RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


‘On edge’ in the city: precarious urban lives

Research Group Affiliation(s)
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Urban Geography Research Group
Recent work on mobility, care, mental health and homelessness has promoted a performative, practice-oriented understanding of the urban everyday for psychologically vulnerable persons in precarious life situations. This perspective addresses, on the one hand, the logics and effects of policies aiming to govern these urban lives and, on the other, the situated urban practices of persons with serious health or affective problems, but suggests a focus beyond a simple binary of structural control and agentic resistance. This does not mean that issues of domination and exclusion or processes of categorisation and subjectification, central to previous work, have been discarded, but rather that inquiry has been opened up to new dimensions. The role of atmospheres (Adey et al. 2013) or assemblages of care (Lancione 2014; Duff 2016), alongside renewed conceptions of dwelling or ‘niching’ (Bister et al. 2016), have come to the fore, often through the use of innovative non-representational methodologies. Furthermore, the ambivalence, contradictions and diversity of state policies regarding marginalised social groups - questioning accounts of a monolithic punitive or disciplining State - have also been highlighted (DeVerteuil 2014).
Concerned with these recent developments in studies of precarious urban lives, our session aims to identify convergences and divergences between conceptual framings, fieldwork methodologies and empirical findings across recent studies of different marginalised urban social groups.
We welcome submissions on any aspect of this broad area, but would particularly encourage papers on:

• Urban ethnographies of mental health, homelessness, disability and movement
• Being on edge in urban places
• Lived experience of psychosis and delusion in urban places
• Cities as locations for governing fractured lives
• Urban mobilities as precarious mobilities
• The role of care (landscapes, networks, atmospheres) in precarious lives
• Urban geographies of stress and disruption
• Strategies and spaces of recovery from precarity
• Urban state policies (including international comparisons) and precarity
• Urban design and precarious living
• NGOs and mediating precarious lives

Adey, P., Brayer, L., Masson, D., Murphy, P., Simpson, P., Tixier, N., 2013. ‘Pour votre tranquillité’: Ambiance, atmosphere, and surveillance. Geoforum 49, 299-309.
Bister, M., Klausner, M., Niewöhner, J., 2016. The cosmopolitics of ‘niching’. Rendering the city habitable along infrastructures of mental health care, in: Blok, A., Farias, I. (Eds.), Urban Cosmopolitics. Agencements, assemblies, atmospheres. Routledge, London (forthcoming).
DeVerteuil, G., 2014. Does the punitive need the supportive? A sympathetic critique of current grammars of urban injustice. Antipode 46, 874-893.
Duff, C., 2016. Atmospheres of recovery: assemblages of health. Environment and Planning A, 48(1) 58–74
Lancione, M., 2014. Assemblages of care and the analysis of public policies on homelessness in Turin, Italy. City 18, 25-40.
Instructions for Authors
Potential presenters should send their name, affiliation, and a 250-word abstract to: ola.soderstrom@unine.ch The deadline for abstract submissions is: 12th of February 2016
Call For Papers Deadline
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