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Living in the city means living with strangers. These strangers are others who we are not familiar with personally, but often also socially. In our everyday lives we move from our neighborhood to workplaces and leisure activities, spend time in public and semi-public spaces, such as streets, public transportation, parks, cafes, bars, gyms, and day-care centers, and eventually go back to our homes again. We spend time with people we know intimately; families and friends; and somewhat intimately, workmates, acquaintances and colleagues. We tend to identify with others who are like us in some significant ways. But we encounter or share space with many more who are of other ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexual orientation or religion to mention a few. We mingle with strangers. Sometimes and in some places we seek for this diversity.
But how does this impact our sense of belonging? We feel intimate belonging in our personal communities and if we don’t, it is an issue. We might feel at home with others who share our kind of life. We may actively take part in the public life of the city or more passively just hang out. How does this mingling with strangers shape our sense of belonging? Under what circumstances may feeling at home in public space with strangers affect deeper sense of belonging? How might this make boundaries of belonging more permeable? Is the path to belonging with diverse people getting more familiar or extending the boundaries of belonging? Or does tolerance of strangers stay in islands of civility, not affecting deeper dynamics of belonging.
This public event is a conversation between the members of the Belonging Today Working Group and Elijah Anderson (Yale University), the author of Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (Norton, 2012). Kaisa Ketokivi, Sylvie Tissot and Iddo Tavory welcome you to join this conversation at the Institute for Public Knowledge.
About the Speakers:
Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University. He is one of the leading urban ethnographers in the United States. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology; and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). In this event Elijah will talk about his most recent ethnographic work, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, was published by WW Norton in March 2012.)
Kaisa Ketokivi works as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Helsinki. She is a Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge, NYU, where she is a founding member and organizer of Belonging Today – Working Group, a forum for recurring conversations, inspiration and collaboration between scholars on the topic of belonging and its transformations in the contemporary world. Kaisa’s research draws from a dialogue between social theory and qualitative research on contemporary lives. She the author of “Sharing the same fate” (European Societies 2009) and of “The Intimate Couple, Family and the Relational Organization of Close Relationships” (Sociology 2012) among other ones. Currently, she is working on relational methodology, the notion of belonging and beginning a cross-cultural study of the local bonds and boundaries of belonging in three urban communities in Helsinki, Madrid and New York (Park Slope).
Sylvie Tissot a Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris-8; she has previously served as a visiting scholar at the Center for European Studies (Harvard University) and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (New York University). Her research has focused on urban reform and the upper classes, with particular interest in impoverished areas in France and gentrified neighborhoods in the United States. Her new book De bons voisins (Good Neighbors. Researching Upper Middle Class Progressives, 2011) and her article, "On Dogs and Men: The Making of Spatial Boundaries in a Gentrifying Neighborhood" (City and Community, 2011) are based on her fieldwork on gentrification in Boston. A member of the editorial board of Pierre Bourdieu's Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, she has co-directed several issues on urban space for the journal. She has also written on Simone de Beauvoir (Le Monde Diplomatique, 2008) as well as religion and politics (Public Culture, 2001). Her current research studies upper middle class residents in two gentrified neighborhoods, Park Slope (New York City) and Le Marais (Paris), evaluating the role of "gay-friendly" attitudes in the development of social class and urban space.
Iddo Tavory is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The New School. He is writing a book “Summoned: Attachment and Religious Life in an Orthodox Jewish Neighborhood”. Iddo is interested in the ways in which interactions are patterned and how such patterns shape the way people experience themselves and the world around them. In addition to his book project, he is also conducting research in Malawi, working on AIDS humor in everyday life, as well as the careers of NGO volunteers in comparative perspective. Drawing on observations in these fieldsites, he has also written about the logic of qualitative methods and more theoretical accounts of morality, flirtation, and temporality in interaction. His work has appeared in journals like Sociological Theory, Theory and Society, Ethnography and American Sociological Review.