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On the Global Construction of Locality
Free admission
14.11.2003 - 15.11.2003
globalisation, identity, post-colonialism
Conference language: English

In India, as in other postcolonial countries, the issue of cultural identity is closely tied up with the discussion of identity as a nation-state. Taking the categories of “Space” and “Place” and embedding them within current theories of globalization, the conference “Passages: On the Global Construction of Locality” attempts to undermine the predominant notion of a unity of territoriality, identity and culture. Debate will focus on the spatial organization of social relationships, which historically has its unambiguous solution in the territorial nation-state. In the words of Henry Lefebvre, “The state is ruler over space.”
But what is the situation in times of “global flows and global cultures”? The conference will problematize contemporary discourses on globalization, post-colonialism and transnationalism which define the global as an “unbounded space of flows”. Within this construct, locality, the significance of places, spaces, local cultures and identities seem to be nothing but variable quantities dependent on context. The conference is dedicated to the significance of such local places and spaces. It examines identity politics and the manifold practices by which ethnic, gender- and class-specific differentiations and power figurations are created and/or destroyed in space. Anthropologists and geographers, cultural scholars, artists, sociologists and historians will reflect on the conditions of constructing “locality” in times of globalization.


Helmuth B. Berking: Professor of Sociology, University of Darmstadt. Professor Berking’s teaching focuses on political sociology and urban anthropology. In various conferences in the last years he has delivered speeches on aspects of globalization, particularly the change of identity in urban contexts.

Nina Glick-Schiller: Professor of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire; Max Planck Institute of Ethnology, Halle. Professor Glick-Schiller’s work focuses on immigrant settlement and long-distance nationalism, ethnicity, “race,” “culture,” power, transnational migration, urban anthropology, transnational processes and globalization.

Dipankar Gupta: Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Professor Gupta’s most recent research interests are modernization and citizenship, caste and stratification as well as ethnicity and politics.

Martina Löw: Professor of Sociology, University Darmstadt. Professor Löw’s work explores the sociology of space, relation of “space-time-and-internet,” restructuring of the public sphere, new technologies and public construction of space in migration-societies.

Purnima Mankekar: Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University. Professor Mankekar’s teaching focuses on nationalism, gender and South-Asian culture as portrayed in popular film. Her work has stimulated some of the most exciting new questions about popular culture and nationalism emerging out of British cultural studies.

Doreen Massey: Professor of Geography, The Open University of the United Kingdom. Professor Massey’s long-term research interests include the theorization of “space” and “place.” Placing her focus on a critique of globalization, she also provides analysis of the reconceptualization of place from a philosophical, conceptual and directly political point of view.

Shalini Randeria: Professor für Social Anthropology, University Zürich

Werner Schiffauer: Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Europe-University Viadrina. Professor Schiffauer’s research focuses on cultural identities, questions of democratic culture, extremist Islam, rural and urban Turkey, on Turkish migrants in Germany and “so-called” foreigners in urban contexts.

John Urry: Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University. Professor Urry’s teaching concentrates on the sociology of power, social theory, urban and regional research with a focus on economic and social change in western capitalist societies.


Fri 14.11.
10–13.30 h

Space, Place, Power I:

On not Exonerating the Local
Doreen Massey

Communities of Protest: Gender and the Reconfiguration of South Asia after 9/11
Purnima Mankekar

The Social Construction of Space and Gender
Martina Löw

Moderation: Helmut Berking

15–17.30 h

Space, Place, Power II:

Locating the City Within Migrant Simultaneity
Nina Glick-Schiller

Structures of Diasporic Imagination
Werner Schiffauer

20 h

Philippe Rekacewicz: Cartography and Politics: An Open Door to Manipulation: Ein offenes Tor für Manipulation
in cooperation with "Le monde diplomatique"

Sat 15.11.
10–13.30 h

Global Flows, Local Cultures I

Global Complexities
John Urry

Creating Space out of No-Space: Normative Theory and the Challenges Before Modernity
Dipankar Gupta

Placeless Power and the Power of Places
Helmuth B. Berking

Moderation: Martina Löw