Texte intégral

During the last years of the millennium a new world and city era has been heralded. A new cycle prompted by the information technology revolution is transforming in dramatic ways our understanding of cities. Urbanization has gained a new and different kind of centrality and has become a reinvigorated source of anxieties, moral tales and great expectations. The cycle we have entered seems to be dominated by paradoxical forces. On the one hand, the rate of urbanization in former industrial communities is  declining; on the other hand, it is accelerating in most underdeveloped countries. It is widely agreed that such transformations are having two consequences: first, our concern has shifted from the problems generated by World overpopulation to the problems posed by the emergence of new and allegedly different urban milieux; second, this accelerated evolution seems to be constituting a universal city, or Ecumenopolis, composed of hierarchically ordered urban forms and urban societies.

Cities are shaped by the world economy. It is widely believed that the nation-state is being replaced by the city as the principal domain of citizenship, whereby the city appears to be a reinvigorated and transformed citizenship-moulding arena. The city has gained an unexpected role in the configuration of bounded identities upon specific urban spaces.

There are also moral narratives of the city. Whereas in many instances the  ?Urban Boom? in the ?South? is  portrayed as a risk to sustainable development, the city of the ?North? is challenged by its new configuration and future. An in-depth understanding of these new challenges must take into account cities multiplicities, as ways of life composed ofthousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of independent decisions, which make common sense to people?s daily lives, routines, modes of production and survival strategies that shape, and are shaped by, the cities and make them not only complex mirrors of modern life, but also densely populated socio-spatial realms of human interaction.

Anthropological insight into urban life helps us to understand these urban processes and, particularly, brings out the fact that the ways in which scholars, mass-media, and politicians are representing the city has largely ignored citizens? and urban residents? conceptions about their daily lives. The main aim of the Symposium, ?Cities of the  Mediterranean? is to address such issues from the perspective of citizens and urban residents.

Drawing on comparative analysis, the symposium seeks to achieve an understanding of the city in a key area of the world, the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Sea, once portrayed as the cradle of civilization, is a social and cultural space the brings together interrelated case-studies that deserve careful anthropological attention. The Symposium is aware of the encompassing nature, south to north and north to south, of urban experience along the shores of the Mediterranean, of the gateway and node functions of its urban settings, now composed of littoral societies and new communities. Some of these new communities are conglomerations of ?invisible? immigrants from NorthernEurope, who are generally regarded as tourists or retired foreigners. Others are made up by what the media have portrayed as menacing immigrants from Africa. The Northern and  Southern shores of the Mediterranean are both symbolical and lived dimensions of the area. They are spotted with cities that have undergone interrelated and individually different processes of modernization. ?Cities of the Mediterranean? will focus on the multiple nature of the current Mediterranean cities: its varied modernities, the reach and specific features of cosmopolitanism as well as the impact of economic neoliberalism, millennial capitalism, religious belief. It will look at the social and cultural dimensions of the Mediterranean cities understood as ways of life, devices of social stratification, economic redistribution and political control, as well as cityscapes of hybridity, conflict and human creation.

Areas of Interest. The Symposium will pay special attention to:

-Sociolinguistics of the Mediterranean Cities


-Intercultural Issues

-New Urban Waterfronts

The convenors warmly encourage session  proposals and individual paper proposals related to the aims of the Symposium. Those interested in organizing a session would also be required to send a brief draft of their proposal, a short bio and an estimate number of participants (a list of perspective participants would be welcomed). PLEASE NOTE, THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM AIMS AT PROMOTING DEBATE AND INTERACTION AMONG PARTICIPANTS, AS OPPOSED TO A MERE READING OF PAPERS.

Sociolinguistics of the Mediterranean Cities :

The session devoted to ?Sociolinguistics of the Mediterranean Cities? is convened and organized by the Institute of Islamic and Near East Studies (University of Zaragoza, Spanish Council for Scientific Research, CSIC, Parliament of Aragon, Spain). There is no doubt that the steep increase in migration movements has brought about a more intense linguistic exchange among different peoples. Such phenomenon, directly related to the increased human contact, has generated  new linguistic dimensions that should be addressed.

Mediterranean cities are undoubtedly among the privileged spaces of language interaction.

Those interested in organizing sessions on Sociolinguistics should contact:

Dra. Ãngeles Vicente mavicen@unizar.es

The Symposium is hosted and organized by the University of Cadiz, all the activities will be held in Cadiz. The city of Cadiz and its University are ideally located for an event of this magnitude.

More information, including deadlines for session proposals, paper proposals, travel and accommodation arrangements, and particulars on the Institutions involved in this event will be posted in due time. A web page will be announced as soon as possible.

Those interested in receiving information regarding this Symposium should contact Dr Fernando Monge : fmonge@ih.csic.es