"Transcendence and Control in a Global Mega City"

Workshops, conferences 2011

  • Start: Oct 3, 2011 09:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • End: Oct 5, 2011 06:00 PM
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 11, Göttingen
  • Room: Library Hall
"Transcendence and Control in a Global Mega City"
Sponsored by PUKAR, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and Tata Institute of Social Science.

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

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This second Mumbai workshop on urban aspi­ rations proceeds from the insight that the very notion of aspiration implies dissatisfaction with the limitation of given realities (session 4), and that the real or symbolic transcendence of these limits by one section of society often entails the active constraint of others (session 1). By turning from the metaphor of space (spaces of belonging, imagination, movement) to the non-metaphoric realities of physical space as an inherently limi ted resource, we confront the problem of mutually exclusive claims to occupancy and use (session 2). The rise of the mega city is closely associated with that of a new elite whose access to global cultural forms contributes to the appea rance of having escaped the specificities of place. This trans cendence of locality depends on an accu-mulation of social capital, which simul taneous ly implies regimes of distinction and other tech-niques of social differentiation. These do not go un challenged (session 3). By what logics are some constrained to labor, that others may be free (session 6)? Transcendence, moreover, is not the sole purview of elites. Claims to the universal are made as well by groups rendered marginal in the dominant national imaginary (sessions 4 & 5), and the form of the claims they make often contain an implicit challenge to national modes of belonging as well as to the consumerist cosmopolitanism of urban elites.

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