Durham University, Department of Geography, 29 April 2015
Keynote speaker: Professor Engin F. Isin
Space is at the core of political struggles and contestations. Brown (2010) highlights how borders and territory are, almost paradoxically, increasingly important in a globalised world. In this neoliberal era borders are apparently more detached from their geographical location (Sassen 2005; Bigo and Guild 2005), yet an increase in international migration has highlighted the violence at the borderzone (Bigo 2007). Along with the idea of a borderless world a new form of spatial management became relevant, the space of camp (Agamben 1998; Minca 2005) that is proliferating as a way of managing those who trouble the territorial order, such as the Roma (Sigona 2005), refugees and asylum-seekers (Hyndman 2000), and undocumented migrants (De Genova and Peutz 2010). At the same time, these camps also produce new forms of resistance and everyday practices (Ramadan 2013; Sigona 2014).
In this postgraduate conference the notion of political space will be investigated in relation to the concept of citizenship. Citizenship is more than membership, it is a way of being political (Isin 2002) that emerges through struggles. Citizenship is also fundamentally spatial: space “is a fundamental strategic property by which groups […] are constituted in the real world” (Isin 2002, p. 49). Space is crucial to the creation, embodiment and lived experiences of political subjects. It is in spaces of encounter and struggles that new and old political subjectivities are contested and resisted. Space is not only the neutral background of political struggles. It is actively and strategically used, as tool to disempower abject subjects (Isin and Rygiel 2007), but also as a resource for enacting new scripts of activist citizens, not only through contestation but also through solidarity (Isin and Nielsen 2008). At the same time, space is constituted by political struggles and forms of citizenship, affecting the ways in which new political subjects come to emerge, for instance traversing and interstitial spaces can generate opportunities to rethink political subjectivities (Isin 2012).
This one-day conference aims to bring together postgraduate students working on issues of politics and space, territory and borders as sites of struggles, control, contestation, resistance and solidarity among political subjects. We also encourage papers based upon collaborative and participatory research.
More details here.