AAG Annual meeting 2013, in LA

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From tomorrow I will take part to the Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Los Angeles. I will present in a session called “Geophilosophy and planes of urban experience” and I will be act as discussant in another session, called “Between the Punitive and the Supportive I: Urban Social Policy’s ‘Messy Middle Ground‘.

In the first I’ll be presenting a paper called “Walking the creative and diverse city”. The paper reflects around some initial founding of the investigation that I am undertaking on the “Goods Line” project in Sydney. The aim of this work is to critically confront the topic of the “creative city”, and to highlight issues of diversity related to it. Moreover, the paper introduces a particular take on the Deleuzian-Guattarian notion of “abstract machine”, understood as analytical device able to grasp the subtle dynamics related to urban redevelopment projects such the one investigated.

In the second session I have been invited by Gordon MacLeod (University of Durham) and Geoff DeVerteuil (University of Southampton) to comment on the papers that will be presented. This intervention is related to my research on homelessness.

 

How is the city – A Lecture

I have been invited by Dr Jochen Schweitzer to deliver a lecture on urbanism within its course “The Global Context of Management“. Below you can find my presentation, which spans from NY seen through the eyes of the Wu Tang Clan, to urbanisation issues in China and the Global South. Feel free to quote and re-use. The public link is here.

(To start the presentation, click Start Prezi. It takes one minute to upload, and more to show the background. You can also watch it at the public link reported above. Thanks for your patience)

Homelessness postcards at the Institute of Culture and Society (UWS)

Tomorrow I’ll be presenting my research on homeless people at the Institute of Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney. I am very excited by this presentation – ICS is a great place for Cultural Studies, Geography, and similar matters! I will present after Bob Hodge (quite a challenge!). Here you can download the flyer of the event.

Below you can watch the presentation, which is an expanded and corrected version of the one I did at Macquarie University a few months ago.

UTS Urban Forum

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I have launched a reading/discussion group on the Urban at the University of Technology of Sydney. Here is the website: http://utsurbanforum.wordpress.com

The Urban Forum is an informal reading/discussion group around “the urban”, from many different perspectives: urban transformation, sociology, geography and ethnography, performativity and concepts of urban space, and urban marginalization, are just some of the topics that may be of interest. This website is the platform where we publicise our meetings, which varies from book presentations to other kind of discussions. We will also publicise call for papers, news on recent books and similar. To follow us, you can choose the RSS format, the email digest (to which you can subscribe on the homepage), or Twitter (here).

If you would like to get involved, to suggest a guest for the Forum, or to upload materials to this website, please write to us in the “contact” page.

The Chance of Space

Tomorrow I will be presenting around the notion of “The Chance of Space”, at a workshop in UTS Business School. The presentation fits with my own work around the notion of space. You can watch it below.

The presentation aims to confront “space” itself, as pure matter (a quite ambitious task, indeed, which will be hardly achieved). The hypothesis is that because of loose or too strict understanding of the concept, most of the potential offered by space is not grasped and therefore flushed away. Engaging with the philosophical work of Deleuze and Guattari the presentation proposes a conception of space(time) as pure immanence, from which are derived the spatial contexts where social action is performed. Examples taken from movie theory, practices of recycling, photos experimenting, as well as other eclectic things, will help in claryfing the main point of the presentation: namely that space is never produced but only codified, extracted, and domesticated. Following this, the notion of the “chance of space” is introduced in order to highlight that every context always bear unknown potentialities beneath its codified surface. The concluding reflections argue for the importance of questioning the normative codes at play in the spaces that we practice, in order to release at least part of the revolutionary chances that space (and time) can still offer.

One of the last slides contains a video that I made to further unfold the notion of “The Chance of Space”, using as exemplification some materials taken from the Dr. Chau Chak Wing project. You can watch the video here.

 

 

Postcards from the city of the homeless subject @ Macquarie University

 

 

Tomorrow I will present my work on Homelessness at Macquarie University. Here you can download the flyer of the event, and below you can watch the full presentation (done with Prezi).

More on my research on homelessness, here.

Postcards from the city of the homeless subject

The presentation will begin showing some of the materials collected during a ten months ethnographic fieldwork with homeless people in Turin, Italy. These materials will be presented in forms of interconnected stills, or postcards, picturing the relational entanglements that take place between homeless people and the city. The main aim of the presentation is indeed to blur the canonical distinction between the subject and the city: homeless people are neither only subjects who performs the city (as the “performative” scholarships claim), nor only subjected to the policies of the city (as the “punitive approach” tells), but they constitute their complex and heterogeneous subjectivities with the wider urban environment to which they relate. Engaging with the work of Deleuze and Guattari as well as with critical assemblages thinking, the notion of subjectivity adopted in the research will be sketched and the meaning of the postcards unfolded. In this sense, and through the help of more ethnographic materials, three key-points will be highlighted. First, the role of urban objects in affecting homeless people projects and desires. Second, the role of normative policies in creating negative affective atmosphere for homeless people. Third, the importance of recognizing homeless people own capabilities. The research implications and the political consequences of the proposed approached will be sketched in the final phase of the presentation.

 

People

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Ci frantumiamo contro le aspettative

Negli aeroporti lasciamo loro prendere il volo
Nelle segnaletiche
Duty Free, liberi da ogni obbligazione,
Trainiamo casse da morto
Che una volta aperte dovrebbero
Renderci più presentabili.

Ma in questo bagno tailandese
Lo sfintere di un indiano si apre
E abbraccia un orizzonte comune,

Le gambe delle irlandesi mi parlano

I computer si connettono

E una fotografia scattata per sfregio é una litografia
Di quello che ancora tra le palpebre
ci cade di mano.

Different living in difference: the micro-politics of diversity among homeless people

I will present at the “International Conference on Living with Difference” 12-13 September 2012, Marriott Hotel, Leeds, UK. The paper is titled “Different living in difference. The micro-politics and micro-engineering of diversity among homeless people”, and it is a development of my work on homeless people. You can download the PPT here.

Abstract

This work is based upon an ethnographic enquiry in Turin, North-West of Italy, where the author has investigated homelessness as a subjective condition that emerges from the entanglements between the individual and the city. Taking into account both Italian and migrant homeless subjects, this paper investigates the daily encounter between them, while considering that the two heterogeneous groups are already framed as “different” by mainstream societal discourses. In this sense, the two groups share a stigmatized “common land” (Amin, 2012), where their diversity is constantly re-produced, negotiated and challenged. In order to offer a grounded understanding of these latter processes, the paper takes two paths. The first relates to a description of the practices through which different homeless people perform their common land. Presenting original ethnographic material, the paper shows the relational patterns that emerge in the daily lives of these street people, highlighting how conflicts and alliances depend more on contextual dynamics than personal or group differences. This point is then further explored in the second half of the paper, where the urban, contextual machineries that frame homeless people’s lives are excavated. By showing how mainstream discourses on the poor and the migrants translate into public and private services, the paper argues that it is within these micro-engineered frameworks that a normative kind of difference emerges and becomes an issue. In the end, suggesting a grounded and relational take on difference, this paper concludes by proposing sketches of a politics of care able to tackle the production of normative others, in order to foster the positive negotiation of difference that already exists among homeless people.

Amin, A. 2012. Land of Strangers. Cambridge: Polity press.

 

Business Schools on the edge of the crisis

I will present a paper at the 7th Annual Ethnography Symposium, University of Liverpool, 29th-31st August 2012. Below title and abstract. (This is part of my research on the Dr Chau Chak Wing project of UTS Business School, click here for more info). To download the presentation, click here.

“The global, the local and the production of territory. Or: How a Business School creates (new?) organizational patterns to answer to (old?) neoliberal crisis”

Abstract
This paper poses a central question: how do “local” territories emerge in the globalized world in time of crisis, and how in particular does this relate to the process of change undertaken by many Business School around the world? In order to answer, the paper re-works canonical understandings of globalization and presents the outcome of a seven month ethnographic fieldwork, which focuses on the process of change currently undertaken by UTS’ Business School. The outcomes of this research are essentially three. Firstly, it provides a fluid and topologically tuned understanding of how territories are produced in the current global economy. Secondly, it unfolds the process of change undertaken by the School, revealing both its rationale and most nuanced dynamics. Thirdly, the paper identifies three movements in the production of territory: aligning, translating and opening. The three forms the “ATOm” schematization proposed at the end of the work, which offers the analytical standpoint from which it is possible to critique the neoliberal rationale underpinning Business Schools’ changes.

Keywords
Globalization, Territory, Business School, Assemblage, Neoliberalism, ATOm