Cities and Mobilities Seminar Series #2 Cities, Mobility and Diversity with Adrian Favell

The aim of this seminar series is to develop a conversation on how mobilities shape cities as well as to foster exchange and collaboration between scholars from different disciplines and practitioners working on urban mobilities at UvA and beyond.

In the second seminar, we’ll focus on mobility and diversity. Guest speaker Adrian Favell (Chair in Sociology and Social Theory at the University of Leeds) will give a talk

“Diversity and Mobilities in Eurocities: The Case of London and Brexit”.

London in the 2000s was the Eurocity par excellence. It was the destination of choice for a generation or two of Eurostars (Favell 2008): young, professionally mobile, post-national populations from Europe, West and East, who thrived in the cosmopolitan, non-discriminatory atmosphere of the largest and most dynamic global city, in a Europe of open borders.  Will Brexit change all that?

For sure, there will be a new natural experiment as regards the regional economic and cultural fortunes of London’s binary twin, Paris, which declined markedly in the shadow of London from 1997-2010. Other competing cities, such as Amsterdam and Berlin are also clearly benefitting. The presentation will also focus on theoretical issues about the limits of mobilities in a still nationalised and colonially ordered world. One of the great attractions of London was its “superdiversity”, a legacy of ethnic and racial diversity with deep roots in British colonial domination. Free moving Europeans and Black and Asian Minority (BAME) British, were widely thought be in tension. Yet Brexit has revealed the underlying racialised and colonial logic of British (English) island nationalism, which has re-cast all of these mobile, transnational and diasporic populations as subordinate “immigrant” foreigners to be nationally “integrated”—or else. The limits of cosmopolitanism have also been revealed by the sharp intercession of national sovereignty in the shape of a referendum, which ostensibly restored to “the people” the power to politically reject the legitimacy of economic and cultural mobilities that were thought to be constitutive of a global society; literally to reduce “demography” to “democracy”.

Adrian Favell

Prof. Adrian Favell is Chair in Sociology and Social Theory at the University of Leeds. He is the author of various works on multiculturalism, migration, cosmopolitanism and cities, including Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain (1998), The Human Face of Global Mobility: International Highly Skilled Migration in EuropeNorth America and the Asia-Pacific (with Michael Peter Smith, 2006), and Eurostars and Eurocities: Free Movement and Mobility in an Integrating Europe (2008). A collection of his essays, Immigration, Integration and Mobility: New Agendas in Migration Studies, including more recent work on East-West migration and anti-EU politics in Britain, was published by ECPR Press (Jan 2015). He also writes about urban development and politics in Turkey, and Japan as a model of the “post-growth” society, particular in terms of its contemporary art and architecture.

Programme

14.00
Opening by Anna Nikolaeva (CUS, organizer of the seminar series)

14.10 – 15.10
Presentations (see abstract below)

  • Cosmopolitan capital, flexible ethos and social skills: the making of the cool creative migrant in the new urban cultural economy, by Vanessa Cantinho de Jesus, AISSR/UvA.
  • Afrostars and Eurospaces: West African movers Re-viewing ‘Destination Europe’ from the Inside, by Joris Schapendonk, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

15.10-15.30
Coffee break

15.30-17.00
Guest Lecture:

  • Diversity and Mobilities in Eurocities: The Case of London and Brexit, by Adrian  Favell.

Comments and discussion with Virginie Mamadouh, CUS/UvA

17.00
Reception

Registration

Seminar is free and open to anyone. Please let us know if you are coming by sending an e-mail to Iris van der Doelen: I.vanderDoelen@uva.nl

Location: REC J/K B.25

Roeterseilandcampus – building J/K

Valckenierstraat 65-67 | 1018 XE Amsterdam

 

Presentations:

Vanessa Cantinho de Jesus, AISSR, UvA

Cosmopolitan capital, flexible ethos and social skills: the making of the cool creative migrant in the new urban cultural economy.

In this paper I will draw on ethnographic examples taken from my research on young Portuguese adults living in Amsterdam who are, in diverse ways, pursuing professional and/or artistic aspirations in the creative and cultural industries. Through the analysis of some of their discourses and practices I intend to discuss the particular conditions and strategies that are at play in the pursuit of such aspirations. Namely, the importance of social networking, the adoption of a flexible lifestyle (not only regarding work, but also one’s values and plans for the future), and the signalling of transnational aesthetic orientations, expressed in a kind of cosmopolitan capital (Kuipers, 2012) appear as features for success.

To develop my argument I will not simply acknowledge such circumstances, but also reflect on their conditions of production and on the meanings of the relatively differentiated access to, and display by different informants.

I equally intend to access how diversity, more than a discursive trope crucial to this new urban cultural economy, can be a useful concept when approached both critically – that is on the limits of such trope – and as a signifier of the multi-dimensionality behind the emplacement dynamics in this particular city and for these particular migrants.

While political discourse and urban policy celebrate and promote the attraction of international talent to the celebrated creative city, creating appealing imaginaries to migrants to be, a more attentive eye into the realities of those who move in search of such images is needed, to build a critical stance capable of both highlighting the possibilities of emplacement in such urban cultural economies but also pointing to the underlying contradictions and possible exclusions. My aim is that this paper can make a contribution in that direction.

 

Joris Schapendonk, Radboud University

Afrostars and Eurospaces: West African movers Re-viewing ‘Destination Europe’ from the Inside

In order to destabilise the persistent normalisation of specific labelling that affects migration studies and migration policy so profoundly, this paper looks for similarities across presumably different categories of travellers. In so doing, I start from the im/mobility experiences of the Eurostars, being portrayed by Favell (2008) as the mobile EU citizens that were the pioneers in the creation of an integrated EU. I mirror these im/mobility experiences with that of the Afrostars, i.e. the West African un/documented migrants whose intra-EU im/mobility trajectories I am following through time and space. To analyse the parallels between the Euro- and the Afrostars, I construct a comparative lens along three analytical lines: the changing of aspiration and destinations, the confrontation with migration-related bureaucracies and the relationality between mobility and place attachments. The insights leads to two concluding observations that help us to re-view mobility/migration in Europe. First, there is a misleading separation of the academic debates on Euro-mobility, on the one hand, and the secondary movements or onward migration of non-EU citizens on the other. This distinction in migration studies reinforces categorical lines that are mostly induced by migration apparatuses. Secondly, and in relation to the former, there is a remarkable difference in terms of the position of mobility vis-à-vis the nation-state. As Favell so strongly shows, the Eurostars are praised for their construction of a post-national, and integrated Europe. While the treatment of the Afrostars rely so much on a discourse of re-nationalisation, i.e. national integration or assimilation. Thus, integrating Europe and integrating migrants are two worlds apart.

 

 

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