Urban Capacities: The Migration Crisis and the Young

Organized by: International Urban Symposium-IUS and IUAES Commissions on “Urban Anthropology”, “Migration Studies” and “Children, Youth and Childhood”.
Venue: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, Durban, South Africa.
23-25 June 2020
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this Conference has been postponed; dates TBA - Click here to expand Conference details


Over the last two decades major urban centres throughout the world have experienced significant population inflows as a result of internal and international migration. Past literature distinguished mainly between two major types of migration; that is, economic and political migration. Since the late 1990s, a substantial body of literature across the social and political sciences has brought out a complex and diversified range of contemporary demographic movements, including life-style migrants, economic migrants from poor regions, political refugees and asylum seekers.

This Conference seeks to focus on four broad types of contemporary migration. One could be called as inclusive voluntary movement. Generally based upon mutual agreements between the migrant and the host country, this is believed to be mutually beneficial: career opportunities for the migrant, on the one hand, and addressing skills shortages in the accepting countries, on the other. A second type of demographic movement involves life-style migrants, such as self-initiated expatriates, wealthy foreign residents, international students, foreign executives in local organisations. These migrants embody a growing trend explored in recent anthropological literature. They are usually more than welcome in the host countries. A third type reflects a drive to leave behind uncertain futures in economically weak countries. These migrants are in search of opportunities for themselves and their progenies. A fourth type involves people who escape war, political turmoil or prosecution and seek refuge in far-off areas perceived to be safe havens; this movement is protected by law in most democratic countries. Most often, in the third and fourth types of migration, flows of people involve dangerous journeys and payment of bribes to get across regional and international borders and they do not always conclude with a legal entry in the host country, raising all the risks associated with an illegal stay. Media coverage of these movements often give rise to juxtaposing sentiments of acceptance and sympathy or of rejection of outsiders encroaching upon both urban and agricultural areas. The age range of migrants spans from the youngest to the oldest. Favourable reactions to immigration in receiving nations develop when there is ground to believe that the circumstances under which people leave their country of origin merit empathy; this applies especially to refugees. On the contrary, rejection may be driven by xenophobia, racism or economic reasons justified by the inability of the receiving nations to accommodate immigrants in their economy.

Countries across the world are radically revising their immigration policies in a situation marked by poor global economic performances, increasing levels of human trafficking, in many cases linked to drug, arms, organ trafficking, and growing security concerns. In some cases, their arguments are nationalistic and based upon claims of protection of the autochthonous social ethos, urban landscapes and the opportunities for their future generations. In other cases, security and human rights concerns are argued as major reasons for revised policies with a view to restrictive measures. Migrants, too, are constantly assessing and reviewing their opportunities and future possibilities.

These socio-economic, political and legal issues are of contemporary and future importance and require the empirical study of urban capacities, of the positive and negative motivations of movements of people nationally and internationally, and of the possibilities for the young as countries continue to depopulate their rural areas in favour of urbanisation. Anthropologists and academics from cognate disciplines who are ethnographically engaged in these areas of research are invited to contribute to this Conference with a view to developing a comparative understanding.

Scientific Committee
Dr Giuliana B. Prato, University of Kent, U.K.; Chair, IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology; email: g.b.prato@kent.ac.uk
Prof. Italo Pardo, Ph.D., University of Kent, U.K.; President, International Urban Symposium-IUS; email: i.pardo@kent.ac.uk
Prof Anand Singh, Ph. D., University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Chair, IUAES Commission for Migration Studies; email: SINGHAN@ukzn.ac.za
Prof Deepak K. Behera, Sambalpur University; Chair, IUAES Commission for Children, Youth and Childhood; email: behera.dk@gmail.com

Paper Titles and 250 words (max) Abstracts should be submitted to the Scientific Committee no later than Monday 2 March 2020. Applicants will be informed about acceptance of their submission by Monday 23 March 2020.

Registration: Registration Deadline: Monday 27 April 2020. Registration Fee: €120 (Euros). Onsite Registration: €170.


Legitimacy: The Right to Health

Organised by: International Urban Symposium – IUS

Convenors: Italo Pardo and Giuliana B. Prato

4-8 September 2020, Tuscany, Italy

NB: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this Workshop will now be held in September 2021 - Click here to expand Workshop details


Individual and public health is
a legal and legitimate right.
It is a fundamental of life.

Issues of trust and authority that are central to current theoretical debate on legitimacy set key challenges on our empirical understanding of health practices and the governance of public health. Ethnographically-based reflection on ideas of legitimacy at the grassroots can help us address important questions about healthcare, including the complex ways in which public health authorities gain, keep, or lose the public’s trust. In this Workshop, the ethnographic focus is on urban settings.

There are, of course, many factors that impact on people’s health, whether it be as a result of lifestyle choice, environmental conditions or societal and economic circumstances. This invitation-only Workshop will draw on empirical knowledge from different settings to study the ways in which the right to health is addressed by the authorities and is experienced by the people on the ground. In particular, attention needs to be drawn on a growing ambiguity to the official definition of what constitutes (morally and legally) illegitimate behaviour in public life. Here, the analytical focus is on the management of the health services and of the urban environment, which have a direct impact on individual and public health.