Cfp: Violence in Urban Spaces since the Second Half of the Twentieth
Century: Comparative, Transnational and Entangled Perspectives
Main session at the 11th International Conference on Urban History,
Prague, 29 August until 1 September 2012
Violence has become one of the major threats to urban societies.
Although it is true that cities have a long history of breeding
violence, the international upheavals of the late 1960s have intensified
the threats associated with urban violence. The wave of urban protests
which evolved since the 1980s but also the manifold urban unrests in the
cities of Africa and in the Americas of the early 21st century added
emphasis to these threats. This collective violence mostly originated
from two sources: from urban social movements (M. Castells, City and the
Grassroots, 1983) and from urban youth groups/gangs.
The reasons for this intensification of the perception and/or of the
practise of urban violence are not well researched. The related
scholarly debates (in Western Europe) mainly focus on three processes:
the final breakthrough of mass consumer society (Z. Bauman, Consuming
Life, 2007), the changing culture of control (D. Garland, Culture of
Control, 2001) and the transition from industrial to urban society (H.
Lefèbvre, La revolution urbaine, 1972 ).
Against this background, the main session aims at bringing together
studies which not mainly focus on single protest events but try to put
them into broader, especially comparative, transnational or entangled
perspectives. Contributions can be made not only by historians but also
by scholars active in Sociology, Ethnography, Criminology, Architecture,
Following the latest innovative studies in the field of violence
research, we would highly welcome contributions which see violence as a
pattern of communication, which could include physical as well as
symbolic violence. Contributors should also be aware that urban space is
not only shaped by buildings, roads, and other tactile objects but also
by actions, perceptions and imaginations of various actors such as
representatives of public authorities (among them the police), media,
experts, inhabitants (divided by gender, ethnicity and social strata).
Urban space was (and is) therefore never a given fact but always a
contested notion, open for actions, imaginations, and changes.
In order to give the main session a better coherence, we are especially
interested in papers which in comparative / transnational /entangled
perspective focus on at least one of the following five key dimensions
of collective violence:
Urban: Which influences did urban restructuring and imaginations of
urban space have on collective violence? What were the typical urban
elements of these acts of collective violence?
Aims: What were the aims and motives of these acts of collective
violence: Did they aim more at identity formation (be it based on ethnic
or gender aspects) or more at fostering social or political change?
- State: Which role was played by which state institutions in the handling
of these acts of collective violence and which tactics were employed by
state institutions (especially the police) in fighting these acts of
Transfers: Which transnational influences / flows of ideas were
discernible, relating to the patterns of collective violence, its media
coverage and in fighting collective urban violence?
Media: Which role was played by the media in the communicative processes initiated by acts of collective violence?
Please submit paper proposals (max 500 Words, English or French) and a
one page CV not later than 1 October 2011 to both organizers:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Weinhauer, Bielefeld University, Faculty of History,
Universitätsstraße 25, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany,
Dr. Chris Quispel, Leiden University, Institute for History, Johan Huizingagebouw,
Doelensteeg 16, NL-2311 VL Leiden,The Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org.