2011 American Association of Anthropology Annual Meeting
Montreal, November 16th-20th, 2011
Imaginaries - whether they be global, national, regional or local - always play an important role in how cities are understood and hence come into being. Hierarchies of status pervade these imaginaries, placing some cities in the limelight of social and cultural importance while leaving others to grapple with their secondary status. Saskia Sassen's rubric of "global cities," for instance, has long proved seductive both for academics seeking to classify cities and, maybe more important, for policymakers and citizens striving to elevate their cities to "world class" status.
While anthropological inquiry tends to focus on so-called "premiere" or “important” cities placed at the top of global and regional hierarchies, and rural communities relegated to the bottom, our discipline largely overlooks cities caught between these two positions. But this is where much of the world's urban growth is taking place. As such, these cities are extraordinarily dynamic fields of social and spatial change. They play host to people forging new ways of living and associating. They are spaces where people individually and collectively strive to define and achieve ideals of what it means to be urban, to be members of a modern world, and to live a good life. Some ways these aspirations manifest are how people pursue their personal visions of success, how they perform status, how they consume, and how they act out their moral visions of the way a city should be organized and its members should behave.
This session invites papers that address some of the following questions: What does it mean for a city to be considered unimportant, always emerging but not quite, caught in the middle, or even failed? How do these cities desire, aspire, and strive for recognition? What roles do residents play in a city's striving to emerge? How do the ways people live their lives affect a city's social and spatial development? How do ideas of what makes a good, successful city play out on the ground?
Please send paper title, abstract (no more than 250 words), affiliation, and contact information to: Timothy Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org (PhD Candidate, Anthropology, UC Davis) and Bascom Guffin at email@example.com (PhD Candidate, Anthropology, UC Davis).
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: +91 95812 07179 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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