Workshops, conferences 2013

  • Start: Sep 5, 2013 09:00 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • End: Sep 6, 2013 05:30 PM
  • Location: National University of Singapore
  • Room: Research Division Seminar Room - Block AS7, Shaw Foundation Building, #06-42, 5 Arts Link
Workshop organised by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany, and FASS Cities, Research Cluster at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.

For more details please contact esser(at)mmg.mpg.de.

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The study of diverse and multicultural cities has gained considerable interest in recent years, reflecting a growing concern with migrant populations and the implications of 'strangers' in crowded urban societies. In this literature, one of the key considerations centers around understanding how ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse peoples "rub along" and live together in tight and dense metropolises. One strand of this research is interested in the quotidian encounter – ranging from the fleeting non-verbal to more sustained engagements over longer periods of time. In this research however, friendship as a form of social relation and interaction has been largely unexamined.

While research on friendship as a social phenomenon has been limited, our intention in this workshop is not to urge a general resurgence in the literature. Instead, we posit that friendship ties interrogated in conjunction with understandings of the diverse city, offer innovative ways to understand the urban politics of co-existence. Following Amin's (2012) recent work in Land of Strangers, we conceive of friendship networks as social ties that make possible a functioning, yet convivial, society of strangers. Friendships, in this sense, are seen as tangible ways in which the larger "urban unconscious" can be felt, linking the intimate sphere of private lives and relationships with a public urban commons.

We seek in this workshop to bring the geographical literature around the politics and spatiality of quotidian encounter together with more sociological understandings of relationships, networks and ties built on trust, respect and reciprocity. We do so in order to initiate a research agenda around the social and spatial configurations of friendship, which have implications for urban dwellers' experiences of city life, and in opening up potentialities for new ways of living together with diversity. We intend for the papers from this workshop to make contributions to contemporary understandings of everyday encounters in the diverse city, as well as further debates on the potential convivialities of dense urban spaces.

Workshop Convenors:

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany; and Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Email: kathiravelu@mmg.mpg.de

Assoc Prof Tim BUNNELL
Asia Research Institute and Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Email: geotgb@nus.edu.sg

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