International Urban Symposium-IUS & Brunel University


Urbanity: Empirical Reflections 

Brunel University, Uxbridge London, Saturday 19 May 2018

Convenors: Giuliana B. Prato, Italo Pardo, Gary Armstrong

‘Urbanity’ refers not only to a specific form of life, aspects of urban policy, sociological demands or political changes, but also to intercultural relations in the complexity and heterogeneity of urban life. Urban settings are undoubtedly places where cultural, social, economic and ethnic coexistence can be explored. There, the political aspect of difference becomes visible.

Urbanity can adopt many different forms according to the city’s historical, social, cultural and political trajectory. To address urbanity, we need to look at the changing nature of social interactions, and its effects on the structuring of political and economic spaces. We need to look at how urban dwellers encounter others and how they distance themselves from others – creating social spaces of and for themselves

By definition, cities have always hosted heterogeneity, open-endedness, broadness, lack of prejudices and self-criticism. However, contemporary experiences of urbanity ask us to reflect on a key issue that is becoming ever more pressing, politically, socially and economically⸺therefore, analytically. Specifically, tolerance of the other may translate into welcoming attitudes and social and economic exchanges. However, under certain conditions, tolerance turns into toleration. Then, heterogeneity gives rise to outbreaks of violence.

Urban settings can be seen as places of opportunity and danger. Typically, urbanites may talk of a particular place as ‘dangerous’ and of another as ‘safe’, giving reasons based on their own experience or that of others. Examples abound of how these perceptions of urbanity have been seized upon to implement policies that challenge fundamental democratic principles and rights of citizenship.

This invitation-only meeting will address the above issues with specific reference to:

  • Ethnographies of urban ethos;
  • Variations of citizenship;
  • Otherness, cooperation and conflict in multi-ethnic urban settings;
  • Security and democratic freedoms.

International Urban Symposium & Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK 


Cities in Flux: Ethnographic and Theoretical Challenges

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, 23-29 July 2018

Convenors:  Italo Pardo, Giuliana B. Prato, James Rosbrook-Thompson

With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, and this proportion set to increase to two-thirds by 2050, the ethnographic study of life in urban settings has never been so urgent and important. Urbanisation proceeding at such a pace has meant increases in the number and size of cities but also continues to alter the social fabric of urban centres, sometimes in profound ways. This five-day Summer School and two-day Seminar – organised and hosted by Anglia Ruskin University under the auspices of the International Urban Symposium (IUS) – will bring together social anthropologists, sociologists, urban planners, architects, and human geographers committed to empirically-grounded analysis of cities in order to examine a number of pressing methodological and theoretical questions relating to urban change.

The Summer School will encompass lectures, seminars, field trips and social events across a range of topics including migration, identity and belonging, the impact of stereotype, gentrification, public space, and historical and global links. The primary aim of the School is to train students in the ‘art’ of conducting ethnographic fieldwork and developing analysis based on said ethnography. The School will also instruct students on how to debate issues while seeking to understand and develop the link between ethnographically-based analysis and social theory. Teaching will take place in two-hour blocks – one each morning and one each afternoon – with in-class work being supplemented by events such as structured city walks and field trips. The School will be open to postgraduate and doctoral students, final-year undergraduate students as well as professionals and practitioners.

The Summer School will culminate in a two-day Research Seminar bringing together colleagues who taught in the School and other interested scholars. As well as papers delivered by academics and practitioners on a range of issues relating to the theme of Cities in Flux, the Seminar will also give students of the School the opportunity to deliver poster presentations that draw on the work they have conducted over the previous five days. It is anticipated that expanded and revised versions of the Seminar papers and poster synopses will be published in outlets associated with the IUS, including the journal Urbanities and Palgrave Macmillan’s ‘Studies in Urban Anthropology’ book series.

To apply, please access the event page at:  https://www.anglia.ac.uk/arts-law-and-social-sciences/faculty-events/ius-aru-summer-school-and-research-seminar-cities-in-flux-ethnographic-and-theoretical-challenges