Global South Lecture Series | Anna Steigemann (Regensburg) - The City of the 21st Century, Mobile Spatial Practices, and Glocal Spatial Knowledge: A Spatial Sociology for Multi-Scalar Area Studies
Anna Steigemann | CITAS, University of Regensburg
The City of the 21st Century, Mobile Spatial Practices, and Glocal Spatial Knowledge: A Spatial Sociology for Multi-Scalar Area Studies
The City of the 21st century is characterized by globalization, translocalism, and multiple time-space entanglements. Increasing social and spatial inequality, migration and new mobilities, the global financial crisis, and environmental destruction are among the major global developments of the recent years that increasingly shape local social life and spatializing processes. Simultaneously, cities and regions are also the arenas for local negotiation and management of these global processes and challenges.
But the city of the 21st century is also a city ‘of the South,’ where these processes and challenges have been the norm for decades and where important concepts and theories originate that help to explain and negotiate this processes, also in the global North.
This lecture thus provides an introduction to how critical Area Studies could embrace the so-called global South as the epicenter of urbanism and of new glocal temporal-spatial entanglements. It provides a starting point for discussing how a knowledge transfer of ‘theories of the South’ to the so-called global North helps to explain many socio-spatial transformation processes there.
The second part of the lecture focuses on refugees, as the most mobile social groups of the 21st century, and their spatial practices. The analysis of their socio-spatial transformation, trying to make themselves at home in new places of asylum, reveals important insights into how global processes affect local social and spatial processes and vice versa. Hence, with the example case of Syrian refugees’ spatial practices and appropriation processes in Berlin, the lecture argues for new approaches for multi-perspective, multi-scalar, and critical Area Studies that consider spatial and social change not as isolated and hermetically sealed off from other disciplines, but rather as a complex, multidisciplinary, highly dynamic, globally informed and locally situated process.