Home > Congressos, Cursos e Eventos > The Political Economy of Cities – Society for Economic Anthropology Meeting – March 22-24, 2012

The Political Economy of Cities – Society for Economic Anthropology Meeting – March 22-24, 2012

10 October, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments


Society for Economic Anthropology Annual Meeting

22-24 March 2012 – San Antonio, Texas

See Also: https://seawiki.wikidot.com/annual-meeting

Program Chairs: Dolores Koenig (dkoenig@american.edu) and Ty Matejowsky (Ty.Matejowsky@ucf.edu)



THEME: The Political Economy of Cities


Throughout history the economic growth, decline, and resurgence of urban centers has been variously affected by political developments. The morphology of cities has followed ideological ideas about the role and function of urban centers, often consciously put into place by local, state, and colonial leaders. This annual meeting will explore the impacts of the political economy underlying the growth and development of cities on the lived experiences of urbanites. How do these policies affect the ability of city residents to earn reasonable livings? How do they facilitate or discourage the creation of local structures to create meaningful lives? How does the environmental impact of dense urban populations restrain or modulate city growth?

We are especially interested in the ways that various political economies encourage or discourage the movement of specific urban groups. In deep history, political leaders increased urban populations by encouraging artisans and traders to establish themselves locally and increasing labor availability through practices like slavery. They created neighborhoods with specific functions and purposes, many of which were associated with particular ethnic groups. In more recent history, governments created ghettos or ethnic enclaves within urban centers and discouraged city growth through tools such as urban residence permits. Today, political instruments such as zoning regulations, planned development initiatives, and slum rehabilitation programs all constrain or mediate economic activities and population movements into and within urban centers.

These topics have been studied in various ways by archaeologists, socio-cultural anthropologists, and economists. Thus, economic anthropology offers a valuable perspective to understand these issues as the discipline is concerned with the interplay of urbanism, political economy, cultural identity, social change, and development within past and present local contexts.

Among the issues that this meeting hopes to address are the following:

Urban planning over time:

            What specific tools and strategies have political leaders used to encourage and discourage urban growth and economic activities in different times and places?

            In what ways have political leaders attempted to create specific urban forms? To what extent do these forms facilitate the integration or the separation of different urban groups (e.g., occupational groups, ethnic groups)?

            To what extent have decision makers invoked the political and economic explicitly? To what extent have they used religious, ideological, or socio-cultural reasons?

            How effective have these planning measures been? To what extent have leaders faced unanticipated consequences, such as environmental degradation or ethnic violence? To what extent have ordinary urban residents attempted to create their own sense of meaning and place, distinct from that of elites or leaders?

            How have these forms of growth and planning affected the lives of urban residents?

Voluntary movement to/from and within cities:

            What strategies have political leaders used to encourage migration to or from urban enclaves/districts and the placement of groups in particular neighborhoods – in different times and places? These might include strategies such as: providing neighborhoods for long-distance traders, resources and markets for artisans, advertisements of jobs, gentrification.

            To what extent have these strategies been effective in creating the kinds of urban centers envisaged by leaders?

            To what extent have urbanites used voluntary movement to, from, or within cities to create more meaningful lives and better living standards?

            To what extent have forms of voluntary movement within cities led to greater integration and/or differentiation among different urban groups? For example, to what extent do forms of voluntary movement exacerbate or assuage local class or ethnic distinctions?

Forced movement to/from and within cities:

            What strategies have been used to forcibly move populations to, from, or within cities? These might include: bringing slaves to newly formed urban centers, compelling certain ethnic groups to reside in particular neighborhoods, zoning regulations that prohibit certain occupations, urban renewal, development projects that require community resettlement.

            To what extent have these strategies been effective in creating the kinds of cities envisaged by leaders?

            Much existing literature suggests that forced movement is usually detrimental to those forced to resettle; their standards of living decrease and their cultural lives are significantly disrupted. Are forced movements of these kinds ever justified? If so, in what ways can their impacts be made less disruptive?

            What are the long-term political and socioeconomic consequences of these kinds of moves on the descendants of these resettled populations?

These questions are especially important as the world’s population of 6.7 billion is now on verge of becoming predominantly urban. Today, all the continents have or soon will have 50% urban populations. Anthropology, with its knowledge of both past and present forms of urban growth, offers viable frameworks for understanding the enduring aspects of these issues.


Please Send Abstracts:

The Society for Economic Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to discuss important issues through its focused program composed of plenary sessions with dedicated discussion to each paper. Each presenter will have 20-25 minutes to present a paper, which is followed immediately by 15-20 minutes of discussion.

We welcome abstracts of papers (approximately 200-250 words) on the conference topic.

An equally important part of its annual conference is its engaging poster session. In addition to posters on the conference theme, the SEA welcomes posters on any topic related to economic anthropology. Students and scholars whose work may not fit the central theme of the meeting are encouraged to submit a poster. The inclusive poster session is a major event of each year’s SEA conference.

Please submit abstracts, for either paper or panel session, to the program chairs, Dolores Koenig (dkoenig@american.edu) and Ty Matejowsky (Ty.Matejowsky@ucf.edu) by October 31, 2011.


Meeting City:

The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas with Richard Reed (Trinity University) serving as Local Arrangements Coordinator. San Antonio, a historic North American city formed around five 18th century missions, is now undergoing urban growth oriented around mixed use development in the municipal core and the integration of the contemporary city with the older missions. Thus, it is a great place to have a meeting focused on the political economy of cities. Moreover San Antonio will be fun, with great weather and amenities. The hotel is next to the city’s famous Riverwalk, with numerous shops, music venues, restaurants, museums and art galleries.




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