January 20 to 22, 2016 at the Tata institute of Social Sciences Mumbai
At a time when the global south is being reconstituted by the force of urbanization there is simultaneously hope and despair. Hope in that cities of the global south are our future – they present opportunities for economic growth, a better quality of life, provide multiple possibilities of being and becoming, and offer freedoms to express, participate and collectively decide these futures. And despair in that southern cities, with widely different histories and diverse development trajectories, are characterised by degrees of unevenness, spatial polarization, social inequality and debilitating poverty.
Both these positions are informed by theories, concepts, approaches and methodologies that have emerged predominantly from the global north. Given that the empirics of urbanization is shifting definitively to the global south, there is an urgent need therefore to stimulate comparative conversations, actively build knowledge and analysis, and consolidate empirical and theoretical studies about the urban. This requires a critical, grounded and southern perspective, by privileging conversations focused on southern narratives, experiences, and voices that challenge and engage with the existing scholarship on cities, exploring continuities as well as disjuncture with cities in the developed countries.
This conference seeks to include voices from the ground to better understand the aspirations, the strategies, the actions and the agency of communities and people in actively seeking to align with the urban transformation, or to influence the restructuring process, to seek strategic spaces to consolidate their tenuous claims to space, identity and livelihood, and the protests or violence they resort to in response to their exclusion from the body politic of the city in violent and repressive ways. In bringing divergent viewpoints and multiple voices situated across a range of cities in the global south, this international conference seeks to contribute to recent theorizations on the heterogeneous processes of urbanization and urban restructuring that have been emerging from urban scholars working in Latin America, Asia, and South Africa.