Biennial-touched-100image WEDNESDAY 27 October, 18.30 at Biennial Visitor Centre
Touched Talk by AbdouMaliq Simone – Making an Urban Majority. Touched Talks are FREE but booking is essential – click here to book tickets

Making an Urban Majority

While the “postcolonial” “South” may have been governed through complex urban spaces into specific configurations of entities—individuals, ethnicities, cultural zones, households—the vehicles through which life could be enacted in ways that simultaneously could be subsumed to rule and regulation and circumvent them have relied upon an  “in-between”– in provisional “collections” of effort, recognition, and acting “in concert.” A critical aspect of urbanization is thus the constant remaking of associations and ensembles–among those people and things that constitute the “formal” entities of visibility, administration, labor markets, and citizenship—as lived supplements to everyday life in workplaces, institutions, and household.  Capital may largely define and shape the game; the game may give rise to densities of relations and provide instrument to sort through, account for, and regulate those densities; but densities themselves open the possibilities of tricks, fractures, asides, and circulations not easily ordered.   The “majority” of residents in the “urban” “Global South” seem to largely live through such supplement.  Neither comprehensively dispossessed, displaced, or enrolled in official labor or property markets—yet nevertheless, maintained in highly circumscribed possibilities of accumulation and political subjectivity—the “majority” sustains at least the semblance of viable urban life.

AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist and Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London. In his latest book, City Life from Djakarta to Dakar. Movements at the crossroads (2010), he describes the surprising ecologies of everyday life in some of the fastest-growing urban centres in the world. What happens when bodies, materials and affect intersect in these global cities of the South broadens our understanding of what cities are and could be. This is not to say the direction of change has shifted, rather that urban development today is part of the global circulation of ideas and stories of what is possible to do in cities. In and among ducking and diving is imagination and resilience and an acute sense that difference and diversity are critical if, in future, people in cities are to thrive.

Venue: Biennial Visitor Centre (52 renshaw street, L1 4PN)