RESTLESS CITIES: Solidarity, conflict and struggle in the context of displacement, immigration and security politics

Human mobility is getting unprecedentedly fast and vast in numbers within cities, across countries, and even continents. “Glocal” wars, climate changes and new political, ethnic or religious conflicts generate a massive immigration flux, giving birth to various experiences of border crossing, multiple forms of inhabiting a city, and neighboring with “the other”. On the other hand, the turmoil of socio-spatial transformations in urban areas, which are reinforced by zero-tolerance policies of eviction and chain displacements through gentrification, increase the physical and psychological distance between people and generate a sense of “restlessness” in its multiple senses.

Latest dangerous clashes in the Middle East region have resulted in the most critical immigration crisis since the Second World War. Although the effects of this crisis have still not been fully anticipated, it is clear that politics of dealing with the socio-spatial repercussions of this pressing reality will be one of the major topics related to urban areas. These enforced mobilities within or across urban areas have become a prominent motif defining global human geography today, arousing a constant feeling of temporariness, rootlessness, insecurity and “restlessness” in local urban populations as well as the new denizens of cities.

This leads us to contemplate on the existing zones of “comfort” sustained through defined social, psychological, cultural and symbolic borders, imaginary and/or physical. While states are forcing violent measures through laws and legislations as well as policing technologies to keep these borders, these guarded and fortified zones are constantly shaken/shattered by multiple forms of social mobilizations in defense of “public interest” and “the right to the city” as well as migration flows. New spatial practices are negotiated as everyday urban practices, new subjectivities and vocabularies meet, clash and combine in cities of the so-called North and South. Tendencies of seeking for safety through gated housing areas, privatized public spaces, politics of territorial enclosure and security policies are insufficient in establishing “security” in the real sense of the word.

In this session we would like to invite papers, which will offer a comparative and critical analysis of:

  • different stories of displacement and emplacement that continuously emerge in the uncertain, volatile and precarious environment of urban areas;
  • diverse forms of “restlessness” that reveal themselves in the urban context of constant temporariness and mobility;
  • “potentials of restlessness” in producing different forms of solidarity and struggle; and
  • a new pedagogy of sharing urban space in the context of displacement, immigration and security politics.

Asuman Turkun, Yildiz Technical University asu.turkun@gmail.com

Beril Sonmez, Yildiz Technical University berilso@gmail.com