag, 28.10.2013   Dr. Jan Fuhse, HU Berlin

Relational Sociology and Interethnic Networks

Relational sociology around conceptualizes social networks as interwoven with meaning: stories about relations and the identities involved, styles, roles, and institutions. The presentation first sketches the basic contours of this approach. of its history and research program. The second part turns to its application to interethnic relations. The structure and composition of social networks are central to the relations between ethnic groups, and they are closely tied to the construction of ethnic boundaries and to cultural differences.











Montag, 04.11.2013   Prof. Iain Boal, UC Berkeley

The Green Machine

The bicycle is a green icon celebrated for its efficiency and the spare beauty of its design, trumpeted by urban planners and aficionados of pedal power as a solution to congested cities and environmental crisis. However, a more complex story emerges when the bicycle is seen in planetary perspective, and in a deeper historical and ecological setting. Iain Boal's illustrated talk examines this paragon of sustainable and convivial mobility, challenging the mythos of the bicycle as intrinsically a friend of the earth. Invented as a means of horseless locomotion, in response to a climate catastrophe in 1815, the bicycle gave birth directly to the motor car and the airplane, themselves major contributors to climate change. An instrument of women's emancipation and working class leisure, at the same time it fostered a masculinist cult of speed and the clearance of the streets for purposes of capitalist circulation. Cyclists were in the vanguard of road advocacy; they pioneered the culture of automobilism and the paving of the planet. The political ecologies of rubber and tarmac have their roots in the explosive growth of cycling in the 1890s, including a genocidal labour regime behind latex extraction in the Congo. Today's urban elites in the global south are criminalizing human-powered vehicles as symbols of poverty and the colonial past, yet the bicycle remains an essential mode of transport worldwide. Rickshaws are indispensible to the provisioning of the megacities of Asia in which millions toil and improvise day-to-day survival.  The Green Machine (London: Notting Hill Editions, 2014) tells this history without illusions, in the face of the gathering climate emergency and the generalized crisis of urban livelihood. Laying bare the entanglement of this most congenial of human artifacts in the dark side of modernity is the first step towards truly autonomous self-movement.



Montag, 11.11.2013  - Fällt aus



Montag, 18.11.2013   - Filmseminar



2012 documentary film, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, about the city of Detroit, Michigan

The film won the U.S. Documentary Editing Award, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival


Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.
- by Caroline Libresco





Montag, 25.11.2013   Prof. Monika Salzbrunn, Université de Lausanne

(Festive) Events as Entry Points to Comparative Urban Studies: Paris-Tokyo, Ruhr-Istanbul


Approaching urban areas through the observation of (festive) events allows to focus on social relations in a political arena without predefining the groups involved in the given situation. Wearing "event lenses" instead of "ethnic lenses" also helps to question supposed homogeneities and to investigate common civic or political practices and interests, by emphasizing multiple belonging processes in various social situations. Comparative research by fieldcrossing in Paris and Tokyo has allowed to show how festive events create commonality in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Both cities present different pathways of migrant incorporation in these places, but also processes of exclusion of marginalised people through the architecture of public spaces.

The comparison of Ruhr Area and Istanbul during the celebrations of European capital of culture has also put evidence on marginalisation processes of the urban poor, whereas an elite form of cosmopolitanism and diversity was partly put on stage. Finally, an on-going research project on (In)visible islam in urban spaces reveals how political expectations and discourses contribute to the reinforcement of homogeneous, one-dimensional identities, whereas empirical studies show the ambiguity and pluri-dimensional processes of multiple belonging. The presentation includes an unpublished critical review of methodological approaches in comparative urban and migration studies and gives empirical examples from field studies that have been published recently:

The Economies of Urban Diversity. Ruhr Area and Istanbul (co-edited with Darja Reuschke and Korinna Schönhärl), http://www.palgrave.com/PRODUCTS/title.aspx?pid=673190 and,

From Community to Commonality. Multiple Belonging and Street Phenomena in the Era of Reflexive Modernization. Seijo University Press (co-authored with Yasumasa Sekine).





Montag, 02.12.2013  Prof. Edmond Préteceille, Sciences Po Paris

Segregation, Race And Class in Paris

The talk will present work in progress on urban segregation in Paris during the first decade of this century. An increasing concern for ethno-racial segregation due to discrimination of immigrants, of persons of color or supposed Muslim religion, poses questions of categories, methods and access to data. That concern however should not dismiss the issue of socioeconomic segregation, whose causes have intensified with increasing income inequalities and intensified market competition in a city strongly influenced by financial globalization. And the interaction between the two is a complex research question.





Montag, 09.12.2013  Dr. Seth Schindler, HU Berlin

A New Delhi Everyday: Struggling over Space in a Transforming Metropolis

As the title of this talk implies, I am interested in exploring the interstice between everyday city life and urban transformation. As an entry point I begin with the observation of a rather obvious contradiction: the urban poor in Delhi are increasingly criminalized yet they remain ubiquitous. While scholars have focused on the so-called ‘new’ middle class, it is oftentimes presented as the single dynamic class in an otherwise static social structure. I chart the emergence of ‘new’ urban poverty. There are both push- and pull-factors that have given rise to a large informal service sector that differs from the working poor. Workers in this sector (e.g. street hawkers, waste collectors, rickshaw pullers) cannot sell their labor for a wage in the formal economy, and their livelihoods typically require access to urban space. Thus, they come into direct conflict with municipal authorities who seek to transform Delhi into a ‘world-class’ city. I show how the struggles and negotiations among a range of non-state actors produce localized governance regimes that determine how and by whom urban space is used on an everyday basis. These regimes co-exist with formal municipal governance, which is increasingly geared toward transforming territory rather than ‘improving’ populations. I return to the interstice between the everyday and urban transformation by exploring the implications of this shift of emphasis from populations to territory. I conclude by suggesting that we must developed more nuanced ways of understanding how city life in 21st century metropolises is increasingly defined by multiplicities of governance regimes and material/spatial conflicts.





Montag, 16.12.2013  Dr. Bowen Paulle, University of Amsterdam

Toxic Schools: High Poverty Education in New York and Amsterdam

Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.







Montag, 06.01.2014  Prof. Godfried Engbersen, Univeristy of Rotterdam

The Urban Governance of Labour Migration from Central and Eastern Europe

The EU enlargements of 2004 and 2007 have generated substantial migrants flows from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria to Western European countries. These labour migration flows were partly a continuation of migration paths that had already been established before 2004. However, the new migrations from CEE countries also involve substantial new migrant groups that do not follow in the footsteps of earlier labour migrants. In this presentation I will address two questions. Firstly, what is the nature of these migration flows? In what ways do they differ from traditional patterns such as temporary, circular migration and settlement migration? Secondly, what are the social consequences of CEE migration for urban regions and how urban governments face the challenge of CEE migration in the multi-level governance setting in which they operate? Many urban regions appear little prepared to cope with the urban implications of CEE labour migration (especially housing and registration). The Netherlands represents one of the cases where the presence of CEE migrants has emerged prominently on the national and local policy agenda (cities of Rotterdam and The Hague); see for example the so-called ‘Poland summit’ in 2007 that brought together national and local governments, a parliamentary inquiry in 2011 on ‘Lessons from Recent EU Labour Migration’ and recent turmoil surrounding a Dutch political party that established a phone line where natives could file complaints about Polish migrants.






Montag, 13.01.2014  Dr. Henrik Lebuhn, HU Berlin

Urban Citizenship: Piecing together the Incomplete Puzzle 

Over the past 20 years, the concept of Urban Citizenship has gained prominence among many scholars investigating the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in the city. Although the concept has proven to be extremely fruitful and has generated many innovative studies, it also suffers from a number of analytical shortcomings. Among other aspects, the impact of neo-liberal rescaling processes on city politics, dynamics of fragmentation, as well as the question of civil rights often seem oddly absent from the debate. The presentation will give a short overview over the development of the concept in order to then highlight the strengths, but also some of the problems and challenges that need to be addressed to complete the puzzle and sharpen this analytical tool for future urban research and activism.










Montag, 20.01.2014  Prof. Ivor Chipkin,The Public Affairs Research Institute, Johannesburg

Capitalism and Communalism in Contemporary South Africa

The presentation will discuss how changes to the bundle of rights associated with 'private property' are throwing up novel institutions that play an increasingly important role in mediating social relationships in locations as diverse as Cairo, Nairobi, Beijing and California . Condominiums, what are called sectional title estates in South Africa, are also transforming cities.  I will explore these developments from the perspective of  Roodepoort. This Western region of Johannesburg has over the last 10 years witnessed massive new townhouse developments that have transformed a largely rural paysage into a densely urban scene. They have also brought hundreds of thousands of new residents in the area, settled in increasingly 'multi-racial' townhouse estates of varying size and wealth and in informal settlements, sometimes small, sometimes massive. The presentation will explore what these settlements say about the kind of society that Post-Apartheid South Africa is becoming.







Montag, 27.01.2014  Dr. Liviu Chelcea, University of Bucharest

Plumbing, Repairs, and Infrastructures: Houses, Property, and Post-socialism in Bucharest, Romania

Social studies of infrastructure generally claim that urban infrastructures are materially and symbolically hidden, arguing that they become visible only when they malfunction. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Bucharest, I question that claim, based on the way long-term tenants in nationalized housing conceptualize plumbing and housing repair as ownership. Without crisis or malfunction, tenants make symbolically visible, collectivize, and politicize the past plumbing of capillary endings of urban infrastructure in order to retain occupancy and gain ownership. These past interventions are (1) recompartmentalization-driven plumbing, (2) improved connectivity to municipal gas, water, or electricity networks as well as (3) ordinary running repairs. I describe the theoretical implications of analyzing the flows, materialities, and agencies of plumbing for the ethnographies of houses and urban infrastructures. Plumbing is simultaneously a material, political, and symbolic practice. Future discussions of the links between plumbing, modernity, and anthropology might have potential value for renewed understandings of ethnographic reflexivity. References to plumbing usually surface in anthropological texts as meta-commentary on civilization, post-colonialism, ethnographic location, development, cultural distance, or evolution, but ethnographers have been largely inattentive to plumbing as an analytic tool and ethnographic object. 



Montag, 03.02.2014 - ENTFÄLLT



Montag, 10.02.2014 - Think & Drink Filmseminar

The Golden Temple. Olypmpic regeneration at east London.
A film by Enrico Masi, 2013










After the film screening there will be a discussion with film's director
Enrico Masi from Bologna

Directors Statement: "This is not classical documentary about the
Olympics. We’re building a film about the capitalism’s extreme unction,
the explicit show of its decay. The paradox of austerity. As a kid
trying to fill the sea with sand, a titanic and apocalyptic deed, I
tried to understand the Olympics process, while it was going on in the
city of London, where I moved for personal reasons, just when the virus
was growing. What was going on in me was the approaching to a massive
collective event, in the heart of capitalism, in the city from the
colonial journey to the beginning of digital primitives. A unique
opportunity to deal with people coming from a distant and mysterious
district, Stratford. A different world, in the boundaries of the city,
with diverse urban dynamics that upset commonplace, in a contest of
unprecedented ethnic and linguistic contamination. This section is about
my life, in a city that is subjected to the Olympics process, changing
in life of people living around the district, before and after the event."

Enrico Masi (1983) is an italian musician and film director and founder
of Caucaso study centre in 2004. Educated in Bologna through Literature,
Music and Cinema, in 2008 he started working as aa visual anthropologist
and researcher.The Golden Temple, his debut longmetrage, was premiered
in Venice 2012. Currently involved in the writing and pre production of
his second film, in between Brasil and Europe.