This chapter explores the transformations of anti-racist discourses, practices and alliances over the last several years through the case of two neighbourhoods in Madrid. Bridging the fields of urban studies on the one hand and migration, racism and anti-racism studies on the other, the aim of the chapter is to show how changes in the types of activism and changes in the city are interconnected. A qualitative methodology was employed involving face-to-face and social media participant observation, as well as semi-structured in-depth interviews. The structure of the chapter is as follows: firstly, the study is placed within the framework of theoretical debates on racism and anti-racism, with special emphasis on the Spanish context. Secondly, the perspectives on racialisation, belonging, ethnicity and activism are connected to the analysis of urban space at the neighbourhood level. This contextualisation allows me to present the case studies of the two specific neighbourhoods, Lavapiés and Usera, which represent different problematics and different forms of activist organisation around the right to the city. In addition, a third activist and spatial context connects neighbourhoods and activist experiences by drawing attention to a new stage and forms of anti-racist organising by migrants and racialised people. In this way, the chapter aims to draw attention to the ways that institutional and economic urban violence take very different expressions for white Spaniards and for migrant and racialised people and affects them in very different ways in their life trajectories and struggle for living with dignity in the neighbourhood.
This chapter deals with some of the registers of colonial amnesia that compose the Parisian landscapes. In response to the politics of selective memory, or what I propose to call the ‘world heritage regime’, I map a transcontinental approach to urban planning. My analysis links Frantz Fanon’s and Françoise Vergès’ decolonial and feminist critiques of the racialisation of the city with Reinhart Koselleck’s critique of war memorials, which suggests that no national memory can be neutral. Thereby, I seek to recontextualise the category of heritage in its colonial/modern history and to resituate the places of global significance (heritage sites) within a transcontinental cartography. For this aim, I engage in a reconstruction of the history of Paris through its entanglements with the colonies first during the world exposition of 1889, and secondly in the planning of the banlieues and the cities of Algiers and Rabat. In the conclusion, Paris’s urban history is intertwined with French colonial history to situate the banlieues as a monument of (post)colonial legacy and decolonial memory. This reconstruction of the history of the city through its historical and geographic margins contribute to the countermapping of the systematic exclusion of racial violence from national and global history, which I identify as a decisive analytical tool for decolonial thought and, more specifically, for a critical decolonial critique of urban planning.
In what other registries and imaginaries might we locate cities along the northern Mediterranean shores that are now thought of as European? This chapter looks at Barcelona and Salonika as Europeanised but not necessarily European cities. In examining their historically diverse urban centres, contact points of migration patterns and more recently sites of migrant settlement, we try to provide insight into different approaches to migrant claims to and contestations of both the cityscapes and their embedded memories. Eurocentric readings and makings of these cities have flattened out or erased their not-so-European urban and social fabric. Situated in decolonial de-linking and divesting from the ways in which these cities are moulded and modelled in Eurocentric epistemologies and imaginaries, this chapter looks at migrant and queer of colour politics and historicity that circumvent the pressure and strengthening of ethnic, racial, national, and post-national European mythologies by identifying with the city and its neighbourhoods while producing multicentred and intersectional narratives and spaces of belonging, becoming that de-Europeanise urban space.
Unmasking coloniality/modernity and ‘imperial difference’ in post (real)socialist urban sites of remembrance
Miriam Friz Trzeciak and Manuel Peters
This chapter reflects on strategies for decolonising the post(real)socialist city in the present and future. Inspired by the demands of postcolonial and decolonial urban initiatives, we trace three sites of remembrance in Cottbus, Germany. Highlighting the complex ways of how (real)socialist modernity was involved in the reproduction of the ‘coloniality of power’, we uncover different processes of social hierarchisation and classification that have shaped the urban context. At the same time, we reflect on the critical potential that (real)socialism offered against colonial orders and relations. We conceptualise the different facets of modernity/coloniality in the urban post(real)socialist space as urban ‘imperial difference’. Uncovering urban sites of remembrance that reflect the colonial legacy of (real)socialism in their meaning for the transformed society of Germany today, however, means making explicit the profound processes of racial hierarchisation and exclusion in the city.
European cities: modernity, race and colonialism is a multidisciplinary collection of scholarly studies that sets out to rethink urban Europe from a race-conscious perspective, reflexively and critically aware of colonial entanglements and what came to be known as ‘‘modernity’’. The twelve original contributions engage various combinations of urban studies, postcolonial, decolonial and race critical theories. The results are empirical and theoretical analyses critically centring on the multiple ways in which race partakes in the production of urban space in the twenty-first-century former metropole. European cities across the East–West divide get in this way decentred and detached from dominant Eurocentric analyses and (self-)representations; viewed from global and historical perspectives, their aura of alleged ‘‘modernity’’ leaves the proscenium to offer the reader an opportunity to start imagining and understanding urban living and politics otherwise. After decades of rigorous critical race scholarship on various global urban regions, European cities is a comprehensive attempt to squarely centre race in analyses of urban Europe. The book may appeal to all students and learners both within and outside academia; scholars; activists; journalists; and policy makers interested in urban life, governance, planning, racism, Europe and colonialism.
This introduction sets out to explain the rationale of our edited volume and to introduce the eleven contributions included in the volume. In the first part, we lay out what seem to us as the two main limitations of Social Sciences scholarship on ‘The European City’, namely the silence on colonialism and the history of race, and the relegation of Eastern European urbanism to area studies. After discussing at length these two limitations, we underline the overall contribution of our book that we identify in establishing three thus-far missing connections. The first missing connection is between historical studies of colonialism and the twenty-first-century Sociology of urban Europe; the second connection is between contemporary studies of the relevance of race in urban Europe, and a lack of attention on race in theories of European urbanism. The third missing connection is between established theories of Eastern European cities and the scholarship on ‘Balkanism’ and the ‘East–West slope’. We then explain how the edited volume contributes to establish these three connections before presenting a summary of each chapter.
The European city is often presented as role model in contemporary urban policies, literature and architecture. In this chapter, I explore ways in which the very idea of a 'European city' caters to parochial imaginations of the urban, resonating with racist and white supremacist narratives. Conceptually, I draw on territorio as a political term, as discussed in Latin America-based literature and activism. Employing empirical examples from Germany and Italy, I apply a socio-territorial lens to the urban. Aspects of the ‘European city's’ territorialised character and its appeal to identitarian actors become apparent in replicas of 'historical' facades in Berlin, Frankfurt and Dresden, as much as in emblematic writings by key urban scholars. In Venice, Rome and other Italian cities, there are similar parochial resonances in urban decorum policies, a particular type of urban regulation rooted in Othering. By tracing some of the outlines of colonial continuities in the production of urban space and urban knowledge through a socio-territorial lens, this chapter puts the 'European city' in relation.
Disciplines have myths of origin, canonical accounts that, far from being innocuous, form and mould how bodies of knowledge exist, operate and reproduce themselves today. Their (hi)stories should not be taken as given, but one should rather ask which voices are being privileged and which ones are rendered as non-relevant, since past silences echo in present times and in present tensions. By examining the racial contours of urban policies in the Portuguese context, it became evident how debates on race and racism were absent from academic knowledge production in Urban Studies, and particularly in Urban Anthropology. Despite the proliferation of academic works on peripheralised territories in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area – mostly inhabited by black and Roma populations and particularly subjected to State surveillance and repression – there were practically no debates on institutional racism nor violence. This chapter is a journey through several cities, (public) libraries, books and authors. It is a journey to understand why Urban Anthropology has been evading race and racism as a possible lens to understand urban segregation and inequalities. As I argue, these silences are a refraction of a more deep-rooted racist assumption about who and what is considered to be a worthwhile and pertinent subject of science. In short, I show how epistemic silences are indeed issues that reveal the persistence of epistemic apartheid (Rabaka, 2010) that has been silencing both black authorship and racism, thereby leaving racial residential segregation unchallenged.
Convivial boundary-making in post-Ottoman, socialist and divided Mitrovica
This chapter contributes to urban studies of conviviality from and within the perspective of the Balkans. It argues that some of the difficulties related to analysing the concurrence of convivial encounter and racialised division speak to the Eurocentric character of studies of conviviality in super-diverse cities in the Global West. The chapter provincialises urban theorising on conviviality and related concepts through a thick historical analysis of the sociospatial composition of Mitrovica in Kosovo, an exemplary divided city in the Balkans. Instead of approaching the city as a regionally distinctive and not quite European case of ethnic division, the chapter identifies various modes in which conviviality and division are co-constituted in Mitrovica’s modern history. After a brief introduction of the case study, the chapter analyses bottom-up transgressive practices in the contemporary divided city to present a critical reading of conviviality studies. The chapter then engages with memories of everyday multiculture in post-Ottoman Mitrovica. Drawing on insights from Ottoman urban studies, it shows that conviviality functions as a constitutive part of urban systems of inequality, hierarchy and exclusion. The chapter finally applies these insights to analyse concomitant processes of conviviality and ethnic boundary-making under socialist urbanisation.
Hyperreal urban modernity in nineteenth-century Buenos Aires
The chapter discusses the nexus of industrialisation and urbanisation with modernity through the analysis of debates among elites in the 1860s and 1870s in Buenos Aires. It examines a pivotal controversy concerning industry that occurred when a series of epidemics struck Buenos Aires. The dispute revolved around the presence in the city of meat-salting factories, which were considered among the possible causes of disease. Against this background, elites debated the role of industry in cities and its connection with imaginaries of urban modernity, especially as it was articulated alongside the opposition of progress and backwardness. The chapter combines insights from postcolonial studies and global history with dependency theory. Deconstructing the inclination to consider Latin American elites as entirely subjugated to European and North American imperialism, the analysis underlines their ambivalent position vis-à-vis the discourses of European modernity. The chapter underlines the agency of Buenos Aires’ elites, whose desires and projects were deeply rooted in their local context. At the same time, drawing inspiration from dependency theory, the chapter highlights how the imagination of Buenos Aires’ elites developed within the constraints of the hegemony of what I designate a ‘hyperreal’ European urban modernity. Focusing on the specific case of industry, the chapter shows both the locally rooted character and the Eurocentrism of the desires of local elites. The chapter shows the ambiguous character of Eurocentrism and questions one of the main features of the Eurocentric discourse of urban modernity, the nexus between industrialisation and urbanisation.