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The Immigrant's Right to the City

Part 1 Dissertation 2015
Alice Meyer
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London UK
The term globalization is riddled with contradictions. We can be virtually connected and engaged in a non-physical communication with people on the opposite side of the globe, or travel long distances while calling ourselves cosmopolitan ‘citizen of the world’. But we are unable to recognise the potential of the diversity already existing in our cities, the possibility of physical social networks in the urban realm.

In this paper, I will consider Italian cities as urban laboratories analysing the role of the immigrant in order to uncover the economical, social and more importantly spatial qualities that can activate unused, public and run-down space. The theoretical framework of my dissertation will be based on Henri Lefebvre's Right to the City, the geographer and social theorist David Harvey, and the concept of agonism by the political theorist Chantal Mouffe.

The issues caused by globalisation may be readdressed through the concept of cosmopolitanism by the anthropologist Ulf Hannerz. Cosmopolitanism is seen as ‘a willingness to engage with the Other’ as something that ‘entails an intellectual and esthetic openness towards divergent cultural experiences, a search for contrasts rather than uniformity,’ (Hannerz, 1996 : 103).

Alice Meyer

Shumi Bose
Gunter Gassner
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