Archive for publications, December 2018

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[Commlist] Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 5.2 published

Wed Dec 19 13:03:16 GMT 2018

Intellect is delighted to announce that the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 5.2 is now available! For more information about the issue, click here >>

Special Issue: World-making in Urban Cultural Studies


Making worlds in urban cultural studies
Authors: Carolyn Birdsall and Simone Kalkman

In this editorial, we explore the relevance of the concepts of worlding and world-making within the context of urban cultural studies. We ask how cultural practices make worlds and how these practices are in turn worlded, with particular attention to the diverse forms that the urban (as a ‘global’ phenomenon) takes across the world and fact that academic research itself should be considered a form of worlding. In doing so, three focal points come to the fore. The first is the importance of so-called ‘elite dreams’ and their messy and contested relation with worlding practices from below. Second, we emphasize the need to examine the social, political and economic contexts in which cultural objects are created, distributed and received – which calls for an interdisciplinary approach. Third, we focus on historical differences and the need for longer-term perspectives within scholarly research, considering how particular cultural practices are preserved and remembered.

The beach as microcosm of a cosmopolitan city: Imagining and experiencing urban encounters at Trieste’s Pedocin beach
Authors: Milou van Hout

This article focuses on the nature of beaches as places of urban encounters, critically examining the cosmopolitanized discourse of Trieste’s urban identity by exploring the dynamics of urban ‘world-making’ at Trieste’s Pedocin beach. The analysis focuses on the ways in which the recent documentary L’Ultima Spiaggia (The Last Resort) (Anastopoulos and Del Degan, 2016) moves away from the poetic elite imaginations that have fashioned cultural narratives of Trieste. The film represents a cosmopolitan experience, which, for Trieste’s beachgoers, is not enclosed in the moment of encounter with diversity and the other. Cosmopolitanism, here, is rather the individual capacity to live between the overlapping urban realities that the triestini inhabit, and yet within their own internal moment.

(Re)Addressing Mostar: Global imaginaries, local activisms
Authors: Giulia Carabelli

This article examines how artistic interventions in public space become worlding practices that challenge established, global representations of cities. Focusing on Mostar, an ethnically divided city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the essay contrasts the global representation of the city as intolerant and uncooperative to the worlding practices of Abart, a collective whose art interventions make visible moments of solidarity among supposedly antagonistic actors. Through the mobilization of Lefebvre’s core concepts of the production of space and heterotopia, this article explores how Abart navigates global funding streams through the re-appropriation of donors’ vocabulary as a means of countering their dominant narratives that limit the very potentials of urban activism. Thus, Mostar’s network of activists constitutes a significant example of grassroots actors critically intervening into the ‘art of being global’.

Of ‘Godziners’ and ‘Designer Citizens’: The emergence of designers as political subjects in Cape Town
Authors: Laura Nkula-Wenz

Over the course of 2011, the City of Cape Town bid for, and eventually won the title of World Design Capital 2014. This article discusses how the ‘idea of design’ emerged as a new governmental rationality and mode of subjectivation, positing the local ‘design community’ as an indispensable macro-actor of local development and policy production. It unpacks the various (self-)ascriptions and socio-economic aspirations pinned to the notion of design and its actionable subjectivity, the designer. While recognizing that the idea of design has raised hopes for innovative solutions that could help to address Cape Town’s most pervasive urban challenges, the article ultimately questions whether real change ‘by design’ can be attained without designers acknowledging and (self-)critically engaging with the political dimension of their work.

Bourgeois worlds and urban nightmares: The post-Ottoman Balkan City through the lens of Milutin Uskoković’s Newcomers
Authors: Miloš Jovanović

In the nineteenth century, the bourgeois elites of newly minted national capitals Belgrade and Sofia sought to produce ‘European’ urban space, their first step on a path to industrial modernity and a new relationship with the world. When such designs failed, their execution left real, devastating material consequences. This article explores the underside of elite dreams through Milutin Uskoković’s Newcomers (1910). Set in 1906 Belgrade, the novel’s tragic form emphasizes the futility of bourgeois aspirations on the periphery of global capital. I expand on such themes through archival sources, which consistently describe the post-Ottoman city as a landscape of dispossession. Ultimately, I argue that urban modernity has historically been informed by failed elite dreams and their resulting urban nightmares, particularly in spaces off-centre to capitalist flows.

Favelas at the biennale: Exhibiting Brazilian informality in Europe
Authors: Simone Kalkman

Brazilian favelas have become world-famous through representations in cinema, tourism and art. This article discusses engagements with Brazilian favelas in art and architecture, focusing on the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. This exhibition is analysed as a practice of worlding, focusing on how artists and curators transform favelas into objects to be seen, experienced and thought about. The article shows that the incorporation of favelas into European art contexts is inextricably related, first, to imaginaries of Brazilian nationality and, second, to the idea that the global North can learn from favelas. Building on this, I argue that ethical and epistemological questions are inextricably intertwined when exhibiting Brazilian favelas in Europe, which implies recognizing the complicity of academic research in this process of knowledge production.

Urban encounters: Performance and making urban worlds
Authors: Dan Swanton

This article develops how urban encounters have been theorized and mobilized across the social sciences to emphasize the ordinary and unspectacular ways in which people live together in cities in response to widespread talk of a crisis of multiculturalism. Situated in the contact zone between social science disciplines and arts practice, the article argues for performative and more political theorizations of spaces of encounter. Focusing on photographer Mahtab Hussain’s project You Get Me? (2017), the article examines how photographic portraits offer one example of a performative encounter that takes up as a position in the politics of lived experience by carving out spaces where difference might be encountered in new ways, and by challenging viewers to imagine and enact new ways of being-in-common.

Seeing the self in the world: Attending to banal globalism in urban visual cultures
Authors: Simon Ferdinand

Urban visual cultures are permeated by images of the global earth. From environmentalist posters presenting fragile whole earths, to logos that brand international corporations, these visual figures have dissolved into the scarcely scrutinized backdrop of everyday practice. This short article underlines the significance of this ‘banal globalism’ as the condition in which global discourses shape identities and frame experience in ways that elude conscious disputation. It indicates two complexities surrounding banal globalism. First I stress how the inconspicuousness and seeming triviality of banal global images exceed critical approaches based on the concentrated reading of visual objects. Then I indicate how such focused analysis can uncover rich and strange global visions that might otherwise be overlooked as part of the quotidian urban backdrop.

Defiant worldings from Manchester, England: Expulsed global solidarities and the international homeland of dignity
Authors: Cornelia Gräbner

This article explores contemporary material and affective traces of two instances of global solidarity in Manchester, England. The first is a letter sent to Abraham Lincoln by an assembly of Manchester citizens in December 1862, assuring Lincoln of their unwavering support for the struggle for the freedom of all despite the cotton famine’s effect on those assembled. The second instance refers to the multi-faceted practices of solidarity with the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades. Drawing on Stephen D’Arcy’s ‘language of the unheard’ and Ananya Roy’s ‘civic governmentality’, and on commemorative traces in Manchester’s topography, the article reflects on how ‘defiant worldings’ are commemorated, subordinated and/or marginalized but also how the spirit of egalitarian, anti-racist and anti-fascist defiance is remembered and kept alive.

Mobile worlding: Exploring the trans-urban circulation and the interconnectedness of migrants’ urban world-making practices
Authors: Luce Beeckmans

This short-form article considers the concept of ‘mobile worlding’ in relation to migrants’ world-making practices. Yet, instead of the conventional focus on the transnational cultural exchange between migrants’ home and host countries, this article theorizes the trans-urban circulation and interconnectedness of migrants’ urban world-making practices across cities in Europe. It reflects on how migrants’ urban world-making practices may be conceptualized as ‘practices of citation and reference in a world of inter-connected urbanism’ or a ‘mobile urbanism’ from below (McCann et al. and McCann and Ward). In this article, examples of urban world-making practices of African diaspora are discussed, highlighting the author’s own research on religious place-making in European cities, as well as other instances of ‘mobile worlding’ that are not yet conceptualized as such, for instance hip-hop and fashion.
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