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Encountering the City: Urban Encounters from Accra to New York
 9781472432575, 9781315579467

Table of contents :
Cover
Dedication
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
Acknowledgements
1 The Possibilities of Encounter
2 Mobilising Sentiment for Multiplicity
3 From Urban Talent to Commodity City: Encountering Marketplaces in the Informal Economy
4 Transspecies Urban Theory: Chickens in an African City
5 Atmospheric Politics and Entangled Encounters: Freedom Square in Tallinn
6 On the Politics of Vision and Touch: Encountering Fearful and Fearsome Bodies in Cape Town, South Africa
7 Encountering Keighley: More-than-Human Geographies of Difference in a Former Mill Town
8 Encountering Religion through Accra's Urban Soundscape
9 Art Tactics and Urban Improvisation
10 Working Across Class Difference in Popular Assemblies in Buenos Aires
11 Encountering Suspicion: Preemptive Security and the Urban Field of Suspects
12 Encountering Havana: Texts, Aesthetics and Documentary Encounters
13 Deadly and Lively Encounters
14 Encountering What Is (Not) There
Index

Citation preview

‘A wonderful and fresh contribution to thinking on the encounter, what it entails, and how it may improve intercultural understanding. The editors and contributions provide a rich seam of material to convince us of the value of questioning how encounters become important in a range of urban contexts.’ Ash Amin, Cambridge University, UK

Helen F. Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, she is a social and cultural geographer. GEOGRAPHY/URBAN STUDIES

Cover image: Stock Photo © mettus

ISBN 978-1-4724-3257-5

www.routledge.com Routledge titles are available as eBook editions in a range of digital formats

9 781472 432575

AND HELEN F. WILSON

Jonathan Darling is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, he is an urban and political geographer.

EDITED BY JONATHAN DARLING

Encountering the City provides a new and sustained engagement with the concept of encounter. Drawing on cutting-edge theoretical work, classic writings on the city and rich empirical examples, this volume demonstrates why encounters are significant to urban studies, politically, philosophically and analytically. Bringing together a range of interests, from urban multiculture, systems of economic regulation, security and suspicion, to more-than-human geographies, soundscapes and spiritual experience, Encountering the City argues for a more nuanced understanding of how the concept of ‘encounter’ is used. This interdisciplinary collection thus provides an insight into how scholars writing on and in the city mobilise, theorise and challenge the concept of encounter through empirical cases taken from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. These cases go beyond conventional accounts of urban conviviality, to demonstrate how encounters destabilise, rework and produce difference, fold together complex temporalities, materialise power and transform political relations. In doing so, the collection retains a critical eye on the forms of regulation, containment and inequality that shape the taking place of urban encounter. Encountering the City is a valuable resource for students and researchers alike.

ENCOUNTERING THE CITY

‘A lively and theoretically insightful collection, with evocative case examples from cities in many corners of the world. If you are interested in a demonstration of how you might use the fashionable concept of encounter to illuminate contemporary urban living, and in knowing what the concept might help you do and what it may not, then this book is a wonderful resource. I especially liked the emphasis on the temporalities that are part of encounters in particular contexts – the way in which elements of the past combine with imaginings of the future to form engagements in the present. Enjoy!’ Ruth Fincher, University of Melbourne, Australia

EDITED BY JONATHAN DARLING AND HELEN F. WILSON

ENCOUNTERING THE CITY URBAN ENCOUNTERS FROM ACCRA TO NEW YORK

ENCOUNTERING THE CITY

Encountering the City provides a new and sustained engagement with the concept of encounter. Drawing on cutting-edge theoretical work, classic writings on the city and rich empirical examples, this volume demonstrates why encounters are significant to urban studies, politically, philosophically and analytically. Bringing together a range of interests, from urban multiculture, systems of economic regulation, security and suspicion, to more-than-human geographies, soundscapes and spiritual experience, Encountering the City argues for a more nuanced understanding of how the concept of ‘encounter’ is used. This interdisciplinary collection thus provides an insight into how scholars writing on and in the city mobilise, theorise and challenge the concept of encounter through empirical cases taken from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. These cases go beyond conventional accounts of urban conviviality, to demonstrate how encounters destabilise, rework and produce difference, fold together complex temporalities, materialise power and transform political relations. In doing so, the collection retains a critical eye on the forms of regulation, containment and inequality that shape the taking place of urban encounter. Encountering the City is a valuable resource for students and researchers alike. Jonathan Darling is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, he is an urban and political geographer. Helen F. Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, she is a social and cultural geographer.

To Ann and Jim Ann and Michael

Encountering the City

Urban Encounters from Accra to New York

Edited by JONATHAN DARLING and HELEN F. WILSON University of Manchester, UK

First published 2016 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2016 selection and editorial matter, Jonathan Darling and Helen F. Wilson; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Jonathan Darling and Helen F. Wilson to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress ISBN: 9781472432575 (hbk) ISBN: 9781315579467 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Apex CoVantage, LLC

Contents

List of Figures Notes on Contributors Acknowledgements

vii ix xiii

1

The Possibilities of Encounter Helen F. Wilson and Jonathan Darling

1

2

Mobilising Sentiment for Multiplicity Amanda Wise

25

3

From Urban Talent to Commodity City: Encountering Marketplaces in the Informal Economy Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer

45

4

Transspecies Urban Theory: Chickens in an African City Alice J. Hovorka

5

Atmospheric Politics and Entangled Encounters: Freedom Square in Tallinn Tarmo Pikner

79

On the Politics of Vision and Touch: Encountering Fearful and Fearsome Bodies in Cape Town, South Africa Nick Schuermans

97

6

7

Encountering Keighley: More-than-Human Geographies of Difference in a Former Mill Town Dan Swanton

63

111

8

Encountering Religion through Accra’s Urban Soundscape Marleen de Witte

133

9

Art Tactics and Urban Improvisation Mick O’Kelly

151

vi

10

11

12

Encountering the City

Working Across Class Difference in Popular Assemblies in Buenos Aires Mónica Farías

169

Encountering Suspicion: Preemptive Security and the Urban Field of Suspects Stephanie Simon

187

Encountering Havana: Texts, Aesthetics and Documentary Encounters Helen F. Wilson

203

13

Deadly and Lively Encounters Jeffrey Hou

221

14

Encountering What Is (Not) There Colin McFarlane

229

Index

233

List of Figures

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

Liverpool Road, Ashfield Welcome Shops open day with historical display panels Shanghai Night owners’ son outside the restaurant Jason Wing’s ‘In between two worlds’

29 36 37 39

3.1 3.2

Cherkizovsky Market, Moscow Talad Rot Fai, Bangkok

47 49

5.1 5.2

The Square of Victory in 1980–90, Tallinn ‘Object 2011’ and the Freedom War Monument, Tallinn March 2011

86

7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4

The Picture House, Highfields, Keighley Highfields housing improvement programme Washing on Spencer Street, Keighley Taxis in Keighley

9.1

9.3a, b

Nomadic Kitchen Workshops in Vila Nova, São Miguel, Brazil Mutuãrio construction of Nomadic Kitchen Vila Nova, São Miguel, Brazil Nomadic Kitchen front and rear view, Vila Nova, Brazil

12.1 12.2

Colonial architecture, Plaza Vieja, Havana Classic American cars in front of ruins

9.2a, b, c

89 111 113 122 124 159 163 165 206 207

Page Intentionally Left Blank

Notes on Contributors

Jonathan Darling is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on the spatial politics of asylum and sanctuary, the role of ethics within Geography and the politics of everyday life within urban environments. He has written on issues of hospitality and asylum politics, sanctuary movements and practices, and relational theories of responsibility, and is currently developing a critical and prosaic approach to ideas and practices of sanctuary within the city. Marleen de Witte is post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. She has conducted anthropological research on charismatic Pentecostalism, African Traditional Religion, media, cultural heritage, popular culture, and funerals in Ghana. She has published Long Live the Dead! Changing Funeral Celebrations in Asante, Ghana (Aksant, 2001) and many articles and chapters in international journals and volumes, she is also co-editor of Etnofoor. In 2012 her thesis Spirit Media: Charismatics, Traditionalists, and Mediation Practices in Ghana was awarded the Keetje Hodshon Award of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). Mónica Farías received her BA in Geography at the University of Buenos Aires and her MA in Geography at the University of Washington where she is currently pursuing doctoral studies. Her research interests lie in urban inequalities, class formation and everyday cultural practices in Argentina. Jeffrey Hou is Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle. His work focuses on understanding and facilitating placemaking efforts by marginalised social groups. He is the editor of Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities (2010) and Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (2013), and a co-editor of Messy Urbanism: Understanding the ‘Other’ Cities of Asia (2016). Alice J. Hovorka is a Professor of Geography at Queen’s University, Canada. Her research focuses on contemporary human-environment relations in Southern Africa. Specifically, Dr Hovorka explores how relations of power operate to create spaces of opportunity and/or constraint for different social groups. Past studies include issues associated with housing access, urban agriculture, resource use, entrepreneurship, identity politics and food security, primarily in and around

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Gaborone, Botswana. Dr Hovorka’s current research features animals as central actors in human affairs and explores human-animal relations. Chickens, donkeys, cattle, lions, elephants and domestic dogs in Botswana serve as case studies exploring the positionality of animals as influential actors. Colin McFarlane is an urban geographer based at Durham University, UK. His work focuses on urban learning, informality, and infrastructure in cities. This has included research on the politics of urban knowing, urban sanitation, and everyday life in informal settlements in Mumbai, Cape Town and Kampala. He is author of Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage (2011, WileyBlackwell) and co-editor of multiple books, including Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False Dawn? (2015, with Simon Marvin and Andres Luque). Helge Mooshammer is a theorist of visual and spatial culture, whose research is concerned with changing forms of urban sociality, processes of transnationalisation and newly emerging regimes of governance. Based at Goldsmiths, London and TU Vienna, his current research Other Markets engages a worldwide collaboration on informal market worlds. Details can be found at: www.othermarkets.org. Peter Mörtenböck is research fellow in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is also Professor of Visual Culture at the Vienna University of Technology. His recent books include Networked Cultures: Parallel Architectures and the Politics of Space (2008), Space (Re)Solutions (2011) and OCCUPY (2012). For further details see: www.thinkarchitecture.net. Mick O’Kelly is a lecturer in fine art and sculpture at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. He is a trained artist and architectural technician who has exhibited work annually since 1984, winning the Irish Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary in 1987. Mick has interests in the interface between artistic practice and architectural design and with issues of situated practice, location and context, focusing on informal urban spaces in Brazil. Tarmo Pikner holds a doctoral degree in Human Geography from the University of Oulu. He currently works as a researcher at Tallinn University. Pikner’s research interests include multiple entanglements of modernity, particularly effects on spaces and bodies. He has wider interests in the urbanisation of nature and related participatory models of expertise. Nick Schuermans is a post-doctoral teaching associate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and a post-doctoral researcher at the Sociology Department at the University of Antwerp. In 2011, he received his PhD in Geography from the University of Leuven with a thesis on the impact of crime and fear of crime upon geographies of encounter in Flanders and South Africa.

Notes on Contributors

xi

Stephanie Simon is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her research critically interrogates everyday security practice in urban and transnational contexts. Her work has been published in Antipode, The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Social and Cultural Geography, Security Dialogue, and Space and Polity. Dan Swanton is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Dan’s work focuses on everyday experiences of living with difference in British cities, ethnographic approaches to researching urban multiculture and intercultural interaction, and the role of assemblage thinking within social thought and practice. Dan is senior editor for the journal City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, and has published work in Environment and Planning A, Geoforum and Space and Culture. Amanda Wise is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University. Drawing primarily on ethnographic and qualitative methodologies, she works at the intersection of sociology, cultural studies and human geography into issues surrounding multiculturalism and migration. Amanda has published work in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Built Environment, Area and Journal of Intercultural Studies and has co-edited a collection on Everyday Multiculturalisms. Helen F. Wilson is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester. Helen’s work is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on European multiculturalism, the geographies of encounter and the challenges of living with difference in contemporary cities. Her current research is focused on policies and projects of community intervention linked to intercultural dialogue, race, racism and the prevention of violence.

Page Intentionally Left Blank

Acknowledgements

The development of this book spans two cities and two institutions and has been a long time in the making. As such, we are indebted to a number of people who have offered both practical and intellectual support along with the way. First, we would like to acknowledge those people at the University of Manchester who have aided the development of the book through both their support and lively discussion; Stefan Bouzarovski, Jamie Doucette, Sarah Marie Hall, Martin Hess, Bill Kutz, Chris Perkins, Saska Petrova, Fiona Smyth and Saskia Warren. In particular, we have benefited enormously from the extensive time, insight and on-going support of Kevin Ward, to whom we are both indebted. We also owe thanks to those people at Durham University, who provided a stimulating environment during the initial development of the book, offered their feedback and thoughts along the way, and have continued to inform the ideas that are central to the collection; Ben Anderson, Rachel Colls, Mike Crang, Angharad Closs Stephens, Paul Harrison, Gordon MacLeod and Colin McFarlane. Thanks also to Ash Amin who was instrumental to shaping some of the early ideas for the book and for pushing us to think about the status of encounter. Thanks to Katy Crossan at Ashgate for her help and guidance throughout the process, and special thanks to Nick Schuermans for his comments, suggestions and fruitful discussion over a number of years. Finally, this collection would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and professionalism of the contributors and we offer our thanks for the time and commitment that they have all invested in this collection.

Page Intentionally Left Blank

Chapter 1

The Possibilities of Encounter Helen F. Wilson and Jonathan Darling

Introduction Encounters, it seems, are everywhere and nowhere. The recent proliferation of work on encounters within Human Geography and across the social sciences demonstrates an emergent concern for engaging encounters as points of analytical interest. From the challenges of living with difference and negotiating diversity (Amin 2008; 2012; Wilson 2011; Watson 2006), to the possibilities of radical urban politics (Halvorsen 2015; Merrifield 2013), the concept of encounter has been variously name-checked, mobilised, valorised and critiqued (Valentine 2008; 2013). Yet despite the proliferation of interest there is a lack of critical attention given to questioning just exactly what it means to ‘encounter’. As a result, there is a risk that encounters become an ill-specified and under-theorised analytical category; a metaphor or concept stretched too far to accommodate an ever-widening array of social interactions, forms of contact and modes of relation (see Wilson 2016 for a critique of precisely this tendency). This volume sets out to address this lack of analytical specificity. It asks what the term ‘encounter’ is taken to mean in recent scholarly work, what sets it apart from other forms of relation and what a focus on encounter enables. Encountering the City thus aims to provide an insight into how a range of scholars writing on and in the city use, theorise and challenge the concept of ‘encounter’. By asking how it has been used as an analytical lens to explore a range of urban issues – from systems of economic regulation, security and suspicion, to more-than-human geographies, soundscapes and spiritual experience – we tease out some of the continuities that bring this work together and thus demonstrate how encounters have been variously conceptualised as events of relation (Wilson 2016; 2016a). To take encounters seriously, we argue, is not about providing another metaphor for the social and material assembling of urban life. Rather, it is to critically attend to the many complexities, contestations and contradictions of contemporary urbanism, with a specific attention to difference.1 As such, Encountering the City 1 We refer to ‘difference’ rather than diversity, the latter of which is often linked to categorizations of social identity that are pre-defined and that fail to account for the multiplicities, potentials and practices that they subsume. The collection thus holds diversity discourses, processes of categorisation and their effects in view, whilst also appreciating, the embodied nature of social distinctions and the unpredictable ways in which similarity and difference is negotiated in the moment (Hubbard 2013).

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is concerned with encounter in all its varied forms and includes reflections on its temporal resonances and limits but also its spatial contours, conditions and possibilities. As a necessary starting point, the remainder of this introduction works to better conceptualise encounters. We begin by contextualising the recent interest in encounters and consider how this has been connected to the city as a key site of study. In so doing, concerns with practice, performance, materiality, difference and the political possibilities of the city come to the fore and provide an academic context from which a multifaceted ‘ontology of encounter’ might be seen to have emerged (Amin and Thrift 2002). With this background established, we demonstrate how encounters have been coded in particular ways. We argue that encounters are centrally about the maintenance, production and reworking of difference; that encounters fundamentally frame urban experiences and subjectivities; that encounters produce and encompass multiple temporal registers; and that encounters offer points of possible transformation and an opening to change. These four concerns shed light on how we might better understand encounters as distinct forms of relation. In so doing, we seek to address the lack of clarity and precision that has been notable in recent work on ‘encounter’, whilst outlining the value of taking encounter as an analytical site of study (see Wilson 2016). Having outlined these four concerns, we then move to summarise the key contributions of each subsequent chapter, highlighting the varied fields of study upon which they draw. Urban encounters in context We want to begin by placing the recent work on urban encounters in context and highlight two important lineages of social theory from which a concern with urban encounters has arisen. The first is the longstanding body of work that has positioned the city as a key site for the negotiation of difference, be this through staged forms of interaction or the propinquities of the urban everyday. The second, is a range of theoretical work that considers the excessive qualities of urban life, most notably drawing on non-representational modes of thought and ‘new materialist’ theories of practice, sensation and the everyday. In addition, we want to further situate a concern with urban encounters in relation to the political potentials of the city as a space of transformative capacity and relational interconnections. Here, we suggest that a concern with encounters is less prominent, yet there are significant and productive connections to be made, not least in discussions of political subjectivity, and the ‘mobile’ dimensions of urban policy. To situate Encountering the City, we take each of these areas of work in turn. City difference, social mixing and moving beyond contact Encounters are at the heart of work that has a long and deep-rooted history of celebrating the city as a site of ‘throwntogetherness’ (Massey 2005), where

The Possibilities of Encounter

3

different, previously unrelated trajectories, objects and people come together (Amin and Thrift 2002; Fincher and Jacobs 1998; Jacobs 1961; Sandercock 2003; Watson 2006; Young 1990). For Lefebvre, encounters are what make the urban a site of ‘permanent disequilibrium’ (1996, 129), where ‘normalities and constraints’ are continuously dissolved. In this vein, it has been held that chance encounters between different people are what give urban life its ‘distinctive character’, liveliness and risk (Stevens 2007; Simmel 1903). This can be seen in Jacobs’ (1961, 50) much referenced celebration of the sidewalk, which described a site of vitality, improvisation and experiment, where trivial contact between strangers produced ‘intricate ballets’ of change and movement (Sandercock 2003; Stevens 2007; Tonkiss 2005; 2013; Wise this volume). In Jacobs’ writing on North American cities, regular and supposedly incidental encounters were central to the development of trust, respect and the organisation of public life. This is a sentiment notable in a wide range of work on urban civility and collective culture, which has traced the virtues of ‘public spaces that are open, crowded, diverse, incomplete, improvised, disorderly or lightly regulated’ (Amin 2008, 8; Laurier and Philo 2006a, 2006b; Watson 2006). Linked to this celebration of the city and its interest in urban sociality has been a concern with ‘the stranger’ as one of the city’s defining figures (Ahmed 2000; Amin 2012; Diken 1998; Donald 1999; Schuermans this volume). A concern with the urban stranger reflects longstanding anxieties about the presence of unknown others in urban life. Drawing on Simmel’s (1903) pioneering analysis of the demands of modernity and its intensification of obligatory associations, considerations of urban sociality have foregrounded the aversion, repulsion and potential conflict that are attendant in urban street life (Amin 2012; Diken 1998; Donald 1999). Simmel’s analysis of the ‘stranger’ in the modern metropolis has thus been utilised as a reminder that urban sociality is never a wholly romantic or progressive affair (Parker 2011; Sennett 1970). At the same time, Ervine Goffman’s (1963) work on the ‘rules of conduct’ that shape public interactions has also been influential in critically questioning how people negotiate ‘strange’ encounters. Rules of conduct, he argued, play a key role in shaping the social organisation of gatherings and face-to-face interactions between the unacquainted. Goffman’s insights have thus laid the grounds for studies that have catalogued the norms, rules and procedures of interaction that shape encounters and compose urban life (Jensen 2006; Laurier and Philo 2006a; Wilson 2011). From this work on urban sociality, whether the celebration of ‘throwntogetherness’ or the negotiation of unknown others, we would highlight four interests that relate to the role of urban encounter. First, is with the ethical imperative to be open to the city’s alterity or ‘unassimilated otherness’ as part of a wider politics of cultural recognition (Young 1990, 314). This is about cherishing the city as a site where strangers can intermingle without the desire for homogeneity or idealised notions of community (Carter 2011; Fortier 2010), and is therefore focused on ensuring the democracy of city politics, rather than embracing encounters as a matter of pragmatics (Young 1990). Second, is a concern with the role of design in

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supporting the inter-mingling of strangers (Fincher 2003; Tonkiss 2013; Wood and Landry 2008). Premised on the assumption that declining opportunities for contact will result in the death of public space and a decline in sociality, Sennett’s (1978, 1991) writing has been particularly influential in promoting public interaction as a means to deter the longing for intimacy and insularity associated with private life. Work that has built on these ideas tends to advocate for something more than the general indifference that has often characterised descriptions of urban sociality (see van Leeuwen 2014 for a critique). Third, and responding directly to some of the celebratory accounts of urban intermingling and its potential, Valentine’s (2008) intervention into discussions of living with difference, highlights a failure to outline exactly how encounters might build the respect, trust and dialogue that is so often present in accounts of urban possibility, accusing earlier writing on the city of ‘naivety’. Emerging from this intervention is an interest in the gap between values and practices and a recognition that positive encounters in public space do not necessarily address prejudice or private beliefs and values (Valentine and Waite 2012).2 This work further builds on previous critiques. Amin and Thrift (2002) for example, emphasise just how unpredictable the dynamics of ‘mingling’ are (Amin 2002, 2008), while highlighting that the other sites, influences, connections and experiences that are significant to the formation of urban culture are regularly overlooked (Amin 2004). These critiques have resulted in calls for research into the more ‘irregular, haphazard and ordinary’ spaces of the city and for a better investment in the ‘complex and textured’ understandings of the people and places that are evoked by these debates (Watson 2006:14; Laurier and Philo 2006b). Finally, a concern with urban encounter features in a wider range of work concerning the fear and anxiety that is attached to unknown others. Notable here are two linked areas of concern. Firstly, are the discussions concerning the development of urban enclaves and increasingly securitised spaces that are designed to reduce the chance of encounter, and which have given rise to dystopian readings of urban sociality and fragmentation (Fincher and Shaw 2011; Flusty 2001; Graham and Marvin 2001, Schuermans 2013; Wissink 2013). In these contexts, as Schuermans (this volume) illustrates, encounters are often coded as anxiety-inducing moments of insecurity, uncertainty and risk. As a result, not only are individual patterns of mobility reshaped to avoid the risk of encountering unknown others, but urban public spaces are increasingly produced as sites for legislated forms of interaction and orderliness (Fincher and Shaw 2011; Flusty 2001; Sennett 1978). Secondly, tied to the anxieties associated with the unknown, is an interest in how different bodies are marked as ‘strange’ through the event of encounter (Ahmed 2000). Here, work has examined the ways in which values, presumptions about cultural difference, anxiety, suspicion and discomfort are attached to particular 2 This intervention is notable for its nod towards Gordon Allport’s ‘Contact Theory’ (1954) in psychology, which focused on the role of positive, interpersonal contact in reducing prejudice between different groups and individuals.

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bodies both before, during and after moments of encounter (Amin 2012; Saldanha 2007; Simon this volume; Swanton 2010). Taking these different approaches to urban encounter forward, it is necessary, we argue, to focus on the taking-place of encounters and the simultaneous risks and rewards that they necessarily entail (Stevens 2007). It is clear that encounters are a key part of the urban condition (Shapiro 2010), but how encounters are experienced, shaped and theorised is a question that has produced a range of case studies across different urban sites and spaces (see for example Hou 2013; Watson 2006). This can be seen in recent work on everyday multiculture, which has concerned the conflicts, contradictions, possibilities, misunderstandings and joy that variously characterise spaces of cultural contact (Neal et al. 2015; Vertovec 2015; Wise and Valayutham 2009; Watson 2006). Studies have attended to spaces of work (Ellis et al., 2004), public transport (Wilson 2011), hair salons (Tarlo 2007), cyberspace (Houston et al., 2005), streets (Swanton 2010), schools (Wilson 2013a) and community centres (Darling 2010; 2011; Farías this volume; Matejskova and Leitner, 2011), all with a concern for detailing the local contexts in which differences are encountered. This work has emphasised the performative element of encounters and the contingency of identities as they arise from interaction between particular bodies. It includes a critical account of how encounters are shaped by societal attitudes, discourse, structural inequalities and imaginary geographies (Andersson et al. 2011; Brown 2008; Leitner 2012; Lewis 2012; Piekut et al. 2012). The excess of the urban: performance, practice, materiality From writings on the modern metropolis and its assault on the senses (Simmel 1903; Frisby 2007; Vasudevan 2005), to the interest in cities as maelstroms of affect and ‘overflowing excitement’ (Benjamin 1969; Thrift 2005), a significant body of urban scholarship has concerned more-than-representational accounts of the city (Latham and McCormack 2004; Lorimer 2005). It is here, in accounts of excess, emotion, memory, nostalgia, rhythm and absence that encounters have emerged as a consistent site of focus, marking the collection’s second area of concern. As was seen in Simmel’s work, the modern city gave rise to discussions on (im)morality, neuroses, lust and anxiety and a fascination with the effects of overstimulation (Donald 1999; Osborne and Rose 1999; Simmel 1903). From this, an interest in the ambiances, atmospheres and unique personalities of cities – whether it be the romance of Paris or the immorality of Dickensian London (Shapiro 2010) – has questioned how they might privilege, construct or shape distinct forms of association and encounter (Anderson and Holden 2008; Darling 2013; Pile 2005). Drawing on work that has considered the atmospherics of modern city life, urban scholars have thus placed emphasis on the imaginary and ephemeral elements of cities as a way of disrupting normative accounts of the ‘real city’ and the social relations to which it gives rise (Pile 2005; Thrift 2005).

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This has taken research in novel directions. As Pile (2005, 48) has argued, if we consider the ‘dream-like’ qualities of cities, we can better address ‘timework’, for: dreams mix times in specific ways: chronologies are reversed in order to disguise causality, the present modifies the past, events from different periods are aligned, or simultaneous events separated. These temporalities make time plastic, manipulable.

Such time-work has been central to engaging aspects of the city that appear fixed and yet demand an engagement with the immaterial (Latham and McCormack 2004). The recognition that encounters with the past disrupt the present, has informed debates on absence, hauntings (Holloway 2010) and the immaterial qualities of monuments, ruins and urban palimpsests (Ladd 1997; Edensor 2005; McFarlane this volume). As Till (2004, 79) argues, ‘as we traverse the spaces of the city, we may encounter ghosts that awaken us from the slumber of our taken-forgranted world’, demanding that we take the more-than-representational registers of encounter seriously, along with the material remains that unexpectedly move us (Hetherington 2013; see also McFarlane this volume; Wilson this volume). Fragments, traces and memorials not only enable encounters with different times and spaces, but they also produce their own ‘rhythmic effect’ as they move in and out of use, interest and focus (Hetherington 2013, 24), producing a very different form of rhythm to that produced by the daily routines of urban life (Amin and Thrift 2002). As this collection demonstrates, an interest in critiquing linear temporalities also illustrates how the past shapes encounters in different ways and how futurity, possibility and anticipatory logics become important in shaping the present (Simon this volume). Running through much of this work are traces of the psychogeographical tradition (Debord 1967), which has underlined the importance of attending to chance encounters, so as to challenge ‘representational orthodoxies’ (Hetherington 2013, 28; Sinclair 2003; Swanton 2012) and offer up counter-memories that challenge normative narratives. A concern with excess has also seen a flourishing of work on the creative potential of encounters with and in the city, often drawing inspiration from the legacies of the Situationists (see Debord 1967; Pinder 2000; Sinclair 2003; Swanton this volume). For example, encounters are at the heart of Stevens’ (2007) exploration of the ‘ludic city’ and the spontaneous and risky activities that inform urban experience and produce unconventional relationships. For Stevens, the heightening of sensory experience and the ‘permissive freedom’ that the urban promotes, ‘awakens a wide range of meanings and desires’, which firmly link cities with play and distraction (17–18), thus undermining attempts to plan, instrumentalise or order relations (Pikner this volume). The city thus continuously creates ‘new contexts for action’ (Stevens 2007, 18), a sentiment that finds its expression in a large body of work on insurgent spaces (Hou 2010) and urban play (Pinder 2005; Souzis 2015).

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The challenge that work inspired by the Situationists poses to assumptions of urban orderliness and regulation, is also present in discussions of ‘new materialism’ and the more-than-human and more-than-representational aspects of urban life (see Anderson and Harrison 2010; Coole and Frost 2010). In such debates, a more-than-human geography of objects, things, animals, atmospheres and organisms might be seen to engage critical questions of agency (Bennett 2005), whilst also expressing an emergent concern with the sensuous vitality of urban life (Wise 2010). Here we might think of encounters that are felt viscerally and with differences that are sensed through smell (Wise 2005), sound (de Witte this volume; Wilson 2015a), taste (Slocum 2008) and touch (Hetherington 2003; Macpherson 2009). A concern with affective attachments and the sensuous nature of urban experience can thus be seen throughout the collection. The politics of urban encounter Much of the recent work outlined in the two areas above has drawn from, and further shaped a concern with, urban encounters. However, the third area we want to highlight has developed somewhat in parallel to discussions of urban difference, practice and performance but has not, as yet, fully informed some of the current debates on urban encounter. This work is focused on a range of longstanding discussions that have positioned the city as a space in which to imagine, enact and contest political imaginaries and processes (Wilson 2015b). A wealth of urban political theory has valorised the city as a space of radical political thought, from claims to citizenship rights and the right to the city (see Isin 2002; 2007; Lefebvre 1996; Purcell 2003; Sassen 2006), through to ‘insurgent’ modes of politicisation and occupation (see Holston 2009; Merrifield 2011; Rutland 2013; Swyngedouw 2011), and more incremental concerns with social justice and the construction of urban futures (see McFarlane 2011; Soja 2010). A key role of the city in such debates is in offering a series of relational connections between social movements, activist groups, residents and authorities such that points of coordination, contestation and collaboration may be formed (see Hou 2010; Merrifield 2013; O’Kelly, this volume; Uitermark and Nicholls 2014; Vasudevan 2015). Cities are held to possess the ability to ‘bring together multiple very diverse struggles and at the same time engender a larger, more encompassing push for a new normative order’ (Sassen 2013, 70). It is in this field of urban political relations that urban encounters already, albeit without full recognition, play a part. The significance of encounters to the politics of the city can be noted in two ways. Firstly, through longstanding discussions, which view the city as a space for ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ political (Isin 2002). For Isin (2002; 2007), cities are a battleground of political relations through which different groups and publics constitute their identities and make claims to political visibility and voice. The city, and the complex relations it produces between modes of authority, technology, governance and insurgency, provides a stage on which historically disenfranchised groups have been able to ‘become political’ through enacting the rights that they

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appear to lack. In this process, the city is not simply a space in which groups may meet and interact. Rather, the city is itself constituted through the process of gathering together and pushing apart different actors, objects and discourses (see Allen and Cochrane 2014). For Isin (2007, 233, original emphasis); The city is a difference machine because groups are not formed outside the machine and encounter each other within the city, but the city assembles, generates, distributes and differentiates these differences, incorporates them within strategies and technologies, and elicits, interpellates, adjures and incites them. We need to recognize that the city is not a container where already formed differences arrive in the city and encounter each other. Such differences are generated and assembled in and through the city.

For us, such differences are ‘generated and assembled’ by urban encounters. If encounters, as we argue, are necessarily points of destabilisation in which difference is brought to the fore and negotiated to produce the possibility for new conditions, then it is partly encounters that constitute the city as a ‘difference machine’ (ibid.), in which ‘boundaries including and excluding political subjects from recognition as citizens are constantly produced and negotiated’ (Coward 2012, 470; Wilson 2016). Such boundaries are not only produced and destroyed by encounters but are themselves encountered in a myriad of ways – from aversion, misanthropy and aggression (Darling 2014a; Thrift 2005; Wilson 2011), through to forms of regulation (Coleman 2012; Varsanyi 2008; Walker and Leitner 2011). They also condition imaginaries of possible encounters and urban futures (see Schuermans this volume; Simon this volume) and as such, in this field of work, the possibility of the city to assemble difference differently provides the ever-present conditions for contention (Magnusson 2012; Uitermark and Nicholls 2014). A concern with urban encounters, we argue, is one way in which the political urgency and energy of the city is expressed. Thus, whilst normative boundaries of citizenship and structural conditions are negotiated in the city, alternative logics, practices, and ways of life are also encountered, as many of the chapters in this collection highlight (see Farías this volume; Hou this volume; Mörtenböck and Mooshammer this volume; O’Kelly this volume). But more than this, encounters are also those points of relation through which political transformation and change can be initiated. Encountering the new and the different ‘in and through the city’ as Isin (2007, 233) puts it, is one of the constitutive points for political movements. As a range of work on issues of citizenship, race relations, ecology and gender equality has suggested, social and political change is often produced through combinations of claims-making, performative acts, the critical questioning of existing conditions and incremental processes of tying together disparate struggles and agendas (Chatterton 2006; Connolly 2005; Darling 2014b; Dean 2009; Nash 2009). The importance of such processes is that they are often initiated by the destabilising nature of an encounter – by that which challenges assumptions, normalised modes of perception and ways of thinking and acting (Connolly 2002;

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Wilson 2013b). It is this disruptive capacity that we want to foreground when suggesting that a concern with the politics of the city might be usefully aligned with a focus on urban encounters as orientation points for political practices of many forms. The second area we want to touch upon with relation to the politics of encounter focuses on urban networking. Recently, work has considered both the circulation and mobility of urban policy (McCann and Ward 2011; Peck and Theodore 2010; Ward 2006), and the articulation of the city as an ‘assemblage’ of varying influences, elements and trajectories (Jacobs 2012; McCann 2011; McFarlane 2011). Despite being clearly distinct in their conceptual lineages and orientations, what both of these areas of work draw attention to is the city as a site of continuous production – as an evolving and unfinished spatial, social and political formation. The city is neither an already constituted container in these accounts, nor is the city positioned as an isolated unit. Rather, cities are discussed as relationally and topologically complex formations that interact with one another and are shaped by a multitude of spatial and temporal influences, both ‘near’ and ‘distant’ (Allen 2010; Massey 2007). The value of such work has been to present cities as accomplishments in process – as always on the move – never fully or finally fixed in any particular form or network. Rather than the language of encounter, instead we note a language of political ‘engagements’, ‘connections’ and ‘meetings’ through which networks of policy exchange and knowledge transfer are discussed. Rather than suggest that all forms of policy mobility might represent modes of urban encounter, we suggest that a concern with encounters might add to accounts of mobile relations and moments of assemblage, most notably, through exploring relations that ‘rupture’ (Wilson 2016) and that are focused on the folding together of varied temporalities, the constitution of difference and the opening up of transformative possibilities. With this potential avenue for urban encounters in mind, we now want to outline four key concerns that we argue better conceptualise ‘urban encounters’ as both distinctive and important forms of relation. Understanding urban encounters What then, do we mean when we talk about ‘encounter’? As already noted, the term has been mobilised in a wide range of research across the social sciences and has connections to discussions of difference, contact, interaction and exchange. Yet the specifics of what an ‘encounter’ may entail have been far less clearly discussed. Here we focus on four key concerns that may help better conceptualise how encounters are coded as distinct forms of relation and that draw together the continuities and shared interests of this collection and the wider work on encounter. Firstly, encounters are fundamentally about difference. As Wilson (2016) has argued, the etymology of encounter reveals its specific use for describing a meeting of adversaries, which at once pinpoints it as a form of contact or relation that has

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some element of antagonism or opposition at its heart. Indeed, as Rovisco (2010: 1015) suggests, this can be seen in the Manichean grammars of difference that are so often deployed when speaking of cultural encounters and that perpetuate symbolic logics of ‘us versus them’ (see for example Haldrup et al. 2008). As we have demonstrated, this is evident in the sheer volume of work that has engaged with notions of encounter to examine how social differences and discourses of class, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, race and the more-than-human are negotiated, particularly in instances where a lack of commonality or some form of conflict has been assumed. In building on this work, we want to move away from the assumption that encounters are simply about the meeting of difference or already defined social identities. Instead, the collection highlights how encounters also have the ability to make and transform difference in unpredictable ways. As is clear across the collection, encounters can destabilise, rework and produce difference as much as they can maintain it. They can chip away at prejudice or harden it (Valentine 2008; Leitner 2012), produce new knowledges and enact cultural destabilisations (Hou 2013; Wise this volume), and whilst there is a lot of interest in the potential benefits of encounters with difference, they can also produce anxiety or evoke feelings of abjection (Kristeva 1982; Schuermans this volume). Crucially, whilst a lot of these concerns are focused on discourses of social identity or the status of the non-human and non-human animals, experiences of difference are also understood as moments of perceptible change or alteration that in some way work to animate or dampen urban life. As such, the collection demonstrates an interest in understanding how the experience of difference registers on the body and draws on the Deleuzian understandings of potential and becoming that have informed so much of the recent work on vital materialisms. This emphasis on the vitality of bodies, ‘human and nonhuman, natural and artificial’ (Bennett 2001: 4) has demanded a recognition of the other organisms, animals and agencies that directly shape both how cities are encountered, and the types of encounters that are lived through cities (see Hovorka this volume). This emphasis, we argue, takes Hinchliffe and Whatmore’s (2006) ‘politics of conviviality’ seriously, which demonstrates that cities and politics are ‘more than human affairs’ and thus concerns a more broadly conceived ‘accommodation of difference’ (124), than is regularly engaged in work on urban diversity. Secondly, encounters are often associated with the momentary and fleeting, which reflects their other definition as meetings of chance, which occur unexpectedly and thus provoke surprise (Wilson 2016). However, their status as momentary forms of contact should not allow them to be disregarded as insignificant or as events that dissipate as quickly as they seemingly emerge. Rather, encounters are events of relation that take place across multiple temporalities and durations, producing and folding-in different temporalities and rhythms. Not only do encounters resonate beyond their own immediate event, shaping opinions, assumptions and future competencies for encounter (see Farías this volume; Simon this volume), but they are also informed and shaped by a wealth of past experiences and events akin to ‘virtual memories’ (Connolly 2002; Massumi 2002; Wilson 2013b). As such, we

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would argue that encounters are points of unanticipated exposure to difference that are situated within personal and collective histories as well as imagined futures. When thinking about the city as a multi-rhythmic site of both memory and futurity (see Crang and Travolou 2001; Lagerkvist 2010; Hetherington 2013; Wilson this volume) we are reminded of the different pasts and futures that are folded into the present and that go beyond the personal. This might include temporalities of national memorialisation (see Pikner this volume), imagined futures of risk and insecurity (see Simon this volume) and the rumours and narratives that sometimes gain traction and sometimes lose their grip (see Swanton this volume). The urban encounter is thus reflective of the complex temporality of the city as a space of layered and simultaneous rhythms and influences, some of which come to the fore in moments of encounter, but none of which can ever be fully predicted or accounted for in advance. Thirdly, given the potential that encounters present for transformation, destabilisation and for making and enacting difference, it is of no surprise that they have become a focus for different forms of intervention. However, we argue that encounters cannot be reduced to the desired outcomes of specific modes of intervention, but rather that encounters are about the unanticipated surprise of difference. An interest in documenting the effects and affects of urban encounters has, in many cases, been linked to a concern for understanding their conditions in order to question how and if encounters might be designed, replicated or facilitated to produce desirable outcomes (Wilson 2013b). In this way, encounters might be enacted through art projects and installations (Askins and Pain 2011; Pikner this volume; O’Kelly this volume), community events (see Wise this volume) or through sites of social provision (see Farías this volume) in order to encourage people to think differently about the place in which they live, to challenge stereotypes of others, or to simply ignite a new interest or curiosity about one’s neighbours. Whilst there is little doubt that encounters have become important to projects of intervention, we want to maintain a critical eye on the value and implications of such projects. This is not just about questioning the lasting impacts of relatively fleeting or short-lived events, or whether or not the positive effects of a singular encounter can be amplified (Matejskova and Leitner 2011), but about returning to the very understanding of what an encounter is. As Carter (2013) has argued, any design already holds within it an understanding of what is desired and thus demands that unpredictability be designed out in its very pursuit. If, as we have argued to this point, encounters are about risk, surprise and unknowability, such a designing out of unpredictability has implications for how we understand the relations that are facilitated through intervention. As such, given that an interest in intervention remains one of the core drivers for scholarly work on encounter, we suggest that questions concerning their often-surprising outcomes are crucial to strengthening critical engagements with the concept of encounter. Finally, encounters are not simply produced in specific spatial contexts, but rather play a vital role in producing space and subjectivity. In the context of this collection we focus on the spaces and subjectivities of the city and how encounters

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have become central to ‘urbanism as a way of life’ (Magnusson 2012). This is not to suggest that it is only within an urban context that encounters play this role. Rather, this collection highlights both the tendency to privilege the urban within the broader discussions of encounter, but also the centrality of encounters to many accounts of urban life and its distinguishing features. In part, this references the inevitability of encounters to urban life and the recognition that contact with the new, the different and the unexpected is a largely unavoidable aspect of living in cities and is what makes urban life both exciting and inventive (Sennett 1970). At the same time, it also references a more normative element of urban life and the sense that to be a ‘good citizen’ and to contribute to the ‘good city’ (Amin 2006), one must be able to negotiate encounters well. Skills of judgment, civility, patience, reasonableness and empathy have all been cited as attributes urban inhabitants might develop so as to enhance urban encounters, produce ‘better’ encounters with difference or simply get by (Amin 2012; Laurier and Philo 2006a; Thrift 2004; 2005). We would argue against such a normative agenda when discussing urban encounters, as the ability to define a ‘good’ or ‘better’ encounter appears to us both arbitrary and problematic. From the perspective of who, or indeed what, might we define such an encounter? With this question what we want to foreground here is that urban encounters are inherently folded into both the urban experience and the subjectivity of the urban inhabitant or urban citizen (Wilson 2015a). The conditions that make the city a site of constitutive heterogeneity and encounter, also by necessity mean that urbanism as a way of life, and the identities and experiences it marks, are shaped through encounters, be they with people, materials, discourses, animals or a wide array of other influences. The collection In addressing the framing of urban encounters outlined above, the chapters that follow proceed not in order of theme or alphabetically by author, but by the location of their case studies. The collection will move from East to West thereby centring attention on the specific context of each chapter. This not only recognises the cross-cutting themes of each contribution but also places emphasis on destabilising hierarchies of urban learning and knowledge production, which all too often focus on the knowledge practices and centrality of an assumed urban ‘West’ (see Edensor and Jayne 2012). It is notable that in work on encounters to date, there has been a lack of work focused on the Global South. The collection directly addresses this lacuna by drawing upon a global range of social and spatial contexts. With this in mind, the following and final section outlines how each chapter contributes to the wider aim of exploring and theorising how cities are encountered. In Chapter 2, Amanda Wise draws on the long lineage of work concerning questions of ‘living with difference’ to focus on community intervention work that facilitated encounters across difference in a Sydney suburb. Through exploring the

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case of Ashfield, and the disconnection between its elderly ‘White’ residents and a long-standing Chinese migrant community, Wise highlights the labour that goes into the facilitation of encounters for the purpose of community development. Whilst Wise demonstrates how the ‘staging’ of encounters may be problematic, her work in Ashfield also suggests that in many cases the context for urban encounter itself can be shaped and pushed in different directions. Through a ‘Welcome Shop’ day that encouraged residents to engage with the changing aesthetics and ethnic mix of the suburban high street, Wise argues that the grounds for everyday encounters with residents were reintroduced in ways that questioned nostalgic assumptions of a homogenous and ‘comfortable’ past. In this sense, Wise’s chapter highlights how encountering others through urban space can be as much a question of the past and its continued resonance, as of the present and its material conditions (see also Pikner this volume; Schuermans this volume). Following Wise’s account of the social and cultural politics of encounters in suburban shops, the collection moves to another space of urban consumption; the marketplace. Markets have been a common focus for work on urban multiculture and the possibilities of encounter owing to their role in bringing together material cultures, people, currencies and processes of exchange (see Duruz et al. 2011; Slocum 2008; Watson 2006; Wood and Landry 2008). However, what is less often addressed are the wider economic processes, networks and discourses that condition and further produce markets and marketplace encounters. Peter Mörtenböck and Helga Mooshammer focus on precisely this gap, by looking at the discourses, relations and governmental rationales that are encountered through contemporary marketplaces. In discussing a range of informal markets across the Global South, Mörtenböck and Mooshammer argue that through urban marketplaces and their varied relations, we encounter a politics of regulation, economic control and subversion otherwise consigned to economic analysis and macro-scale discussions on geopolitical governance and authority. By examining the logics that underpin the informal market, they illustrate how marketplace encounters play a central role in the production and maintenance of ordinary urban space. From urban encounters with economic regulation and the politics of consumption, the collection then moves to a set of economic and social relations of a very different form. Alice J. Hovorka focuses on relations between humans and animals in the city of Gaborone and argues for an alternative account of how animals and humans interact to produce and condition urban Botswana. Whilst much of the literature on encounters with animals is centred upon the conflicts that arise between humans and animals in urban environments and thus tend to position animals as a ‘problem’ (see Yeo and Neo 2010; Wilson 2016), Hovorka focuses on the urban as a site of ‘interspecies’ relations and intermingling (Lorimer 2015). Through a focus on the role of chickens, Hovorka suggests that urban relationships of reliance, co-presence, affection and even social status are mutually developed between chickens and humans. This focus on relations as mutual engagements and entanglements of human and animal life, she argues, may be a more appropriate way to conceptualise interspecies engagement. This demands a more careful

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consideration of the conflict that is inherent to a focus on encounters and which too often risks positioning animals as strange or out of place as a result. Chapter 5 shifts our attention to a longstanding site of focus; that of urban public space. In examining the changing politics of Tallin’s Freedom Square, Tarmo Pikner draws on the philosophy of Peter Sloterdijk and his theorisation of the multiple ‘spheres’ of political and social life (Sloterdijk 2011), to reimagine how public space is encountered. In this chapter, Pikner troubles the assumptions that are made about the design of public space as a site of encounter with difference by illustrating how the urban always exceeds attempts to plan, order and constrain its energies and urgencies. Exploring the multiple rhythms of the city, and how public spaces simultaneously enfold rhythms of everyday activity and temporal narratives of national progress, memorialisation and memory, Pikner argues that Freedom Square produces and is expressed through, a multitude of situated ‘atmospheres’ that shape how encounters take place. Focusing, in part, on an urban artwork installed in the Square as part of Tallin’s year as European Capital of Culture (ECoC), Pikner discusses the challenges of producing an urban narrative that captures and encompasses the multiple rhythms of urban life and politics. Pikner thus highlights how encounters with urban space are always already about excess – about that which cannot be fully ordered, known or predicted. Pikner’s focus on the varied rhythms and temporal folds of urban atmospheres naturally draws on a concern with memory and memorialisation as that which shapes the urban present. In the next chapter, Schuermans demonstrates how the enduring legacies of racial division, stereotyping and memory in post-Apartheid South Africa have given rise to a politics of ‘non-encounter’. In the context of a country where encounters across racial difference have historically been highly constrained and conditioned, the legacies of non-encounter cast a long shadow over contemporary multicultural and multiracial competencies. Drawing on empirical research with white middle-class residents in Cape Town, Schuermans illustrates how the continuing resonance of suspicion, stereotype and racialised and classed perceptions of fear, shape relations in the present. Schuermans’ chapter challenges assumptions about the site and proximity of encounter, for it is the imaginary encounter – almost always imagined as ‘bad’ or violent – that holds an affective grip over the lives of those he interviews. The city in this context, becomes not simply a sphere of splintered (non)engagement, but a space through which legacies of race, narratives of criminality and fears of strange bodies and their potentialities, circulate to produce vulnerabilities and discourses of rightful presence that positions some bodies as ‘out of place’. The question of how encounters are conditioned and constrained also finds expression in Dan Swanton’s engagement with the town of Keighley, UK. In his chapter, Swanton examines how contemporary multiculture and race are encountered through complex assemblages of rumour, material culture and embodied typologies of difference. Using ethnographic accounts of Keighley as orientation points, Swanton draws on the rich tradition of Situationist and psychogeographical writing on the city to argue for a fuller engagement with the

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more-than-human and material nature of urban encounters. Such an engagement, he suggests, has been overlooked by an urban encounters literature that has, to date, remained too focused on face-to-face encounters between ‘human strangers’. Inspired by Situationist discussions of the city, Swanton argues for a form of writing that is both experiential and embodied, to reflect upon the performance of encounters in ‘the field’. In pushing for a more-than-representational account of encounters, Swanton poses fundamental questions for future research and for how the excessive nature of the urban everyday might be engaged (see Darling 2014c). Whilst Swanton’s chapter argues for the need to be attentive to the ‘more-than human’ nature of urban encounters, the next chapter builds on such a call through examining the sensory nature of urban experience. Through a focus on the religious soundscapes of Accra, Marleen de Witte demonstrates how religion and religious difference is encountered and contested through sound. In contrast to Schuermans’ (this volume) depiction of the avoidance of encounter, de Witte’s account of the inescapable nature of religious sound, from calls to prayer and songs of praise, to drumming and amplified sermons, explores a context in which encounters with difference are unavoidable. De Witte not only furthers our understanding of the sensuous ways in which difference is encountered (Wilson 2016), but also argues for a more sustained consideration of religious experience as a fundamental aspect of city life. This is not only about encountering the visible and audible contests between religious and secular space, but about the less visible appeals to a transcendental experience of spirituality. Spirituality poses important questions for our understanding of encounters, not simply in terms of extending our concern beyond a human realm of engagement (see also Hovorka this volume; Swanton this volume), but in asking what is being ‘encountered’ in the city. Encounters become points of contact with different people and religious practices certainly, but also with an affective and transcendental realm of belief and experience that is more-than-representational in a range of ways. Moving from a concern with spirits and the more-than-representational character of the urban, to informal practices of construction and the ‘tactical’ appropriation of space, the next chapter examines the role of art practice and artistic intervention in shaping and assembling urban spaces of encounter. Here Mick O’Kelly considers how distinctions and assumptions of art practice, urban planning and political mobilisation are contested through the case of a community artwork in Sao Miguel, Brazil, which acted as a collaborative space of encounter. The chapter draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s concern with ‘minor’ politics, and de Certeau’s notion of ‘tactics’, to demonstrate how urban space is lived through the creative appropriation of materials, social relations, and modes of attachment to place, community, and collaboration. In particular, it examines how the city can become a site for artworks that exceed scripted accounts of the formal or the informal. O’Kelly thus argues that encountering the city through art practice can both mediate the power relations that structure formalised urban space and can produce new spaces for collective aspiration and the articulation of desires.

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The next chapter shifts from the context of artistic intervention to focus on social spaces of interaction and the development of Neighbourhood Assemblies in Buenos Aires. In exploring how these spaces facilitate interaction between people from different material and class backgrounds, Mónica Farías argues that the encounters promoted by such spaces produce increasingly complex understandings of difference and thus shape and reshape expectations and assumptions of differently classed social groups. In this sense, Farías’ chapter extends recent work on the formation of spaces of intentional contact across difference, from drop-in spaces to outreach work. Whilst these spaces may gradually establish familiarity, the first move into such spaces, as Farías illustrates, is always one of encounter, of risk and uncertainty. In this vein, her chapter offers an insight into the assumptions, challenges and anxieties that go into the process of opening oneself up to encounter and the gradual and incremental changes it might afford. Chapter 11 advances an understanding of the openings and closures that encounters may present by focusing on ‘security encounters’ between police, private security firms and photographers in urban space. Drawing on work in New York and accounts of urban photographers who have been stopped whilst taking photographs of the city and its infrastructure, Stephanie Simon develops a conceptual account of the ‘security encounter’ as a particular mode of urban engagement. Urban encounters of this form are shown to be both points of materialisation, where power relations are made visible, and points of closure, where power relations foreclose access. In these moments of encounter, the logics of authority, security and risk that underlie many aspects of everyday surveillance and security are crystallised and expressed, not least through their mobilisation of a projected future that is made actionable in the present. Simon’s chapter thus highlights not only how encounters can be governed by logics of security and anticipation, but how encounters themselves become tools of governmental authority. Finally, Helen Wilson’s chapter moves from an emphasis on encounters within urban spaces, to consider how cities may be encountered from a distance. In focusing on Havana, as a city that has long captured cultural and political imaginations, Wilson examines documentary encounters with images, texts, fiction and films as a way of addressing the different mediums through which people encounter the urban. Through exploring Havana’s ruins and the pervasive descriptions of time that characterise its representations, Wilson demonstrates how documentary encounters with Havana blur history, interpretations, memory and experience, whilst producing compelling expectations of the city and its ability to stage transformational encounters. In teasing out Havana’s discursive position as an exceptional city and as one that offers a heightened sensual and aesthetic experience, the chapter interrogates the notion of enchantment – as both an experience of charm and the uncanny – to focus on how encounters are conceptualised as moments of rupture. By moving beyond a concern with encounters in the city, Wilson examines how difference is sensed both visually and viscerally and how such encounters further shape and produce cultural imaginations.

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To conclude the collection, two commentaries draw out some of the book’s key contributions. The first of these, by Jeff Hou, examines the broader political context of a concern with urban encounters, and considers how they may act as a lens for understanding transcultural cities and practices. Discussing the protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and the social movements that have emerged in their wake, Hou highlights the tensions of anticipation, fear, excitement and disappointment that figure in the politics of urban encounters. Drawing on examples of how encounters may be seen to bridge socio-cultural difference, Hou argues that a concern with the encounter must keep in view the networks of dissent and contestation that challenge systematic and structural forms of oppression. In the second commentary, Colin McFarlane reflects upon the temporality of urban encounters and how their folding together of diverse absences, presences and memories may offer resources for thinking through the lived potential of ‘the city that is already there’ (McFarlane this volume). As he shows through his own experiences of returning to his childhood home in Pollok, Glasgow, encounters are topologically complex and stay with us in varying ways. Encounters, for McFarlane, offer us a lens onto both the city that already exists and the city that might become something different, through an engagement with both its futures and its pasts. As McFarlane highlights, envisioning such futures is neither a wholly collective or wholly individual experience, but rather speaks of the folding together of individual and social experiences, memories and processes. Crucially, this means taking seriously the ways in which urban encounters play a role in shaping the politics of not only what the city may be, but also ‘who gets to be part of that story’ (McFarlane this volume). References Ahmed, S. (2000), Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (London: Routledge). Allen, J. (2010), ‘Powerful city networks: more than connections, less than domination and control’, Urban Studies 47, 2895–2911. Allen, J. and Cochrane, A. (2014), ‘The urban unbound: London’s politics and the 2012 Olympic Games’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38, 1609–1624. Allport, G.W. (1954), The Nature of Prejudice (New York: Basic Books). Amin, A. (2002), ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity’, Environment and Planning A 34, 959–980. Amin, A. (2004), ‘Regions unbound: towards a new politics of place’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 86, 33–44. Amin, A. (2006), ‘The good city’, Urban Studies 43, 1009–1023. Amin, A. (2008), ‘Collective culture and urban public space’, City 12, 5–24. Amin, A. (2012), Land of Strangers (Cambridge: Polity Press).

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Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2002), Cities: Reimagining the Urban (Cambridge: Polity Press). Anderson, B. (2014), Encountering Affect: Capacities, Apparatuses, Conditions (Farnham: Ashgate). Anderson, B. and Harrison, P. (eds) (2012), Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing). Andersson, J., Vanderbeck, R.M., Valentine, G. and Ward, K. (2011), ‘New York encounters: religion, sexuality, and the city’, Environment and Planning A 43, 618–633. Askins, K. and Pain, R. (2011), ‘Contact zones: participation, materiality, and the messiness of interaction’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29, 803–821. Back, L. (2007), The Art of Listening (Oxford: Berg). Benjamin, W. (1969), ‘Paris: capital of the nineteenth century’, Perspecta 165–172. Brown, G. (2008), ‘Ceramics, clothing and other bodies: affective geographies of homoerotic cruising encounters’, Social & Cultural Geography 9, 915–932. Carter, P. (2013), Meeting Place: The Human Encounter and the Challenge of Coexistence (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Chatterton, P. (2006), ‘“Give up activism” and change the world in unknown ways: or, learning to talk with others on uncommon ground’, Antipode 38, 259–281. Coleman, M. (2012), ‘The “local” migration state: the site‐specific devolution of immigration enforcement in the US south’, Law & Policy 34, 159–190. Connolly, W.E. (2002), Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Connolly, W.E. (2005), Pluralism (Durham: Duke University Press). Coole, D. and Frost, S. (2010), ‘Introducing the new materialisms’, in Coole, D. and Frost, A. (eds), New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham: Duke University Press), 1–34. Coward, M. (2012), ‘Between us in the city: materiality, subjectivity, and community in the era of global urbanization’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30, 468–481. Crang, M. and Travlou, P.S. (2001), ‘The city and topologies of memory’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19, 161–178. Darling, J. (2010), ‘Just being there … ethics, experimentation and the cultivation of care’, in Anderson, B. and Harrison, P. (eds), Taking-Place: NonRepresentational Theories and Geography (Farnham: Ashgate), 241–260. Darling, J. (2011), ‘Giving space: care, generosity and belonging in a UK asylum drop-in centre’, Geoforum 42, 408–417. Darling J. (2014a), ‘Welcome to Sheffield: the less-than-violent geographies of urban asylum’, in McConnell, F., Megoran, N. and Williams, P. (eds), Geographies of Peace: New Approaches to Boundaries, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (London: I.B. Taurus), 229–245. Darling, J. (2014b), ‘Asylum and the post‐political: domopolitics, depoliticisation and acts of citizenship’, Antipode 46, 72–91.

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Chapter 2

Mobilising Sentiment for Multiplicity Amanda Wise

Sydney is a city of many layers; of mini cities, suburban centres, and multiple villages, each inflected with a specific character reflecting those that have inhabited them over time. Such places are often ones of contested and layered belongings. Like many cities, Sydney is bursting with diversity on a scale never seen before, yet it is one of the least divided cities in the world, with little evidence of the so-called ‘ethnic segregation’1 that is characteristic of some urban centres in the northern hemisphere (Johnson et al. 2007). Even suburbs strongly associated with a particular ethnic or religious community are almost always extremely diverse and much more so than their high streets would suggest. As a consequence of these demographic complexities, contestations over place belonging often involve not just battles over ‘old’ (in Australia, read ‘White’) inhabitants and ‘newcomers’, but a multiplicity of groups both old and new. While acknowledging the fact that ‘community’ is no longer singularly wedded to place and that people have attachments both near and far, we can also say that place and locality remain important for many people in shaping a sense of belonging. Attachments to, and sentiments about local places are often viscerally emotional, and are frequently tied to negative and exclusionary forms of nostalgia. Indeed, sentiment is at the heart of modern race politics and much everyday racism plays out in encounters with difference in diverse urban spaces. Following the work of Amin (2012) this chapter approaches multicultural ‘encounter’ as manifold. It considers the encounter to be a dynamic that is shaped by forces beyond the immediate and the interpersonal. Encounters are mediated by the material, symbolic and commercial urban landscape and the culturally specific moral expectations that people bring to rituals of civility. Taking account of these multifarious forces, this chapter takes up Amin’s (2012) argument that an ‘urban commons’ of multiplicity must be underpinned by a cultural imaginary that creates momentum and musters sentiment with affective force. As such, I reflect upon local neighbourhood interventions that aimed at mobilising sentiment towards ideas of intercultural solidarity and care. These were to enliven place identities oriented to a breathable, porous, sense of place, in turn creating windows through which intersections between ‘old timers’ and ‘new comers’ (and everyone

1 Although acknowledging this is a contested and quite loaded term sometimes used in problematic ways that ‘blame ethnics’ for self-segregating (see Bolt 2010).

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in between) might evolve. The chapter concludes with some reflections upon the practical, bureaucratic and symbolic limitations encountered. Encountering difference and the urban commons Scholars have long foregrounded the city as a key site for mediating and shaping attitudes to cultural difference, practices of citizenship, community, and cosmopolitan sensibilities (cf. Binnie 2006; Young 2011). With modern forms of urban planning clearly in her sights, Jacobs classic study ([1961] 2000] bemoans the overly ordered suburbanisation of the city and celebrates the disordered yet generative vitality of the ‘teeming street life’ of strangers. Similarly, in the 1990s, Young argued for the civic importance of encounter between strangers as a means to produce modes of respect and recognition. She viewed nostalgic and idealised calls for ‘community’ (involving co-presence and mutual identification) as deeply problematic, homogenising and exclusionary and as being underpinned by racism, chauvinism and political sectarianism (1990, 302). Critiques of ‘community’ have also pointed to the increasingly distanciated and mobile forms of human life that emerge as a result of the progress of modern capitalism (Urry 2001), and run parallel to more recent critiques of place. These have challenged the conceptualisation of place as bounded, both temporally and spatially, and include Massey’s seminal take (1993), which demonstrated the profound connectedness of locality and emphasised the relationality and interdependence of place. As such, this is a trajectory of scholarship that has moved from conceptualisations of community, place and locality as about enclosure, to a period where interconnectivity and flows were seen to erode place and community, before finally returning to more situated accounts that emphasise notions of place and related concepts of community as about both emplacement and interconnectedness. Through the recognition of flows and connection, Massey, among others, has continued to emphasise that local places still matter to people in their everyday lives and their sense of belonging. Drawing from such a lineage, recent ethnographic work on ‘everyday multiculturalism’, encounters, and situated diversities in urban spaces has sought to capture the ambivalent and multivalent forces at work on the ‘encounter’ in localities of difference. Work like that of Wessendorf (2011), Wilson (2011) and Neal et al. (2013) provokes critical reflection on the local and not so local factors that interplay in encounters with multiplicity and forms of belonging in diverse neighbourhoods. More specifically, there has been increasing scholarly attention to whether more sustained and structured encounters with difference in micro-publics such as schools, neighbourhoods, community gardens, and workplaces can help ‘habituate’ people to modes of intercultural accommodation and coexistence (Wessendorf 2011; Wilson 2013; Noble 2013; Watson 2006; Lobo 2010). In my research on everyday multiculturalism, for example, gestures of care such as helping a neighbour, sharing food, or small acts of accommodation like providing

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halal food at the work BBQ, were important in bridging difference (Wise 2005; 2009), while senses and habitus played a big part in how difference was apprehended (Wise 2010). Certain kinds of spaces like public libraries, as Iveson and Fincher (2011) have shown, act as neutral meeting grounds where coexistence occurs through shared interests and activities. Libraries, they argue, have material symbolic purpose, as a valued public service and a space of encounter. However, the impact of more fleeting encounters with cultural difference in other kinds of public space (for example parks, plazas, shopping precincts) is less certain, never assuredly positive, and always mediated despite appearances (see Valentine 2008; Amin 2012). Amin (2012), for example, is sceptical of accounts that too willingly foreground the role of interpersonal contact in public space in shaping attitudes towards the stranger. In his view, current community cohesion policy trends towards ‘intergroup contact’ interventions are ill equipped for tackling the historical weight and ‘non local roots’ of racist attitudes. These roots of racism are so entangled through the crevices of everyday life, and so omnipresent in our media and political spheres, that they demand, as a starting point, the enrichment of the ‘urban commons’.2 For Amin (2012), the ‘commons’ reflects not simply the material and obviously political, but also encompasses the symbolic domain. His vision of a ‘shared and functioning commons’ is not just an egalitarian form of participatory and deliberative democracy. He argues it must also exist as a form of cultural imaginary that has material qualities – inclusive and vibrant public spaces and good public infrastructure for a start (Amin 2012, 80). Movement towards such a vision, for Amin, requires affective force to be built through various symbolic interventions such as urban narratives, media propaganda, and folklore all aimed at ‘mustering’ collective concern and intimacies ‘including those related to the state of the urban commons’ (ibid.). This concern for urban folklore, narrative and the symbolic terrain of the city forms the basis for the intervention into encounters with difference that this chapter seeks to make. Welcome Shops, Ashfield In 2006 I worked on a ‘bridge-building’ project with the local council and a group of local Chinese, Italian and Anglo residents on a project that aimed to develop new forms of place attachment among elderly residents prone to negative forms of nostalgia. These were to develop an open, porous and more hopeful sense of place identity founded on reciprocity and care, multiplicity and mixture. The initiatives grew out of several years of ethnographic research into the Sydney suburb of Ashfield. Ashfield at that time (the early 2000s) was a somewhat decaying inner2 Whilst a number of scholars refer to the concept of ‘urban commons’ (see Harvey 2008; Eizenberg 2012; Newman 2013), a common thread is that an urban commons involves both openness and enclosure, participatory forms of local democracy and a lively public sphere.

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ring suburb of Sydney. With a stock of detached dwellings built around the time of Australia’s Federation3 in 1901, it was one of the early suburbs with middle class family homes and large backyards. In the 1960s, the area was developed and many of the larger homes were demolished to make way for blocks of walk up flats.4 The train station in Ashfield is a major stop and it is only about 15 minutes on the train, or a 10km drive, to the centre of the city. Always socio-economically ‘middling’, Ashfield, like most of Australia, was mainly White until the 1960s. However, in the post-war years, migrants from Europe, especially Italy, Greece, Poland and Russia moved to the area. Later, new groups arrived, including people from Nepal, India, the Philippines, and most significantly, China. Chinese migrants began settling in numbers in the post-Tiannanmen Square period, following the granting of permanent residency via an amnesty offered to Chinese students studying in Australia at that time. Many of these Chinese migrants originated from Shanghai and have gone on to establish themselves, in turn transforming Ashfield’s high street into a hub known as ‘Little Shanghai’. Today, Chinese born residents comprise about 10% of the overall population of about 44,000 in Ashfield, with the largest group remaining the approximately 60% of people who identified as having Anglo-Celtic5 ancestry in the 2011 Census. However, as is frequently the case in super-diverse cities (Vertovec 2015) – the situation is one of a multiplicity of small numbers and so there is a large presence of migrants from various parts of South Asia, including 1,700 Indian born residents, another 1,200 from Nepal, and sizeable numbers from Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. The census ranking of ‘top groups by number’ thus belies the super-diversity in this small suburb and indeed, the figures for the ‘Language Spoken at Home’ reveal 28 languages spoken in the area. Each of these groups has varying ties to, and identifications with, the local area. The ethnographic research unsurprisingly revealed a strong presence of White nostalgia. Anxieties were particularly targeted at what people saw as the ‘Chinafication’ of the local high street. At the time of the research, at least 80% of the local shops were Chinese stores. The enterprising and lively culture of small business entrepreneurialism among the Chinese diaspora had completely transformed the streetscape, which had evolved from an ‘all White’ strip up until the 1970s, to a mixed area of Anglo and European shops, particularly servicing Italian, Greek and Polish residents. This included milk bars, delis, green grocers, a chemist and a dry-cleaners.

3 In Australia ‘Federation’ architecture was built around 1901. The ‘Federation’ style is a local interpretation of Victorian, Edwardian and Queen Anne style, and later Art-Deco. 4 ‘Walk up flats’ are small blocks of residential flats or apartments typically of no more than three or four storeys with no lifts. They were mainly built between the 1960s and 1970s. 5 English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish.

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Figure 2.1

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Liverpool Road, Ashfield

Source: Author’s photograph.

About a kilometre long from start to finish, a stroll along Ashfield’s high street from the station towards the shopping mall is an exercise in sensory overload. Situated on a busy traffic arterial, trucks, buses, and commuter cars thunder along Liverpool Road both day and night which makes for a not particularly pleasant, and often noisy, pedestrian experience. Popular long standing shops like the Shanghai Night restaurant and the corner newsagent are familiar landmarks in an otherwise ever changing menu of shops. To my right is Koles Photos, run by a Russian émigré since the 1960s (one of the ‘Harbin Russians’ who was born and grew up in Manchuria where he played for the Czech Orchestra before coming to Australia),6 a little further along is ‘Xin Sa’ Chinese hair salon, a Chinese video and book store, the ‘Go Go’ Chinese supermarket, the ‘New Shanghai’, ‘Beijing Kitchen’, ‘Shanghai Food House’ and ‘Chinese Fast Food’ restaurants, a Chinese butchery, a betting shop, a string of $2 budget shops, a Chinese internet and gaming parlour, and the ‘Jem’ Chinese fish shop. Across the road is the Chinese 6 Mr Koles passed away in 2013. There is a small community of ‘Harbin Russians’ and ‘Shanghai Russians’ in Ashfield. In fact there is a hand drawn menu on a cardboard poster in the window of the Shanghai Night restaurant. This attests to the complex identifications and routes that pattern the area.

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‘OK’ supermarket, Ashfield ‘Fruit World’, a Chinese dumpling shop, the local pub called the ‘Crocodile Inn’, then the ubiquitous mall housing the large national supermarket chains. The restaurants along the strip feature an array of Chinese food, enticingly displayed in windows, while the Chinese supermarkets are stacked to the brim with boxes of cheap but tempting goods. Pre-packed noodles and bottles of sweet cold tea compete for space with vegetables such as Bok Choi and Gai Lan in boxes tumbling out the front doors, placed next to bulk packs of ABC tissues, cheap umbrellas and imported peanuts. It is a streetscape that lays testament to the dynamic translocal homebuilding capacities of the area’s new and growing mainland Chinese community. Several years of ethnographic work in the area elicited insights into the ethnic, classed and generational variations in belonging and sentiment toward ‘Others’. Attention was directed in particular to Anglo (White) and post-war immigrant elderly residents and their experiences of and perceptions towards the newer Chinese residents and the changes they had brought to the area. Age and social isolation were key factors feeding racism and interethnic discomfort, especially amongst long-term resident senior citizens. Many missed the neighbourhood support provided by local shopkeepers with whom they could interact. Unlike other generations, most of the elderly Anglo and post-war migrants in the study had very local life-worlds and their orientations and mobility around the city had shrunk as they had aged. Anglo seniors in particular tended to be socially isolated with relatively infrequent contact with adult children, family members or friends outside the local area. They tended to live alone or as couples and most social contact was with neighbours, at local clubs, and at the local shops. At the same time, many had lived in the area since childhood or early adulthood and had raised families there, and thus had many key life memories associated with the locality. This juxtaposition of local disposition and social isolation produced anxious feelings of nostalgia for the ‘old Ashfield’, which they tended to describe as one where ‘you could talk to the shopkeepers, where people knew your name and would stop for a chat’. Surprisingly, many of the long term resident postwar European (mainly Italian and Greek) migrants expressed similar sorts of nostalgic sentiment; Aileen: Oh we knew the shop owners and we were able to have a conversation with them about things other than things they were selling. You know, a little friendly chat at the counter, that kind of thing. (Anglo lady, late 70s)

The local elderly were deeply affected by the speed of change to the local landscape and this sense of displacement was more than social. It was deeply embodied, linked to the ways in which place becomes inhabited over time, and how orientation in place is linked to memory and familiar landmarks (Wise 2010b). For example, cultural differences in manners played a role in producing discomforting exchanges between old and new residents, particularly in relation to the local shops. Not surprisingly the language barrier inhibited meaningful interethnic

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encounters. Anglo seniors expressed a sense of palpable moral indignation, which I suggest, in part, comes from the breakdown of everyday rituals of recognition. George: I regarded Ashfield as my suburb, my shopping centre. These are my shops. My shops you had a friendly face. Today my shops have been replaced by other shops where I’m not welcome. Mostly you go into the shops as a nonChinese. And the attention is curt, off-hand, unhelpful. … Rather than cause any unpleasantness, all you can do is just walk out, and go further afield to do your shopping. (Nepalese man, longtime resident, 82).

In his classic account of interaction ritual Goffman argues that, ‘rules of conduct impinge upon the individual in two general ways: directly, as obligations, establishing how he is morally constrained to conduct himself; [and] indirectly, as expectations, establishing how others are morally bound to act in regard to him’ (Goffman 2005, 49 [1967]; Urry 2000, 81). A sense of disequilibrium arises when the ‘old rules’ of interaction no longer seem to hold. Goffman’s arguments surrounding the function of ritual code in the maintenance of social order offer some enlightenment as to why seemingly inconsequential (non) exchanges between a Chinese shopkeeper and an Anglo senior citizen produce disquiet that escalates and hooks into larger racist narratives about changes in the suburb. Goffman links breaches in codes of interaction ritual to a decline in interpersonal trust. In the context of a shop, the elderly in Ashfield had come to expect a certain order to encounters with shopkeepers and certain codes around interaction and conversation (cf. Misztal 2001). This often lent itself to feelings of moral breach. Anglo seniors would link the behaviour of shopkeepers to moral statements around reciprocity and obligation. Here, adjustment on the part of migrants in the form of gestures of welcome, conversation, the translation of signage and so on (Komter 2005), was expected by Anglo seniors who anticipated some form of ‘reciprocal’ welcome. For example; Margaret: I think I suppose, and a lot of our friends feel this way. Is that we feel that we’re offering the hand of friendship and trying as hard as we can to incorporate all nationalities. But we feel very much that it’s being rejected. That there’s not a little half-way pattern emerging. And we feel, you know some of those shops have been there for years. Many of those shops have been here for a long while so it’s not as if it’s hard for them to get something translated (Anglo lady, late 70s).

The new Chinese shops were described as unfriendly and unwelcoming and their sheer number was experienced as exclusionary and invasive; Henry: [the old shopkeepers] They were always willing to help you. They were very helpful. But these Chinese they don’t care. They only want to get your money. But they don’t give you the service that the Italian people did before. (Anglo man, late 70s).

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Whilst there was general discomfort with cultural difference and different cultural practices expressed, there was also felt to be a lack of opportunity for ethnically different local residents to get to know one another. Anglo seniors felt that the council’s celebration of local diversity and the ‘new Chinatown’ identity the local authority was promoting devalued their historical contribution to the area. They described this in terms of not feeling part of local government celebratory narratives of ‘new multicultural Australia’. This was expressed as a sense of symbolic exclusion. As an example, during one of my focus groups with Anglo seniors which was held in a council meeting room, a man in the group pointed to a mural on the wall. The mural was a rather naïve depiction of ‘Ashfield’s cultures’ – with four people of different colours in traditional costume. The gentleman complained ‘look none of them are white – this multicultural Ashfield doesn’t include us. … it doesn’t represent me. It represents something that I don’t quite relate to’. There was general agreement and chatter from the 20-odd other seniors in the room which included Anglo seniors, Greek women, a German man and a Dutch woman. Interestingly, the initial complaint came from a 90 year old Nepalese Ghurka gentleman who felt that the newcomers should all ‘assimilate like he had to’. Overwhelmingly the sentiment was that there were few places in the local suburb to which they felt they belonged. Despite the clear tensions, seniors in the study tended to speak well of ‘Chinese neighbours’ with the negative and racist sentiment being primarily linked to the changes on the Liverpool Rd shopping strip and its Chinese shopkeepers. This highlights, among other things, the importance of this zone to a sense of local belonging, which has social, material and symbolic dimensions. Shops on a local high street are seen by residents, not just as individual commercial enterprises, but as symbolic, material and social expressions of community and locality. These sites are zones of contestation over citizenship, embodied and material belonging and feed into how people make sense of everyday encounters with difference. Chinese Red or Heritage Red: the politics of ethno-symbolic codification Urban spaces are full of symbolic projections, sometimes organically evolved, and other times as a result of deliberate branding interventions by local communities and authorities, as in the case of Ashfield. During the research, a local controversy erupted over one such branding intervention, an attempt at the simplistic ethnosymbolic codification of the streetscape proposed by the council. The local paper in Ashfield ran the headline; ‘Red and Gold Unacceptable’ and the article read in part; Ashfield Seniors Committee voted against a red and gold colour scheme considered ‘too Chinese’ for the Liverpool Road upgrade. Seniors felt the red

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and gold colour scheme overstated the Chinese element in Ashfield. Councillor Vaccari reports that the seniors preferred traditional Australian colour schemes such as green and gold. The council decided on traditional earthen red and creamy yellow instead, to the acceptance of the local seniors. (Inner Western Suburbs Courier).

Without consulting the Chinese community, the local council had proposed to thematise the local streetscape in Chinese colours of red and gold so that Ashfield might become a tourist destination by creating a ‘Chinatown’ feel.7 However, as a result, the non-Chinese seniors on the council advisory committee raised concern that the proposed colours would symbolically wipe them from Ashfield. The Chinese colours going to be all up and down Ashfield … now that to me immediately says … somebody coming through would say … this is China, Chinatown … that was my reaction … It meant that my nationality was being over-written by the Chinese nationality. Eventually it went to the vote to change the colours because … there were 13 people there, Polish, Italians, George is the Asian … Vic is actually a Gurkha from WWII, so he is Indian born and … the only one who wanted red and gold was Julian [Viccari]8 who is on the Council. So we are now having a burgundy colour which is called heritage something or other … kind of maroony … burgundy colour and we are having a creamy colour – a bit of wish-wash to the cheese – and deeper than that and not plain red and gold. (Shirley, Anglo, aged 78).

Shirley’s narrative suggests that over-ethnicised symbolism in public spaces can be experienced as a codification of place belonging, and a form of symbolic exclusion. What was interesting in this case was that none of the Chinese participants in the study expressed any interest or desire for the original proposals. Indeed, the proposal came from the town planning department and elected Councillors, none of whom are Chinese.

7 Note that unlike many Chinatowns, Ashfield is a suburb established and inhabited by Chinese immigrants, and has not been subject to theme-park-like touristic interventions to make it an official ‘Chinatown’. 8 Julian Viccari was a well-known local councillor of Italian background. He runs a chemist shop next to Ashfield Station, and previously headed the Ashfield Chamber of Commerce. He is landlord for a number of the shop buildings along the main shopping strip. He is now Mayor of the neighbouring area of Strathfield.

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The account here is inevitably a partial one9 but of substance to the following discussion of ‘interventions’, there are a number of themes that can be drawn out. First is that age and generation mattered in relation to mobility and social circuits, in turn producing feelings of belonging or exclusion vis-a-vis new migration to the area and the changes to the commercial landscape that ensued. Second, that many anxieties centred on the disruption of the ritual order due to the cultural differences involved. Third, that the changes to the local high-street had both material and symbolic qualities. Considered through the lens of encounter, we can thus see that this is a case that goes far beyond the interpersonal. Rather, the material, symbolic and social productions of the commercial shopping strip shape ideas of belonging and exclusion, and these come to bear in shaping residents’ sense of attachment to place, and feelings about cultural others. Seniors, both Anglo and those from post-war migrant backgrounds, felt their sense of place-belonging diminished, as the newness of the local landscape produced feelings of disequilibrium and disorientation. For older residents, nostalgia for an idealised lost community, disorientation in the face of rapid place-change, and a decline in public amenity often produced an anxious attachment to place, and a defensiveness in encountering newcomers, which at points linked into racist discourses towards Chinese residents. Ideas around a perceived lack of reciprocity and failed obligations on the part of newcomers fed into this context and reflected culturally embedded expectations of exchange that were imbued with moral sentiment. Interventions In 2005, I was approached by the local council and asked to help develop some lowbudget interventions that might build bridges between the old and new residents of Ashfield. These interventions, developed through a working group of Chinese and non-Chinese elderly residents and were intended to re-create a sense of place connection to the area. In so doing, they set out to explore ways of producing more open forms of narrative, symbolic belonging and spaces of sociality– rather than resorting to nostalgic forms of recognition. The project employed a participatory approach involving a working party of residents from all backgrounds as well as community workers and council officers. Weekly meetings involved open-ended debate, discussion and deliberation and suggestions for ‘how to deal with the problem’ were left to the group to discuss in order to develop initiatives that would then be evolved with expert assistance. Sometimes these sessions were a bit tense and particularly uncomfortable for those Chinese members on the receiving end of racist narratives. However, a respectful process evolved and working relationships developed. The group

9

See Wise 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 for more discussion.

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decided to work on ‘place identity’ and re-building connections to the area among long-term residents. Committee members from different backgrounds were initially quite antagonistic and were determined to push forward their ideas of belonging and of how the area should look. However, over the course of a year we saw a profound shift in attitudes – through collaboration and careful deliberation we saw creative ideas and accommodation across difference occur. Indeed, by the end, the formerly racist Anglo seniors involved became champions of the local Chinese community. This is the kind of thing that ‘contact’ policy tries to make happen and in choosing to work on public space and place identity, I suspect the working party understood this intuitively. A bundle of activities were trialed. Among them was a ‘Welcome Shops’ day, promoted in the local area to attract non-Chinese residents to come in and look around, shop, or eat in the local Chinese stores. We worked with shopkeepers to help them gear up for the day. The streetscape was decorated and a glossy booklet was prepared and handed out to everyone who came. The booklet was an important element in the ‘place making / place identity’ aspect of the project. It included a map of the participating stores, recipes, and suggestions on which shops to buy the ingredients from. Having a recipe and list of ingredients then became the ‘excuse’ and practical point of going into an unfamiliar shop, and the transaction and associated advice would provide a springboard to interaction with shopkeepers. One interesting element was a twopage spread featuring the personal story of the owners of each participating shop. The stories had details of where they came from, how the shop started, but also stories of personal interest and connection to the local area – such as; ‘Fiona Zhang of Shanghai Night restaurant is married to so and so who works at the restaurant down the road, and her son runs the supermarket next door’; or ‘Mr Lee who owns Tong Lee supermarket is a regular volunteer on Clean Up Australia day, and donates prizes to the local school fete’. The idea behind the booklet and the day was to begin to ‘re-place’ long term residents to help them build a sense of inhabited knowledge of the local area. In recounting personal narratives from the new Chinese shopkeepers, the intent was to try to mimic that feeling of personal knowledge and connection that is built through getting to know local shopkeepers, and being a party to local gossip networks. The hope was that those who felt displaced by the changes would, over time, experience that walk down the high street differently and perhaps feel at some level like they were walking past places, shops and people they knew. The ‘Welcome Shops Open Day’ concept was to create a ‘safe’ and ‘sanctioned’ day where people who would otherwise feel excluded from, or nervous about, entering unfamiliar shops might be gently encouraged to explore this ‘foreign territory’. The project employed a Chinese speaking liaison officer to work closely and build rapport with Chinese shopkeepers in preparation for the day. On the day itself participating shops along Liverpool Rd were decorated with balloons and streamers. We placed student interpreters in each shop to help start conversations

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between the shopkeepers and residents who entered. There was a roving minstrel10 who went up and down the street to coax people in. Also on display that day was an exhibition of images in the open plaza – each large panel featuring a local identity well known at some point in the history of the local area (see Figure 2.2). There were ten bio-panels, all from different cultural backgrounds, but each selected because their biography featured themes of citizenship, cooperation, and cultural intermingling. For example, one panel featured a wealthy, early twentieth century Chinese philanthropist who had married a local Scottish woman – who helped Chinese as well as aboriginal causes, and donated to the local orphanage. Other panels featured local ‘memory sites’ (suggested by long-term residents) that somehow embodied multicultural connections and intersections. Another featured the Greek shop owner whose milkbar was a fixture for local teenagers up until the 1970s. As such, this was not simply about rebranding the area ‘multicultural’ (which would have just alienated all those white seniors). Rather, contemporary and historical identities were intermixed in the panels to avoid setting up a sense of nostalgia for an idealised

Figure 2.2

Welcome Shops open day with historical display panels

Source: Author’s photograph. 10 Historically, a minstrel was a medieval European musician who travelled and performed songs for money. Today, minstrels are a form of street entertainer or performer, often playing music in urban centres and, in this case, being employed to attract customers and interest to particular businesses or events.

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past. The idea here was to produce a vision of ‘now and then’ and ‘us and them’ as intricately and intimately intertwined and interdependent – rather than history as ‘progression’ and communities of difference as containerised. There are too many to describe here, but the overall aim of these interventions was to rework local narratives and the symbolic landscape and begin a process of spatial re-habituation through the embodied practice of shop visits staged as encounters. Importantly though, we were very much aware that only a small portion of the community would actually attend on the day, so media coverage of the day was targeted to broaden the audience and included commercial radio interviews, as well as features in local newspapers with well-honed key messages. In a sense, the idea was to leverage everyday practice and encounter, together with localised narratives of accommodation and belonging to ‘jump scales’, in order to enter a larger, national conversation on coexistence. There were other small associated initiatives, one of which involved exchange and encounter sessions. The Shanghai Night ‘Seniors Lunch’ involved an invitation by ‘Fiona and Yang’ – the proprietors of Shanghai Night – to lunch at the restaurant, which was the first Shanghainese restaurant in the area. Yang, the son of Fiona, acted as a kind of cultural mediator, talking to the group, explaining the menu,

Figure 2.3

Shanghai Night owners’ son outside the restaurant

Source: Author’s photograph.

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translating where needed and generally talking about China and the Chinese in Ashfield. The idea wasn’t simply to introduce Chinese food to these seniors but to provide a bridge and sense of reciprocity and welcome so that in future this group would have a sense of connection to this important landmark restaurant. Another event involved taking a busload of Chinese seniors on a morning tea visit to a local retirement home that housed, almost entirely, Anglo seniors. Their visit was much anticipated and the Anglo seniors went to great lengths to put on a welcome for the visitors. Our liaison worker attended the lunch and was tasked with interpreting and ice-breaking where needed. Although there was a language barrier, shared food and approving body language mostly eased any awkwardness. Closures, limitations, possibilities Inevitably there were limitations and things that could have been done much better. For example, the ‘Welcome Shops’, at times, overemphasised difference and cultural recognition, and slipped into discourses of the ‘good migrant’ – which only sets up the ‘bad migrant’ and a hierarchy of worthy inhabitants. There were also battles with an unimaginative council, and the challenge of working with a decaying urban space cut through by a busy road. The budget of $10,000 AUD was miniscule and nowhere near enough to realise some of the more exciting ideas that emerged through the working group process and there were no funds to continue the work or to develop permanent interventions in the way of public art. Another core challenge was communicating the complex conceptual vision – of intertwined and interdependent realities and histories; reciprocities; multiplicities – down the line of local helpers both paid and voluntary. Democratising the process of ideas generation and organisation through the residents working group process meant that it was difficult to get traction for more conceptually challenging ideas for intervention. As a result some of the elements of the day ended up falling into the old familiar ‘multicultural festival’ frame with ‘ethnic music and folk dance’ prominent among the entertainment for the day. This work in Ashfield outlines the scope for better exploring what role innovative good urban design, urban regeneration and public art might play in fostering places open to difference and emergence. Amin (2008) suggests that possibilities to inflect urban public cultures with conviviality and social solidarity may lie in the imaginative deployment of public art. Rather than ‘monumental’ civic art of the modernist era, the kind of public art interventions he highlights are symbolic projects. These are ‘oriented towards aesthetic disruption rather than hegemonic confirmation, but always in the spirit of reinventing the ties that bind’ (Amin 2008, 16) and that ‘jolt settled cultural assumptions’ (ibid., 17). Symbolic references in public spaces such as thematised colour-schemes, public art and other design elements, can be deployed in more creative ways to visually signal a place identity that references or in some way draws in the multiplicity of groups

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Figure 2.4

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Jason Wing’s ‘In between two worlds’

Source: Courtesy of City of Sydney. This photograph remain the property of the City of Sydney and is Copyright – All rights reserved. Photography: Paul Patterson City of Sydney.

who share an area. Public art projects, both permanent and temporary installations, would represent (although not literally) the multiple cultural belongings and cross-cultural unfoldings, the multiple narratives of connection and history within Ashfield as they exist in linear, parallel, layered and intertwined forms. Jason Wing’s 2011 public artwork in a laneway in Sydney’s Chinatown is reflective of this kind of aspiration. The artist has both Chinese and Aboriginal background and this mixed heritage is evident in the themes of the artwork, which comprises murals of blue ‘dream clouds’ along the laneway. These hint, in an ever so subtle way, at a Chinese aesthetic. Suspended above are illuminated blue LED-lit ‘spirit figures’, which the artist describes as half Chinese and half Aboriginal. He describes the work as paying respect to ancestors past and present and as deliberately including, while not singling out aesthetically, all the layers of cultures and peoples who have contributed to and left traces on the area that is now known as Chinatown. Material and visual elements within public spaces combine with received histories to project a sense of place identity – although often contested and understood differently by diverse publics. Contributing to a sense of place identity and public culture, research in human geography and other disciplines has articulated the interplays between the material and immaterial, and the

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human and non-human dimensions of urban space. It is increasingly recognised that the design of spaces has a bearing on the kinds of interactions that take place within them, as the urban environment and its material forms is argued to be expressive of, and able to shape, cultural and social forms (see Frers and Meier 2011; McFarlane 2011). As such, Amin (2012, 72) argues that the ‘symbolic persuasions and iconography of public space’ are projected from elements like billboards, signage, public art, the design of space, the shape of buildings, the cleanliness of streets, and the sounds and smells that circulate. These are apprehended in multi-sensory, embodied ways (Degen 2008) and have strong neurological affects ‘shaping public expectation, less by forcing compliance, than by tracing the boundaries of normality and aspiration in public life’ (Amin 2008, 15). Encounters with place are therefore dialogically shaped by the material and emergent qualities of place. For these reasons, urban interventions aimed at enlivening a sense of multiplicity and urban commons need to critically engage with current debates in urbanism, urban regeneration, urban design, and urban public pedagogy (cf.: Schuermans et al. 2012; Loopmans et al. 2012; Southworth et al. 2012). There are potentially productive lessons to be drawn from research on urban pedagogical interventions (especially through public art and urban design) that feed into placemaking and place identity. Biesta’s (2012) typology of public art as a form of what he calls ‘public pedagogy’, is an example. He divides public pedagogies into three ideal types, which have different intentions and effects: Pedagogy for the public (instruction); Pedagogy of the public (conscientisation – for example recognition and empowerment of marginalised groups), and a Pedagogy that opens up possibilities of becoming public (interruption)’ (ibid., 704). This last mode holds particular promise in dealing with urban difference. A public pedagogy of interruption ‘resists setting a pedagogic agenda or predefining what needs to be ‘taught’ … at its core is a care for a relational form of place making that is characterised by plurality … interrupting the normal order of places – without imposing alternative definitions of place. Rather, enabling new … imaginations of place and community to arise’ (Biesta 2012, 704). Literature on public art (cf.: Loopmans et al. 2012) emphasises the importance of interventions being place specific – to take inspiration from the histories of each place; and to evolve interventions in conversation with the community. Jason Wing’s piece (Figure 2.4) is an example of public art that embraces whimsy, recognises intersecting layers, and speaks to the specifics of the place. Similarly, stimulating work is emerging around ‘public space broadcasting’ and public screens, which holds similar promise (cf. McGuire et al. 2008). In short, place based interventions that hold promise are those that unsettle fixed patterns, offer space for emergent meanings, sentiments and attachments, and that complicate or challenge racialised histories of place and people. In the Ashfield case, public projections, installations or other public art interventions could productively address multiple audiences, link into the idea of multiple and

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layered histories and place attachments that exist there, and reference or engage the translocal dimensions of the neighbourhood. Conclusions Amin (2012, 79) suggests that interventions need to ‘chime with habituated experience of the city as a commons, the continual play between explication and practice, between prosaic usage of the urban commons and the public articulation of what this adds to personal and collective life’. I think at least some of what we were trying to achieve in Ashfield hints at this, although it was only a tiny step in a much longer and deeper process of re-enlivening the urban commons and rearticulating a sense of togetherness in diversity. Hage (2003) has argued that a sense of paranoid nationalism emerges from the ‘mean’ neo-liberal state that no longer adequately ‘cares’ for its citizens. He suggests that ‘the way one has been cared for [by the nation-state] shapes one’s capacity to care for others’ (Hage 2003, 29), and argues that this produces a particularly anxious and competitive form of xenophobia among neo-liberalism’s ‘white losers’. This argument in some ways can extend to the urban commons and the quality of urban space. The Ashfield project attempted to situate the locality as a ‘space of care’ – in the sense of to care and be cared for as residents; as historical subjects; and as citizens – across and beyond ethnic difference and in the process, attempted to tackle some of the anxieties that underpin expressions of paranoid nationalism (Hage 2003). The account presented here, and the exciting emergent literature on everyday multiculture points to a need for a more complex conceptualisation of multicultural encounter. The ‘encounter’ has too often been understood as occurring in temporal and spatial isolation – between individuals or even ‘cultures’. What I hope emerges from the discussion in this chapter is that the multicultural encounter is always fully-loaded. People bring preformed expectations to bear; they bring attachments and ideas of place and who belongs. They bring culturally formed expectations around rituals of welcome and interaction. Histories of place and community preface interactions. Symbolic and material projections feed into sentiments of belonging and exclusion and can evoke atmospheres of affect that come to bear on everyday forms of mixing in urban space. Local authorities and their place branding strategies mediate sentiments and feed into encounters and of course, the weight of histories of race, racism, and codes of racial sorting (Amin 2012; Swanton 2010) all play an enormous role. All of this suggests a real need for more innovative approaches to anti-racism, ‘community cohesion’, and activities and programs aimed at producing more open and inclusive forms of living together in diverse urban spaces. These approaches need to move beyond the interpersonal and encompass the manifold symbolic, material and social dimensions of urban encounters with difference.

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References Amin, A. (2008), ‘Collective culture and urban public space’, City 21(1), 5–24. Amin, A. (2012), Land of Strangers (Cambridge: Polity Press). Biesta, G. (2012), ‘Becoming public: public pedagogy, citizenship and the public sphere’, Social and Cultural Geography 13(7), 683–697. Binnie, J. (ed.) (2006), Cosmopolitan Urbanism (London: Routledge). Bolt, G., Özüekren, A.S., and Phillips, D. (2010), ‘Linking integration and residential segregation’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(2), 169–186. Degen, M.M. (2008), Sensing Cities (London: Routledge). Degen, M., Rose, G., and Basdas, B. (2010), ‘Bodies and everyday practices in designed urban environments’, Science Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Science and Technology Studies 23(2), 60–76. Eizenberg, E. (2012), ‘Actually existing commons: three moments of space of community gardens in New York City’, Antipode 44(3), 764–782. Fincher, R. and Iveson, K. (2008), Planning and Diversity in the City (Basingstoke: Palgrave). Frers, L. and Meier, L. (2007), Encountering Urban Places: Visual and Material Performances in the City (Farnham: Ashgate). Goffman, E. (2005), Interaction Ritual: Essays in Face to Face Behavior (Chicago: Aldine Transaction). Hage, G. (2003), Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society (Annandale: Pluto Press). Harvey, D. (2008), ‘The right to the city’, New Left Review 53, 23–40. Iveson, K. and Fincher, R. (2011), ‘“Just Diversity” in the City of Difference’, in Bridge, G. and Watson, S. (eds), The New Blackwell Companion to the City (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell), 407–418. Johnston, R., Poulsen, M. and Forrest, J. (2007), ‘The geography of ethnic residential segregation: a comparative study of five countries’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97(4), 713–738. Komter, A.E. (2005), Social Solidarity and the Gift (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Latham, A. and McCormack, D.P. (2004), ‘Moving cities: rethinking the materialities of urban geographies’, Progress in Human Geography 28(6), 701–724. Lobo, M. (2010), ‘Interethnic understanding and belonging in suburban Melbourne’, Urban Policy and Research 28(1), 85–99. Loopmans, M., Cowell, G. and Oosterlynck, S. (2012), ‘Photography, public pedagogy and the politics of place-making in post-industrial areas’, Social and Cultural Geography 13(7), 699–718. Massey, D. (1993), ‘Power-geometry and a progressive sense of place’, in Bird, J., Curtis, B., Putnam, T., Robertson, G. and Tickner, L. (eds), Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change (London: Routledge), 59–69.

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McFarlane, C. (2011), ‘The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(4), 649–671. McGuire, S., Papastergiadis, N. and Cubitt, S. (2008), ‘Public Screens and the Transformation of Public Space’, Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media 12, n.p. Misztal, B.A. (2001), ‘Normality and trust in Goffman’s theory of interaction order’, Sociological Theory 19(3), 312–324. Neal, S., Bennett, K., Cochrane, A. and Mohan, G. (2013), ‘Living multiculture: understanding the new spatial and social relations of ethnicity and multiculture in England’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(2), 308–323. Newman, A. (2013), ‘Gatekeepers of the Urban Commons? Vigilant Citizenship and Neoliberal Space in Multiethnic Paris’, Antipode 45(4), 947–964. Noble, G. (2013), ‘Cosmopolitan habits: the capacities and habitats of intercultural conviviality’, Body and Society 19(2–3), 162–185. Schuermans, N., Loopmans, M.P. and Vandenabeele, J. (2012), ‘Public space, public art and public pedagogy’, Social and Cultural Geography 13(7), 675–682. Southworth, M., Cranz, G., Lindsay, G. and Morhayim, L. (2012), ‘People in the design of urban places’, Journal of Urban Design 17(4), 461–465. Swanton, D. (2010), ‘Sorting bodies: race, affect, and everyday multiculture in a mill town in northern England’, Environment and Planning A 42(10), 2332–2350. Urry, J. (2000), Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Twenty-first Century (London: Routledge). Valentine, G. (2008), ‘Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter’, Progress in Human Geography 32(3), 323–337. Vertovec, S. (ed.) (2015), Diversities Old and New: Migration and Sociospatial Patterns in New York, Singapore and Johannesburg (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Watson, S. (2006), City Publics: The (Dis)Enchantments of Urban Encounters (London: Routledge). Wessendorf, S. (2011), ‘Commonplace diversity and the ‘ethos of mixing’: Perceptions of difference in a London neighborhood’, MMG Working Paper 11(9). Wilson, H.F. (2011), ‘Passing propinquities in the multicultural city: the everyday encounters of bus passengering’, Environment and Planning A 43(3), 634–649. Wilson, H.F. (2013), ‘Collective life: parents, playground encounters and the multicultural city’, Social and Cultural Geography 14, 625–648. Wise, A. (2005), ‘Hope and belonging in a multicultural suburb’, Journal of Intercultural Studies 26(1/2), 171–186. Wise, A. (2010a), ‘Everyday multiculturalism: transversal crossings and working class cosmopolitans’, in Wise, A. and Velayutham, S. (eds), Everyday Multiculturalism (Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan), 21–45.

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Wise, A. (2010b), ‘Sensuous multiculturalism: emotional landscapes of interethnic living in Australian suburbia’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(6), 917–937. Wise, A. (2011), ‘Moving food: gustatory commensality and disjuncture in everyday multiculturalism’, New Formations: Journal of Culture/Theory/ Politics 74(1), 82–107. Young, I.M. (2011[1990]), Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

Chapter 3

From Urban Talent to Commodity City: Encountering Marketplaces in the Informal Economy Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer

In modern architecture, the notion of ‘urban encounters’ has been of interest for a long time, both in practical and conceptual terms. Whether drawing inspiration from the hyper-metabolism of modern metropolises (see, for example, Koolhaas 1978), staging the parade grounds of varying politico-economic systems (Tafuri 1976), or exploring alternative formats of social organisation (Awan et al. 2011), architects have valorised the city in its material as well as lived form, as informant and reference, agentic platform and methodological tool. Today, in a world of growing cities, it is increasingly apparent that ‘the city’ is not an abstract mechanism generated by particular spatial or architectural qualities but plays a concrete role in global contestations over political and economic power. In this situation, the informal has emerged as a highly instrumental catalyst for urban encounters outside of familiar contexts, protocols and conventions. It provides a meeting point for fluctuating circles of stakeholders and the intersection of economic, cultural and social concerns. Such informal urban activity may involve the utilisation of otherwise unused urban sites, the appropriation of empty infrastructure or particular time-windows that allow alternate use of urban space. It may also involve the temporary creation of market environments that bypass the official economy and provide opportunities for unregulated economic exchange, ranging from local street vending to global nodes of informal trade. In this way, the informal highlights the performative dimension of urban encounters on many different levels. Informality in contemporary global cities is thus not simply a separate feature of urban life to be addressed from varying vantage points, but a determining variable in global power networks entangled with and embraced by a diversity of agentic forces (see McFarlane 2012; Roy 2011; Simone 2010). Of late, enormous influence over informal urbanism has been exercised by means of banking, financialisation and fiscalisation (Matthews et al. 2012). Finance economies have become a powerful motor not only of urbanisation in gentrified or segregated areas of major cities, but, more generally, of patterns of growth in the metropolitan fabric. We have been tracing these changes by looking at the multifarious currencies of informal markets across the globe, from the illicit street vending in Bangkok’s ‘red zones’ and grasshopper traders

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in North Korea, to the Vietnamese markets on the Czech border and Tijuana’s sprawling mercados sobreruedas, to name just a few (see Mörtenböck and Mooshammer 2014). With a focus on architecture as an arena of negotiation between multiple political demands, social actors and environmental constraints, we are interested in the ways in which these spaces shape and are shaped by processes of transnationalisation, transient and informal land use, and newly emerging regimes of governance. With these interests in mind, the chapter investigates how informal markets contribute to a proliferation of transitory sites in which different market actors engage in a variety of encounters outside the formal market and prerequisites of transparency and economic calculation. Looking at informal marketplaces in Thailand, North Korea and Mexico, we describe how informal trade generates trajectories in which individuals, groups and organisations begin to interact with the forces of globalisation beyond assigned sites of proscribed urban encounter. Bringing these analyses together with an evolving body of legal and political frameworks that claim authority to intervene in these sites, we demonstrate how the framing of marketplaces as informal or ‘notorious’ affects not only the kinds of encounters that take place there but also how control over urban informality has become a means to regulate far-reaching encounters between different economic interests. Hipster markets The volatile dynamics of neoliberal economic policies, epitomised by the unfolding of the global financial crisis in 2007, have triggered the emergence of a still budding, yet highly assertive form of informal trade: hipster markets. From Brooklyn to Bangkok, from California to Scandinavia, these markets play with the flair of the informal in urban space and, with their trendy offerings oriented to the lifestyle of young urban elites, are making an important contribution to the strategic dissemination of development opportunities. In contrast to the classic model of gentrification, they access the city and its possibilities not through the consumption of space but through the consumption of consumption. By turning an exceptional situation into a congenial affirmation of sophistication, hipster markets and their various spin-offs often act as material magnets in the formation of an alternative-minded scene based around sustainable development, fair trade and new social ecologies. This counter-hegemonic rhetoric notwithstanding, patrons of hipster markets arguably share a self-invested and acquisitive perspective with global capital funds in perceiving the urban environment as their playground. Feeding off a privileged setting marked by the difference between ready-made delicatessen and basic foodstuffs, customised fashion accessories and the sale of excess goods, hipster markets lend a specific lifestyle quality that makes them easily absorbable as spearheads of gentrification. By increasingly operating with emotive values, real estate speculation in the Global North readily taps into the

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revamped profile of marketplaces as leisure destinations – as places of culinary and social entertainment rather than of basic provision. The retro and second-hand aesthetics associated with hipster culture borrows from a longstanding history of flea markets as a haven for all sorts of activities. Framed as charitable events, and thereby commanding partial exemption from usual codes and standards, flea markets afford rare channels of interaction between local traditions and the influx of novel socio-economic constellations. In many Western countries flea markets have been appropriated as vital supply lines for migrant communities and have given rise to ethnically oriented markets. In Eastern Europe during the transition years of the 1990s, Soviet-era flea markets repeatedly provided the foundations for massively expanding informal markets. As with many informal markets, the more successful these places became, the more likely they were to arouse interest from other parties and, as a result, to be met with suppression. Once markets outgrow the cover provided by their designation as flea markets, often at the peak of their expansion, authorities frequently intervene and dissolve them. Moscow’s Cherkizovsky Market, for instance, had to give in to pressures from landowners, politicians, lobby groups and investors and was dismantled to make way for more profitable operations (see Figure 3.1). Similarly,

Figure 3.1

Cherkizovsky Market, Moscow

Source: Author’s photograph.

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rising costs resulting from the transformation of the bazaar-like Arizona Market in the Brčko district of Bosnia-Herzegovina into a modern shopping mall have made it difficult for many local vendors to continue their trade. The displacement of trade from public marketplaces to privately run facilities ties in with the corporate de-politicising of urban encounters. It replaces street life with the consumption of pre-scripted entertainment, arguably closing down the opportunity for the forms of unexpected encounter that are considered to be the basis for urban sociability. Whether informal markets powered by a collectively felt necessity or desire for alternative economies can survive often depends on their degree of exposure. In this sense, peripheral sites that do not compete with other usages have a greater potential for longevity. The deserts of southwestern USA, for instance, have long provided a refuge for drop-outs and people pushed to the margins of society. At Quartzsite, Arizona, a gathering point for ‘snow birds’ – retirees who tour these warmer climates in recreational vehicles during the winter months – the settingup and visiting of markets and swap-meets has become a key, unifying activity for a diverse itinerant community. As the plethora of markets organised around the exchange of rocks and other idiosyncrasies demonstrate, such temporary convergences of like-minded people engender curious imbroglios of unusual relations and value regimes. The question of control over shifts in social values and the ways in which they affect consumer behaviour and realign power structures in production, trade and consumption are at the heart of current economic contestations. The convergence of novel technologies and ascendant generations forges new cultural convictions whose market implications are yet to be determined. In this context, hipster markets lead the way in establishing new market protocols in which experiential qualities become key elements in processes of loyalty building and brand identification. Endlessly posting personal reports and visual accounts of their market encounters, customers turn into ‘friends’ who actively contribute to the scripting of a cultural narrative around emergent economic opportunities. Rather than turnover volumes, it is the number of ‘likes’ on Facebook1 that index profitability expectations and denote a crucial compatibility with other emergent, culturally defined, trade environments such as peer-to-peer exchange and services, shared use and crowdfunding schemes. The success of hipster markets in so-called emerging economies suggests a nascent shake-up of conventional assumptions about hierarchical market relations. These are no longer manifested in clear-cut geographic distributions that equate centres of power with knowledge acquisition and creativity on the one hand and areas of out-sourced production with passive consumption and emulation on the other. Rather, hipster markets might be situated in the negotiations of formal and informal practice, maintaining some elements of commercial production, consumption and exchange and subverting and jettisoning others.

1 In the case of Bangkok’s hipster mecca, Talad Rot Fai, this is in excess of a quarter of a million after four years in business.

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In this context, it is worth asking what it is that customers ‘encounter’ in such marketplaces. In short, what do market encounters constitute? On the surface, customers might encounter ingenuity, values, objects and currency, but market encounters are also about economic networks, legal categories, ideas about creative cities, modes of survival, and much more. To give an example and to develop this argument, we focus on the case of the Rot Fai Market, Thailand, a weekly night market crammed with atmospheric cafés, stalls of retro treasures, mobile foodsellers-turned-restaurateurs and live music spots promising to provide a ‘truly authentic’ experience. Rot Fai Market (Talad Rot Fai) Talad Rot Fai has brought Bangkok to the forefront of a global phenomenon of bottom-up creative cities that is usually associated with highly contested gentrification processes in the centres of old power such as New York, London or Berlin. The market’s name, Talad Rot Fai (Train Market), refers to the original site of the market, a former rail yard featuring a paved rectangular open space backed by disused railway carriages and flanked by two rows of cargo depots. The market was the brainchild of two antique dealers, who in July 2010, seeking to expand their business, leased a nine-acre site from the State Railway of

Figure 3.2

Talad Rot Fai, Bangkok

Source: Author’s photograph.

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Thailand (SRT) for a period of three years. Unable to fill the vast warehouses with their own merchandise, they started offering spaces to fellow traders. The terrain was subsequently divided up into retro boutiques, art, crafts and furniture stores, interspersed with the odd display of vintage cars and car accessories. A significant proportion of the buildings were left undeveloped, which added to the site’s sense of ‘inbetweenness’, as if it were an invitation to explore the ‘not yet’ in the light of the ‘not anymore’ of past architectural forms and modes of commerce and exchange. At the heart of the original Talad Rot Fai, occupying the former head offices of the railway yard, sat Rod’s, a restaurant/bar/music venue run by one of the market’s founders that blended smoothly into his antique shop in the warehouse. The combination of entertainment and trade at Rod’s set the tone for turning the ‘Train Market’ into one of Bangkok’s favourite places to hang out. Promising a good time is key to Talad Rot Fai’s continuing appeal at its new venue and the main reason why an avant-garde scene of young fashionistas gathers at the market. The ‘magic’ of Talad Rot Fai lies in its spatial logic of long rows of brightly coloured gazebo-type stalls, selling customised fashion items such as t-shirts, shoes, glasses, jewellery, and other accessories, which stretch between food stalls and pop-up bars at either end. Here, the emphasis is not on hunting for the best deal but rather on doing the walk along the stalls from one bar to another, which becomes a ritual of cultural communality, much like the passeggiata, the classic collective Sunday stroll in Italian towns and cities. Browsing the aisles, consuming and buying at the market paves the way for spending time with friends and experiencing a sense of cultural belonging. As Giovanna Del Negro (2004) has argued in her extensive account of the passeggiata, this cultural performance is not just an arena for the working class to create the illusion of a higher-class status, but a platform for all members of the society to take joy in new encounters and to experiment creatively with the meanings of class, gender, age or generation. It is this form of experience that markets such as Talad Rot Fai bestow on the urban young. They are places where new identities can be forged beyond the many class differences present there. So when we ask what is encountered through the market, in Talad Rot Fai we might consider how class distinctions are destabilised by forms of fleeting cultural performance as just one example that might be overlooked. Aesthetics play a key role in establishing this sense of counter-culture. In the case of Talad Rot Fai it is vintage chic, with a specific focus on Americana, which provides the basis for reciprocal recognition. With most of the goods on offer being ‘customised’ or simply scarcely sourced, the market’s flavour of uniqueness does not rely on original craft production. What matters is that Talad Rot Fai, as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk,2 provokes a captivating feeling of community that is 2 We use the German term Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork) in this context to point to the meticulously manufactured experience of Talad Rot Fai, which pertains to the totality of all design aspects of the market environment: stalls, furnishings, accessories, spatial composition, cultural performance, and goods for sale.

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shared by both sellers and buyers. The conviction that both groups contribute to the making of the place is essential for this new type of social economy to prevail. As the roles of traders and customers become blurred, business activities and enjoyment become interchangeable. This supposed dissolution of value hierarchies and the backgrounding of profit interests allows the market to be embraced as a connective cultural framework. Prioritising the lifestyle experience of its customers as its main selling point, Talad Rot Fai engages with the global market in a rather unusual way. Here, globalisation refers less to the global circulation of goods than to embracing a global cultural vocabulary of teenage lifestyles. American retro provides the basis for appropriating a ‘glocal’ identity of creative expression and a self-made environment, both socially and economically. Responding to a global taste for individual style, customized fashion replaces indistinguishable Chinese mass production. In a perhaps unintended way, the young entrepreneurs at Talad Rot Fai can be seen as perpetuating Thailand’s historically rooted policy of economic independence through a flea market culture,3 albeit in a very different fashion to that envisaged by the country’s rulers – one based not on references to a national folklore but on a fusion of global styles and iconographies. The marketplace thus facilitates an encounter with this hybrid aesthetic form. By consuming in this way and through this environment, people are able to access and encounter wider styles and influences, producing a more ‘glocal’ series of styles that are situated at the interface between global and local and experienced at the intersection between different class identities and distinctions. With these interfaces in mind, we now want to think more specifically about urban informality and its wider repercussions in architectural production, beginning with a discussion on the relationship between architecture and informality, before moving to the informal market.

3 In 1948, Thailand’s then Prime Minister, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, promoted a policy of one flea market per town. In Bangkok, the first flea market was initially held on the open field of Sanam Luang next to the Grand Palace. It was relocated several times in its early years but always remained in the heart of Bangkok’s political district. In 1982, to make space for Bangkok’s bicentennial celebrations, it was moved to its current site, a fenced-in, 35-acre lot on the grounds of the State Railway of Thailand’s former golf course near Chatuchak Park. In this historical context the flea market programme may seem paradoxical, given that in the 20th century most emerging economies sought to ban street trade as incompatible with the aesthetics of a modern Western-style state. However, while the de-facto dictatorship of Phibunsongkhram is credited with the modernisation of Thailand, his policies were also driven by an explicitly nationalist agenda. Establishing one flea market per town was meant to encourage people to purchase primarily Thai products and to cut imports, specifically from China, thus securing Thailand’s independence from neighbouring powers.

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Encountering urban informality With the Golden Lion for the Best Project of the International Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 20124 having been awarded to architects UrbanThink Tank (U-TT) and curator Justin McGuirk, it seems that urban informality has finally arrived in ‘polite society’. U-TT and McGuirk received the prestigious award for their exploration of the squatted, half-built Torre David office tower in Venezuela. As they put it, the installation at the Arsenale in Venice “takes the form of a Venezuelan arepa5 restaurant, creating – in the spirit of the Biennale’s theme, Common Ground – ‘a genuinely social space rather than a didactic exhibition space’ (Urban Think Tank 2012).6 According to the official statement issued by the Venice Biennale, the jury ‘praised the architects for recognizing the power of this transformational project. An informal community created a new home and a new identity by occupying Torre David and did so with flair and conviction. This initiative can be seen as an inspirational model acknowledging the strength of informal societies’. Spurred by the moment, U-TT issued ‘a call to arms to fellow architects to see in the informal settlements of the world a potential for innovation and experimentation, with the goal of putting design in the service of a more equitable and sustainable future’ (ibid.). U-TT may well be preaching to the converted here. Recent practices in art and architecture reveal a widespread interest in informality, which is often praised for its resourcefulness and ingenuity, its flexibility and improvisation, as well as its colourful and creative appeal (see, for example, Canham and Wu 2009; Kiendl 2008; Mukhija and Loukaitou-Sideris 2014). However, when it comes to concrete forms of architectural intervention, the most common responses to informal urbanism tend to rely on terms like improvement. In this sense, the relationship between architecture and informality seems to be a more or less clearly defined one, involving the offer of expert support to help raise the living standards of the world’s poor. But what is really at stake in the relationship between the profession of architecture and planning, and the growing realm of informality? A commonly cited goal of current planning policies is to move people from the informal sector to the formal sector, based on the idea that what the informal provides is only provisional. It is an enabling mechanism whose energetic creativity can be tapped as a force for different types of transformation and exchange. In the fields of architecture and urban planning, the informal has thus come to signify zones of neglect and potential in the urban fabric or powerful challenges to, and 4 The Golden Lion awarded at the Venice Architecture Biennale is one of the most prestigious architecture prizes honouring lifetime achievements, national participations or individual exhibits. The 13th Venice Biennale of Architecture, titled ‘Common Ground’, took place from 29 August to 25 November 2012. 5 In Venezuela, arepa is a popular sort of flatbread made of specially prepared maize flour. 6 Urban-Think Tank, press release ‘Torre David/Gran Horizonte’, 21 August 2012.

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substitutes for, the planned city. The temporary ‘informal’ use of abandoned buildings for cultural or art activities, for instance, has become a commonly accepted, and even applauded, practice in debates about urban improvement. If, however, major development projects for global sports or cultural events seem to be affected by informal settlements, so-called ‘slum’ clearances are all too often seen as the right approach. What is repressed in these discourses is the fact that informality is first and foremost linked to the economy. This correlation produces the rich tapestry of varying and contradictory framings of informality in general, and of informal marketplaces – in particular. Informal markets are the spatial requisite for the informal economy. They create a conflict-ridden terrain of access without making the principles of that access clear. Informal markets provide us not with a concept of space but an expression of social praxis. At the level of spatial production, they refer to the rampant agglomerations of grey and black markets occupying the fringes of urban structures, the mobile and cross-border networks of the kiosk trade, or the uncontrolled activities and infrastructures instigated by travelling enterprises such as the so-called ‘suitcase trade’. Such ‘grey spaces’, in which the borders of endorsement and condemnation are deliberately kept unclear, yield a new political geography, as Oren Yiftachel (2009) has argued, in which urban colonial relationships are recoded. Grey spacing, the process of creating such relationships, generates localised zones of exception that are fuelled by conflicts over the kinds of economic interactions that are wished-for, tolerated or criminalised. These are spaces of encounter, whose occasionally isolated nature can obfuscate the fact that they have become a dominant feature of structural relationships unfolding across the globe. Lending both material and symbolic form to these processes, architecture impacts on the emergence of novel kinds of economic encounters. It provides the ‘glue’ within these globally occurring yet fractured developments. That way, informal markets produce elastic and extreme material configurations, while providing habitats for millions of undocumented existences. In this context, the idea of the informal points to a complex entanglement of neoliberal technologies of government and new forms of self-organisation that is accompanying the incorporation of a ‘market mentality’ into the organisation of our socio-cultural matrix (Polanyi 1947). What has become evident in recent years through an ever-wider range of interventions in informal spaces by urban practitioners, researchers and policy-makers is the degree to which value systems attached to the informal are a matter of framing and perspective, interest and intention. Depending on political motivations and whether the prevailing perspective favours long-term economic calculation or immediate profitability, informality can be represented as an asset or an evil. It is this conceptual elasticity that allows Western think tanks, for instance, to hail people trading in informal markets in North Korea as ‘little revolutionaries’ while condemning similar activities in countries such as Paraguay, Mexico or China. As such, to encounter the informal market is to come into contact with a set of elastic institutional framings. The inconsistency of

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such framings is clearly informed by the premise that economic engagement with external actors can have transformative effects on a particular politico-economic system and that in the long run, this transformation can open up possibilities for the development of favourable economic foreign relations (Haggard and Noland 2011). The Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, for instance, has a particular stake in the marketisation of North Korea, endorsing the growth of a ‘second economy’ that produces new grassroot-capitalists to address the country’s widespread poverty and food insecurity but also to manage political and economic change in a developing market. Recent years have seen the emergence of black markets all over the country, especially in Pyongyang and in the country’s northern provinces bordering China, which have become the major hub for smuggling and black market trade. This development has accelerated since November 2009, when the government devalued the state currency at a rate of 100 to 1, aiming to wipe out informal marketplaces and the infrastructure that had emerged to support black market activity: private food stalls, roadside inns, sewing workshops and financial services such as private lending and currency exchange businesses. However, despite government efforts to curb black marketeering, the markets survived, largely because people had already begun trading in foreign currency instead of the state currency. Ironically, those who benefited most from the devaluation were people engaged in underground markets, while strictly law-abiding citizens, who were not holding large sums of foreign cash, ultimately suffered the most. According to US military reports, informal markets in North Korea have evolved into a mature and complex network that has become an important part of people’s everyday lives (Chack et al. 2012). Access to this dense fabric of political and socio-economic relations is therefore seen as crucial for US policy makers. Accessing informal markets to reveal opportunities for policy improvement is not about legality or illegality per se. It is neither about eliminating bad practices nor about righting wrongs. It is also not about acknowledging the economic effort to sustain local communities in disadvantaged areas of the world or about endorsing a process of globalisation from below. Strategic access to the complexity of informal markets is most often linked to the exercise of power in the form of an economy – to the administration of things, practices, individuals, infrastructure and wealth according to economic principles. This kind of access entails what Giorgio Agamben (2011) calls the division between a ‘general’ and a ‘particular’ economy, the split between intellectual knowledge and praxis, remote authority and governmental action. Agamben uses this distinction to analyse the hegemonic logics of the great Western powers and their paradoxical attempt to govern the world by remaining fully extraneous to it. In this way, the governmental rationality driving much of Western policy towards informal markets aims to target particular spheres of action by means of well-placed interventions. This is the global economy of government in which informal markets are embedded, an approach that seeks to govern at a remove from the context of the market itself, reflecting one means of governing ‘at a distance’ (Rose and Miller 2008).

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To this point, we have considered how marketplaces may produce encounters both ‘within’ them through their fusion of styles, objects, cultural capital and social interaction, and ‘beyond’ them through their designation as ‘informal’ sites of marginal and occasionally illegal activity. In this sense, the market both produces, and is the product of, encounters with laws, styles, people, objects and governmental frameworks that position individual consumers as parts within these wider constellations. Taking this discussion forward, we want to consider how markets, and their informal nature in particular, enable us to reflect upon how we might encounter different conceptions of the economy, the legal and the judicial. By doing this we might see how a range of logics of governance, practice and influence are encountered through the marketplace. The capital of informal markets What makes informal marketplaces ‘notorious markets’? The answer to this question seems increasingly to be based on the inclusion of such markets in a well-known report annually released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.7 These ‘Special 301’ reports list the marketplaces around the world that are deemed ‘notorious’ for violating the intellectual property rights of US companies and individuals. Be it pirated DVDs that are mass-produced and offered at bargain prices in Mexico City’s Tepito neighbourhood, fake designer clothes traded quickly and cheaply in Dubai’s Karama market or counterfeit electronics sold in Bangkok’s street markets – there are countless items one could list that cast a shadow over such marketplaces. But while trade relations are arguably subject to ethical standards, notoriety, in this context, has a more specific meaning and purpose. It is less an ethical category used to describe someone’s reputation for wrongdoing than an epistemological and legal category referring to juridical certainties that do not require more explicit evidence. In the case of the Special 301 report, the principle of notoriety has been adopted to avoid multilateral dispute-solution processes whenever foreign marketplaces burden or restrict US commerce by allegedly violating intellectual property rights. Annual reports based on industry input claim authority over determining whether violations have occurred and whether to impose sanctions on countries that do not comply with US intellectual property policies.8 The tactic of naming and shaming 7 United States Code, 2011 Edition, Title 19 – Customs Duties, Chapter 12 – Trade Act of 1974, Subchapter 1 – Negotiating and Other Authority, Part 8 – Identification of Market Barriers and Certain Unfair Trade Actions, Sec. 2242 – Identification of countries that deny adequate protection, or market access, for intellectual property rights. 8 Intellectual property-focused Special 301 investigations were initiated in the 1980s in the wake of growing merchandise trade deficits and the inability of the US to enforce free trade commitments alongside its own intellectual property standards abroad.

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marketplaces needs to be seen as part of the global struggle over newly emerging markets and growth-leading economies, especially those pertaining to knowledgeintensive production, which is highly localised in cities and represents a 70 per cent share of world trade. In the accelerating shift of economic growth from developed countries to metropolitan areas of the Global South, informal markets have become a pawn in the fight for control over contested territories, networks and alliances. As part of this ongoing contest, the USTR’s ‘Notorious Markets’ lists – with their focus on Southeast Asia and the traditional US hinterland of Latin America as well as their revealing blind spot when it comes to Africa – are producing a finely tuned geography that lays bare the ambitions and anxieties of the Global North with regard to potential investment opportunities. There is a clear pattern in these framings of ‘informal markets’ that centres on corporate interests and is driven by a combined effort of industry-sponsored research and state institutions, adding up to a much larger enterprise of remote control over markets and access to new market possibilities. What is striking about this development is that it facilitates the entanglement of two different sets of protocols. First, there are the social and economic protocols of informal trade that include various forms of self-organisation, transborder movements, bargaining, deal-making, clandestine distribution, cottage industries, and so on. Second, there is another set of protocols pertaining to technologies of permeation and disclosure: these are the protocols of confiscation, prosecution, sanctioning, selective enforcement, surveillance, indexing, monitoring and industry research. What ensues from these two intersecting lines and the ways in which they are brought together through instruments such as the Special 301 is the construction of informal markets as enemy territory, with clear benchmarks for victory and defeat, progress and backsliding. This global architecture of informal markets – its contentious ‘evidentiary standards’ and its imposed sense of righteousness or wrongdoing – opens up a theatre of activities that extends the realm of informal deals, from the economic sphere to all sorts of political claims and speculations. In this way, the activity of government yields an uncontrollable range of concomitant effects on the emergence and disappearance of large-scale informal trading hubs around the world. What emerges from mapping the typologies and conditions of informal markets is not only a cartography of the distribution of global poverty but a map of the world that renders the frontlines of late capitalism visible (see Mörtenböck and Mooshammer 2014). This cartography is one of varied attempts to govern marketplaces ‘at a distance’ (Rose and Miller 2008) through multiple routes and with Notwithstanding international legal frameworks established through global multilateral agreements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the past two decades, the Special 301 report continues to function as the most powerful form of unilateral leverage used to compel developing countries to comply with foreign trade policies favoured by the US. For the most up-to-date critical account of procedural complexities in relation to Special 301, see Joe Karaganis (2011).

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varied levels of success. As Ananya Roy (2010) has demonstrated in her extensive study of the struggles around policy agendas in microfinance, an engagement with the informal sector on behalf of centres of power is always also a question of managing the truth about dominant economic and social systems. When reflecting on the engagement of architecture with informality, it thus becomes pivotal to address both the practicalities of informal spatial production and the knowledge regimes that underpin the wider political economy of informality. There is a growing recognition of the significance of the informal in the organisation of human co-existence, in terms of both social relations on the ground and, increasingly, global interaction, with the informal sector now estimated to account for half of the world’s economic activities (see Bhowmilk 2010; Roy and AlSayyad 2004; Simone 2010). There is also growing interest in the creative power of informality, an interest that is not least geared to its capacity to mitigate the crisis-ridden logic of the capitalist system (Neuwirth 2011). Any endeavour to develop a more critical as well as more productive approach toward the problematics of informality will have to take into account a multitude of different perspectives well beyond the narrow framework of official state and industry actors. First and foremost, such an approach needs to recognise the fact that the parameters of informality are not a given but a matter of definition, that the value system attached to the informal is an issue of framing and perspective, of interest and intention (see McFarlane 2012). Challenging the standard response to informality – the necessity of external expert intervention – involves recognising that the reference points for analysing as well as for engaging in informality originate not only in realities on the ground but also at distant sites of decision-making, such as multinational trade associations, global nodes of the financial industry and elite forums of institutional politics. A new political economy of informality In light of the influential interaction between state interests and the corporate instrumentalisation of informal markets, how can the things we encounter through the marketplace – economic logics, governance frameworks, fashion styles and goods for sale – be reworked and remade in new ways through alternative connections and associations? What possibilities are there, in particular, for the creation and cultivation of the extra-economic urban encounters for which marketplaces, despite their fundamentally economic nature, appear to offer a framework? How can the political economy of informality be inhabited not only for negotiating global power relations but as an arena for producing new grounds for encounter and new things to be encountered? Decisive for the emergence of such counter-sites is the supra-individual character of efforts to shape market environments in which fairness, security and solidarity are paramount principles. This development is frequently based on a close intertwinement of economic and social interests. Based on a shared struggle to survive and a shared historical experience, numerous informal markets are so closely linked with the prevailing

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social fabric of an area that trade cannot be separated from other aspects of daily life. One example can be found in Tepito in Mexico City, a centrally located quarter that emerged from structures of self-organised trade at the beginning of the twentieth century following the Mexican Revolution. Informal production, trade and retail remain an important aspect of the quarter’s community and class consciousness, despite or precisely because of the fact that the traded goods are often counterfeits, pirated copies and recycled products. In the USTR’s out-ofcycle review of notorious markets, Tepito is therefore classed as a central repository and distribution node for illegal products destined for numerous other markets throughout Mexico. And yet it is precisely this collectively practiced engagement with originals – the appropriation of forms of cultural capital such as CDs and DVDs – that forms the foundation of the pride felt by the inhabitants and traders of Tepito. They are part of a dense social fabric that has developed around collectively generated work and culture both in spite of, and because of, the hostility they experience from the system of norms imposed by the global economy. Tepito is not only a marketplace whose informality is an expression of collective self-determination and political resistance, but also a place in which public facilities, institutions, rituals, behavioural forms and relational patterns structure what can be described as a counter-public. People such as the founder and leader of the locally based Centre for Tepito Studies, Alfonso Hernández, are playing an important role in the shaping of this counter-public by offering institutional support, helping to explain political and economic contexts and thereby ensuring longer-term orientation in the fleeting world of informal trade. In a similar way, art and literature are also helping to expand perspectives on local informality. Tepito is known for its many locally initiated literature circles, journals and galleries that engage creatively with the everyday culture of the quarter and in the process have developed distinct forms of artistic expression. This publically-oriented and simultaneously extra-economic engagement has two potential purposes. Firstly, it offers a common focus within the complexly structured reality regimes of informal markets, providing some coherence and coordination to informal practices. Secondly, it enables a space for negotiation between traders and government authorities as part of the ongoing intersection of formal and informal exchanges. Such extra-economic facilities often directly promote communication between market traders. The most common example is the radio stations servicing informal markets, which broadcast news about what is happening at the market as well as providing a mouthpiece for people involved in the market’s operation. Such information outlets can become a platform for the formation of alliances and for the public expression of the different interests involved without allowing latent conflicts to escalate. Along with the organisation of such public services, enterprises that give expression to the competences of self-organisation in informal markets also include, as a rule, the establishment of communal infrastructural elements such as sanitation facilities, water tapping points, electricity connections and street lighting. How well equipped informal markets are in this respect differs widely,

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but communal facilities in which information can be exchanged, forms of religion practiced and advice received are found in many markets that have existed over a longer period. In larger market areas, trade union offices and improvised venues for religious assemblies, such as churches, synagogues, temples and mosques, are just as much part of the spatial repertoire as special spaces for gatherings of women, young people and other groups. The constant threat to informal markets from business associations, local authorities, private investors and real-estate interests is consequently also experienced as a threat to the self-created niches in which autonomous publics can form. In order to stave off these threats, numerous local organisations have been established that lobby for the continued existence, protection and infrastructural improvement of informal markets. In many countries there are also national organisations that not only resolve disputes between individual market actors and lobby for the social recognition of informal markets but also present concrete proposals to governments on how informal street vending can be better integrated into the utilisation of public space. A genuinely transnational public sphere that operates on the level of organised associations has only recently begun to emerge in this way. The StreetNet International alliance, for example, which was founded in South Africa in 2002, comprises dozens of member organisations, most of which are based in African, Asian and Latin American countries. One of the central concerns of StreetNet International is the implementation of the Bellagio International Declaration of Street Vendors, which was formulated in Italy in 1995 at a meeting of street vendor organisations, activists, lawyers and researchers from 11 countries. A key focus of the declaration is on the development of national strategies to protect and strengthen the rights of street vendors. These strategies should improve the legal status of vendors, ensure their access to urban space, increase the level of consideration given to informal trade in urban development planning and, not least, develop adequate mechanisms for ensuring that street vendors are included as equal partners in discussions about claims to the use of public space with other public agents (governments, administrative authorities, NGOs, police, etc.). In terms of its tone and content, the street vendors’ declaration formulated in Bellagio is directed at state and city government organisations. However, it is also directed at a transnational public in the hope that if provided with greater insight into the concerns of street vendors, this public will pay more attention to the deficits of prevailing policies. Thus, while it may be state actors and the international public who are the direct addressees of the declaration, the statements it contains are also directed at social actors whose attitudes, relationships and actions are decisive for the emergence of transnational publics. A declaration of this type is thus both an appeal directed at political decision-makers (i.e., elected representatives of the public) and a constitution of a public generated by the declaration itself. As such, the Bellagio International Declaration of Street Vendors sets its sights not only on the articulation of political demands but also on the formation of a public sphere in which these demands are supported and implemented.

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Conclusion All these facets of the struggle around political action spaces show that the development of transnational publics in the shadow of the global economy is not a linear movement but rather a process to which many actors, both hegemonic and non-hegemonic, contribute. On the one hand, the geographically dispersed interplay of economic interest groups with local informants, government agencies, juridical authorities and media reports influences our ideas of socially useful production, the legitimate traffic of goods and legitimate forms of trade. On the other, the transnational collaboration of street vendors with trade unions, activists, researchers and many other groups that are part of global engagement at the level of civil society in the cause of social and economic justice is giving rise to dissident ideational worlds and alternative transnational action spaces. International conferences, educational circles, demonstrations, and cultural and artistic production9 number among the many ways in which these intertwinements are currently taking form. This shift is being accompanied by decisive changes in the paradigms, scopes and conditions of economic power. What is emerging from this situation is new arrangements of social exchange whose form, variation and distribution is affecting the relationships we have hitherto been able to discern between encounters within the framework of the community and marketplace encounters. References Agamben, G. (2011), The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government (Homo Sacer II.2) (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). Awan, N., Schneider, T. and Till, J. (eds) (2011), Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture (London and New York: Routledge). Bhowmik, S. (ed.) (2010), Street Vendors in the Global Urban Economy (London and New Delhi: Routledge). Canham, S. and Wu, R. (2009), Portraits from Above: Hong Kong’s Informal Rooftop Communities (Berlin: Peperoni Books).

9 Along with international conferences such as Contesting the Streets: Street Vending, Open-Air Markets, and Public Space, which was held in Los Angeles in spring 2010, recent years have also seen numerous artistic projects that have addressed the function of informal markets as spaces of encounter between different social interests. These include Joanna Warsza’s extensive works on the theme of Jarmark Europa in Warsaw (2006–2009), Tadej Pogacar’s Street Economies Archive (2001–2007), Oliver Ressler’s video project Alternative Economics – Alternative Societies (2003–2008) and Kate Rich’s artistic intervention in food trade systems by means of the direct trade of food products via social networks (Feral Trade, since 2003).

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Chack, A., Farr, J.V. and Schreiner, J.H. (2012), A Systems Perspective of Foreign Intervention with Regards to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea US Center for Nation Reconstruction and Capacity Development White Paper. Del Negro, G. (2004), The Passeggiata and Popular Culture in an Italian Town (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press). Haggard, S. and Noland, M. (2011), Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea (Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics). Karaganis, J. (ed.) (2011), Media Piracy in Emerging Economies (New York: Social Science Research Council). Kiendl, A. (ed.) (2008), Informal Architectures: Space and Contemporary Culture (London: Black Dog Publishing). Koolhaas, R. (1978), Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (London: Thames and Hudson). Matthews, G., Lins Ribeiro, G. and Alba Vega, C. (eds) (2012), Globalization from Below: The World’s Other Economy (London and New York: Routledge). McFarlane, C. (2012), ‘Rethinking informality: politics, crisis, and the city’, Planning Theory & Practice 13(1), 89–108. Mörtenböck, P. and Mooshammer, H. (2014), Informal Market Worlds – Atlas: Architectures of Encroachment (Rotterdam: nai010 Publishers). Mukhija, V. and Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (eds) (2014), The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). Neuwirth, R. (2011), Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy (New York: Pantheon Books). Polanyi, K. (1947), ‘Our obsolete market mentality: civilization must find a new thought pattern’, Commentary 3, 109–117. Reprinted in Dalton, G. (ed.) (1968), Primitive, Archaic and Modern Economies: Essays of Karl Polanyi (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor). Rose, N. and Miller, P. (2008), Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life (Cambridge: Polity Press). Roy, A. (2010), Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (London and New York: Routledge). Roy, A. (2011), ‘Slumdog cities: rethinking subaltern urbanism’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35(2), 223–238. Roy, A. and Alsayyad, N. (eds) (2004), Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, Latin America, and South Asia (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). Simone, A.M. (2010), City Life from Jakarta to Dakar: Movements at the Crossroads (London and New York: Routledge). Tafuri, M. (1976), Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). Urban-Think Tank. (2012), ‘Torre David/Gran Horizonte’, press release, 21st August 2012. Yiftachel, O. (2009), ‘Critical theory and “gray space”: mobilization of the colonized’, City 13 (2–3), 241–256.

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Chapter 4

Transspecies Urban Theory: Chickens in an African City Alice J. Hovorka

Introduction Understanding urban human–animal relations is central to explaining urbanization in Africa. African cities are sites of interspecies encounters and mingling that shape urban form, function and dynamics, and that transform the capacities and potential of the human and nonhuman animal dwellers that reside there. In particular, domesticated livestock animals such as chickens, goats, sheep, donkeys and cattle, serve as pivotal actors in urban and peri-urban areas given their vital role in people’s everyday lives and national development agendas. Livestock contribute to agricultural production, foodstuffs, transportation and income generation for those living within and around African cities. Yet urban livestock have snuck under academic and policy radars because they are deemed out-of-place. Not only are livestock not supposed to be in cities, they are not readily visible given their placement in, or preference for, out-of-the-way spaces and their temporary use of land (Waters-Bayer 2000). This chapter is an attempt to recognize and more centrally include animals in an investigation of urbanization in Africa so as to ‘re-imagine the breath, life, soul, and spirit of the city as embodied in its animal life’ (Wolch 2002, 722). It draws upon animal geography to offer new perspectives on urban theory that incorporate animal actors and recognize interspecies encounter and mingling as fundamental to city life. Contemporary animal geographers (see Urbanik 2012 for an in-depth overview of the subdiscipline) claim that ‘animals are the ultimate Other’ (Wolch and Emel 1995, 632) and look beyond conceptualizations of nonhuman animals as natural resources, units of production, or simply entities to be trapped, counted, mapped, and analyzed (Philo 1998, 107). They recognize that a focus on animals is essential in explanations of human–environment or spatial relations because interdependence between species is irrefutable. It is thus only right that a volume on ‘Encountering the City’ should include a substantive reflection on interspecies encounter and mingling as an important component of urban inquiry (Wolch and Emel 1995, 632; see also Lorimer 2015). The organizational structure of the chapter is as follows. First, it outlines transspecies urban theory as grounded in animal agency and the concept of encounter. Second, it highlights the role and significance of livestock in African

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cities, drawing on the re-animation of urban scholarship. Third, it examines the case of chickens and people in Greater Gaborone, Botswana, offering insights on how urbanization processes are inextricably wrapped up in human–animal relations, and revealing the dialectical relationships between chickens, people, and the city. Ultimately, the chapter conceptually articulates and empirically illustrates the value of transspecies urban theory as an explanatory framework for urban Africa. Transspecies urban theory The idea that humans are primary agents in cities is widespread in academic thought, expressed through an anthropocentric bias in contemporary urban theory. Nature as broadly defined, and animals specifically, rarely figure in urban geographical studies, a silence instigated by the Chicago school despite their application of an ecologically based model of urban form and function (Wolch 2002, 722). Yet a recent critical turn in urban studies and geography has generated distinct interest in the environment, whereby cities are increasingly conceptualized as complex inter-active products of human–nonhuman encounters, which are often formed through processes of political struggle (Desfor and Keil 2004, 70). Geographers are exploring the idea of socionature, a mixture of two essentialized categories, and challenging the object/subject binary that underlies the nature/society divide. In such work, the world can be viewed as an ‘always already inhabited achievement of heterogenous social encounters, where all of the actors are not human’ (Haraway 1992, 67). Through such lenses, geographers can acknowledge the presence and recognize the role of nonhumans in social life (Whatmore 1999, 27). Nature is ‘no longer fixed at a distance but emerges within the routine interweavings of people, organisms, elements and machines as these configure in the partial, plural and sometimes overlapping time/spaces of everyday living’ (Whatmore 1999, 33). In the urban context, some geographers are embracing a perspective whereby ‘urban’ implies a conscious living with, rather than living against, nature in cities. This urban ecology requires an ontology that moves beyond the antagonism of urbanization and nature to a position where nature is brought back into the city (Desfor and Keil 2004, 72). Swyngedouw applies Haraway’s hybrid metaphor of the cyborg to propose an ‘urban cyborg’, characterizing the city as a network of interwoven processes that are human and natural, real and fictional, mechanical and organic (Swyngedouw 1999, 66–67). The city is neither purely social nor natural, but rather is produced by socio-ecological processes that become embodied in city life. Animal geographers take these ideas further by suggesting that the ‘urban’ is inherently wrapped up in human–animal relations, such that the city itself is characterized by, and thus can be conceptualized as a product of, transspecies relations (Wolch, Brownlow and Lassiter 2000, 71). The roots of this transspecies urban theory are based on the work of Wolch, West and Gains (1995), later termed

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‘Zoopolis’ (Wolch 1998), beginning with the claim that urbanization processes, embedded in the conquest and exploitation of nature by culture, have seemingly de-naturalized the environment and left ‘wild lands and wild things’ on the margins (Wolch 1998, 119). Despite cities being built to accommodate humans and their pursuits, subaltern ‘animal towns’ consisting of animals profoundly affected by processes of urbanization inevitably emerge with urban growth and shape practices of urbanization in key ways (Wolch 1998, 125). Yet, although humans influence the possibilities for animal life in cities, the opposite also holds true. How humans think, feel, and talk about animals will shape their sociospatial practices towards these beings on an everyday basis, with important consequences for how different species are in-/excluded from common sites of human activity (Philo 1998, 51). To this end, animals are central actors in the constitution of space and place, are major elements of local and global economies (Wolch and Emel 1998, xiii), and actively shape the form and function of the city (Power 2009). Transspecies urban theory thus helps explain the urban by focusing on the dialectical relationship between people and animals. Animals, with their own realities and worldviews (Wolch 1998, 121), can be viewed as a social group bound up in a relationship with humans, generating power dynamics ranging from reverence to revulsion, compassion to control, and utilitarianism to disinterest (Tuan 1984). As I have suggested, such human-animal relationships emerge from interspecies encounter and mingling (Bolla and Hovorka 2012, 69). While encounter refers to particular moments in which humans and animals come upon one another, mingling connotes the intensive blending of human and animal lives that often goes unnoticed. Mingling is thus the relational, multifaceted, and sustained nature of human-animal encounters that occur within symbolic and physical realms; across local, regional and international scales; through political, economic, social, cultural and ecological sectors; at varying moments in time; and at different levels of intensity. Important to recognize is the transformative potential of such encounter and mingling, whereby both humans and animals can be agents of change, and can shift the capacities and potentials of one another or of the city itself. In sum, transspecies urban theory makes sense of cities as spaces of power and difference, and as places constituted by particular constellations of animals, both human and non-human, that encounter each other and mingle together (Wolch, Brownlow and Lassiter 2000, 71). Urban livestock reinterpreted Three central themes emerge when re-animating urban scholarship through transspecies urban theory (drawing upon key animal geography texts by Wolch 2002; Philo 1998; Wolch, Brownlow and Lassiter 2000; Yarwood and Evans 2000). First, that animals shape the identity and subjectivity of urban dwellers given their role in the social construction of culture, individual/collective identity, the human–animal divide, and the nature of animal agency. Second, that animals

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play a critical role in urban place and landscape formation, as well as the networks in which they are enmeshed, leaving imprints on particular places, regions and landscapes over time. Third, that animals present moral dilemmas for humans when their subjectivity and agency is seriously considered and the interconnectedness of all living creatures and environments is recognized. As such, animal geography, with an explicit application of transspecies urban theory, has much to offer an investigation of urban livestock in the developing world. In particular, when we recognize human-livestock encounters and mingling and begin to truly ‘see’ domesticated animals in African cities, we realize just how present and catalyzing they are. In particular, I suggest that six key insights emerge. First, livestock make up a significant part of the African urban population. Estimates from research in the late 1990s and 2000s note 5,000,000 fowl in Dakar, Senegal (Cardinale, Porphyre and Bastianelli 2001, 3); over 250,000 fowl and 60,000 goats and sheep in Bamako, Mali (Ghirotti 1999); 4,000 cattle, 6,000 sheep and pigs, 2,000 goats and 19,000 fowl in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (Spore 2000); and 12,000 cattle, 13,400 goats and sheep, and 375,000 chickens and ducks in Nakuru, Kenya (Foeken and Owuor 2000, 21). Recent figures are elusive with even the most comprehensive reviews of urban agriculture and livestock production falling short of providing numbers (e.g. Magnusson and Follis 2014). It is safe to say, however, that a substantial proportion of Africa’s 315 million urban dwellers (according to World Bank figures for 2010) rear animals in cities for subsistence and commercial purposes. Second, livestock are particularly amenable to the physical spaces and ecological niches presented by the urban habitat. Their ‘belonging’ in cities is largely on account of their adaptability, flexibility and thus suitability for the built and natural environment. For example, pigs can subsist easily in confined areas or areas of the city characterized by land scarcity. Cows thrive and generate milk in intensive zero-grazing urban areas, and have been described as one of the major development success stories occurring in sub-Saharan Africa (Smith and Olaloku 1998). In instances where permanent animal spaces are unavailable, livestock become mobile, using land only temporarily until conditions require them to move on. Livestock thus reconstitute and reinforce the function of urban form. Third, livestock provide essential ecological services in and around the city. This social group offers a clean-up service pivotal in residential waste management by consuming and processing organic solid waste, wastewater, or foodstuffs that would otherwise be disposed of. At the same time, however, livestock-keeping in the city is criticized for creating health and environmental hazards stemming from disease, odors, noise, waste, and road blockage (UNDP 1996, 205). This is particularly the case where management practices are undefined or where human dwellers improperly handle animals in densely populated areas. Fourth, urban livestock are intricately wrapped up with political economic structures and processes at various scales. For example, regarding the global context, Sumberg (1998) investigates the increasing presence of urban livestock as the result of structural adjustment programs. She claims that urban food systems

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are being affected indirectly by a suite of macro-level policies, and directly by programs and projects designed to encourage or broaden (peri-) urban livestock production by the development community and governments. At the national level, urban livestock in Dar es Salaam are welcomed and encouraged to remain within city limits through state policies, bylaw waivers, and extension services in order to pacify unrest among underpaid urban dwellers, sustain status of senior government officials though possession of high-valued animals, and encourage individual sustenance in the city (Mlozi 1997). Fifth, livestock are interwoven with urban social networks, actively shaping human positionality and social dynamics within the city (Hovorka 2015). For example, livestock are often associated with ‘vulnerable groups’ in African cities, such as women, especially heads-of-households and widows, children, retirees, uneducated persons, and low-income urban dwellers, who interact with livestock as a social security strategy (Guendel and Richards 2002). The undervaluation of these marginalized urban dwellers (both human and nonhuman) often reproduces their respective vulnerability. This is particularly the case for the lesser value given to smaller animals (e.g. chickens, guinea pigs, goats, sheep) compared with larger animals (e.g. cattle); the former tend to be associated with women and the household, whereas the latter with men and socio-economic status, thus garnering more attention from veterinary and government services (Foeken and Owuor 2000). Sixth, livestock in the developing world are transgressing an urban imaginary that deems them out-of-place, thus challenging human notions of modernity and constructions of urban space. The presence of this social group does not sit well with urban planners or policy-makers, who make little room for the ‘unsuitable business’ of livestock production (Gertel 1997, 51) and regard it as problematic, backward, and a sign of poverty (FAO 2001). While long thwarted and disabled by officials, livestock continue to reside in urban areas, more often than not unchecked by practitioners and local government (Spore 2000). The ‘invisibility’ of these animals is sustained by physical boundaries such as walls, as well as people’s decisions to hide or not disclose their relations with animals given the often hostile political climate (Losada et al. 2000, 420). In sum, livestock are inherently wrapped up in urban structures and processes that shape ecological functions, political–economic circumstances, and social dynamics in African cities. Equipped with these insights, the chapter now turns to an application of transspecies urban theory to a case study of chickens in Botswana to develop further understanding of African ‘animal towns’ as spaces of humananimal encounter and mingling. Chickens and the city Using the earlier reinterpretation of urban livestock literature as a springboard, this article offers preliminary insights into the role and significance of chickens in the form, function, and dynamics of Greater Gaborone, Botswana. It is based on

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data collected via semi-structured interviews and unstructured ‘farm tours’ with 109 participants in 2000–2001 on productivity levels, socio-economics, location, environmental variables, and experiences with agricultural production. Follow-up interviews were conducted in 2004 with all available enterprise owners (making up 66 percent of original participants), as well as during 2007 to document changes over time. The investigation reveals that there is a significant interdependence among chickens, people, and the city and a focus on the impacts of these relations on the city leads to three fundamental empirical insights that consolidate the six points detailed above. First, structures and processes associated with urbanization are changing the life chances of chickens, making them more visible in urban life and altering their perceived value and status. Second, a heightened and altered people–chicken relationship, whereby human urban dwellers see the value, potential and significance of these animals, means that chickens are shaping the sociocultural, political–economic, and spatial landscape of the city. Third, chickens are providing opportunities for socio-economic empowerment and positive change for Batswana (citizens of Botswana), which further enhances chicken significance and their role within the urban realm. Chicken visibility and status Botswana, like many other African nations, has experienced rapid urbanization since independence in 1966, bringing about significant changes in human settlement patterns and population distribution. Some 54 percent of the country now resides in urban areas (Central Statistical Office 2003). Gaborone alone had a population of 186,007 in 2001 (at the time of initial data collection) (Central Statistical Office 2003), and currently sits at 208,411 (World Population Review 2014). This demographic shift has been prompted by low-level rural investment, rural agricultural problems and recurrent droughts (Jones-Dube 1995, 325), as well as opportunities in waged employment, services and facilities, and natural urban population growth (Hovorka 2004, 378). Botswana faces an overly centralized economy based on diamond mining, as well as agricultural stagnation in rural areas, both of which have increased dependence on South African imports for manufactured goods and foodstuffs. In response, the government has encouraged entrepreneurship among Batswana so as to foster a more economically diverse, independent, and self-sufficient nation; new commercial agricultural sectors, including poultry, horticulture and dairying, have also been part of this initiative (ibid. 374). Accommodative yet de facto urban land-use mechanisms have formalized agriculture in and around the city by honouring previously established zoning distinctions (where the city has literally grown up around agricultural sites) or making new land available. Further, with their cultural identity firmly shaped by an agrarian-based tradition, Batswana continue to seek out opportunities to farm in the urban context (ibid., 379).

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From these political–economic and sociocultural trends has emerged the possibility for chicken life in Greater Gaborone. Commercial agriculture has increased steadily in the past decade, gaining as a notable urban economic sector. Poultry (broiler meat production) is by far the largest and most substantial subsector; of 109 commercial urban agriculture producers in 2000, 66 were in broiler production, generating over 15 million kilograms of meat at a market value of 81,451,826 pula (US$16,290,365). Taken out of these unit-of-production terms, Greater Gaborone was home to approximately 2,300,000 chicken dwellers at this time. This is a significant population increase from the previous year when approximately 1 million chickens inhabited the city; trends suggest that this demographic reached some 3 million by 2004 (Ministry of Agriculture 1999 and 2005/06). Through connections to the commercial agricultural sector, and its largely (peri)urban human practitioners, the chicken has garnered increased human attention and in turn visibility and status as embodying a means to, and symbol of, economic prosperity and social standing. In the past, chickens were largely relegated to the rural subsistence agriculture realm, while other animals, specifically cattle, were deemed of higher value both in commercial and social spheres. This delineation paralleled an undervaluation and marginalization of chickens in Tswana culture (Bond 1974 cited in Fortmann 1980). Over the past decade, however, chickens have emerged on the national development agenda as recognition of their productivity, versatility, and efficiency has grown. They were noticeably absent from the government’s Vision 2016 document published in 1997, which acknowledges and privileges beef cattle as nonhuman agents in fostering entrepreneurship, household economic prosperity, and food security (Government of Botswana 1997). Yet by the 2002 release of the ninth National Development Plan (NDP 9), chickens were featured as part of the backbone of agricultural diversification and export strategies and a means of enhancing employment opportunities, technological innovation, and household food security (Government of Botswana 2002, 187–90). Further, the document praises chickens for ‘remarkable growth during NDP 8,’ which has ‘resulted in Botswana being almost [98%] self-sufficient in [chicken] products’ (Government of Botswana 2002, 178). Chickens are increasingly considered to be indispensable to national planning and development goals within government circles. As one Ministry of Agriculture official remarked at the 2003 Poultry Exposition in Gaborone: ‘As we look forward to the Vision 2016, we realize that Botswana will need a top class of [chicken] products and diversification for competitiveness hence contribute to the achievements of food security, poverty alleviation and citizen empowerment.’ Interviews with people in Greater Gaborone during field seasons reveal that beyond national attention, chickens are valued by local Batswana. Sentiments such as ‘chickens help us as citizens contribute to the economy’ and ‘these chickens are our family … we love the chickens’ were commonplace expressions of their perceived value.

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The increased visibility and status accrued to chickens by humans, on account of the value and role of these nonhumans in political–economic and sociocultural realms has in turn instilled chickens with power and significance. Shifts in human thinking about chickens have emerged together with shifts in sociospatial practices such that chickens have transcended urban boundaries. Budding agricultural entrepreneurs have been drawn to chickens given their slight physique and adaptability to small, intensive-use spaces, easily guiding their entry into the city. Further, the transition from subsistence to commercially-oriented activities has also provided a boost to chickens given human valuing of economic production over that for the household. The multiple benefits to be accrued from interactions with chickens, for example, social status, income generation, and food security have encouraged human urban dwellers to insist on the presence of these animals in and around Gaborone. Chickens are no longer relegated to small backyard rural spaces; rather they are increasingly found in a variety of urban and peri-urban habitats, including large-scale, intensive industrial sites, occupying approximately 46 hectares of land in 2000. Chickens have increased their physical claims to space in the city as a result. Chickens shaping urban form and function The role and significance of chickens in Botswana has in essence been produced through a relational encounter between people and chickens in Greater Gaborone. Yet the opposite also holds true in that chickens are shaping the possibilities for urban form and function, through urban planning mechanisms and local economic dynamics, as well as human opportunities in the city through socioeconomic empowerment. Notably, on account of their increased visibility and status, chickens have encouraged government and planning officials to formally recognize their existence across the urban landscape. There is no comprehensive policy around chicken dwellers per se; however, urban land-use planning mechanisms in freehold, leasehold and tribal areas reflect an acceptance of these animals within city limits. Chickens have, in a sense, encouraged city officials to honor previously established land-use categories and to make new land available. Some 1.3 million chickens are located on freehold land, a designation introduced during Botswana’s period as a British Protectorate entitling human dwellers to private ownership and exclusive rights with an inheritable title deed (Ministry of Local Government, 1997, 85–7). On account of the benefits accrued from their relationships with chickens, freehold landowners have been encouraged to keep chickens on their property, and city planners have encouraged these choices by not outlawing chickens in Greater Gaborone. Some 400,000 chickens are located on state or leasehold land within the city. These sites were established several decades ago, and planning officials have been encouraged to continue supporting their presence in designated zones. The main hub of chickens is located next to Gaborone Dam, a site that was established by the government during the 1970s, and that has

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persisted despite grumblings from some state officials about the cleanliness of these nonhuman urban dwellers located so close to the city’s main water source. Yet these same individuals admitted that the benefits of having chickens in the vicinity, in terms of economic and food security, encouraged them to ‘leave [the chickens] alone.’ Finally, over 600,000 chickens are located on tribal land which is allocated to humans free of charge and is based on usufruct rights to community land (Hovorka 2004, 381). Over the past decade officials have designated land for chickens after recognizing the income-generating boost for people in periurban districts of Tlokweng and Kweneng in particular. Land designations have specifically incorporated the biophysical characteristics of chickens such that Land Board officials, as revealed during interviews, have taken into account the size, growth patterns, and density requirements of these animals to thrive in tribal zones. In other instances, officials spoke of turning a blind-eye to those chickens located in residential zones rather than zones specifically designated for animals. Chickens have thus inspired particular land-use planning decisions that have ensured their continued presence in and around Gaborone, and in turn further facilitated their visibility and status. Beyond their role as agents-of-influence in urban planning realms, chickens are shaping the local (food) economy in and around Gaborone. As exclaimed by a Ministry of Agriculture official, ‘overall the sector is flourishing … everyone is talking about [chickens] because this is the sector that is surviving!’ There is a general sense that chickens ‘continue to gain popularity and have great potential’ because of their contribution to economic development and food security efforts in the city and the nation as a whole (Ministry of Agriculture 2001, 1). Specifically, chickens have provided jobs and skills trainings to numerous human dwellers over the past decade. In 2000, 302 people in Greater Gaborone had jobs related to chickens. By 2005, 2142 people in and around Gaborone and three other major urban centres had such jobs, and 738 people were trained nation-wide in shortcourses related to interaction with them (Ministry of Agriculture 2006, 2 and 9). As central players of the poultry industry, chickens have facilitated the emergence of a solid vertically integrated economic sector, slowly earning national significance alongside diamond mining and beef production. Chicken contributions to food security are embedded within economic success and demand for chickens as a foodstuff has skyrocketed given human urban dwellers’ insistence on this ‘white meat’ as a healthy alternative to beef (Ministry of Agriculture 2006). Chickens empowering people Beyond the broader realms of urban planning and the local (food) economy detailed above, chickens are shaping and providing socio-economic empowerment opportunities for human urban dwellers in Greater Gaborone. Specifically, chickens have facilitated women’s ability to provide for their families and balance multiple roles of income-generation and household welfare by being highly adaptable to women’s circumstances in the city. Chickens require minimal physical space and

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minimal (albeit regular) care from humans so that relationships with them can be fostered while also caring for children at home. In return chickens mature quickly (in approximately six weeks) offering a fast-cash economic strategy. For low-income women interviewed, their relationships with chickens were a particular source of relief given the role of these nonhuman dwellers in helping secure finances and reliable foodstuffs in high-density residential areas, where women had access to only small plots of land. Janet, for example, whose family shared a 40-squaremeter homestead with 100 chickens in the peri-urban village of Mogoditshane, spoke of her ‘life of suffering’ that has been alleviated in part because of the amenability of chickens to her lifestyle and circumstances. As a woman facing similar circumstances, Rosa remarks, ‘I have had my kids and all of them raised and educated with the help of these chickens. They keep bread on the table, pay debts, keep me busy, and pay two laborers.’ For other women, their relationships with chickens have facilitated valuable skills-training, networking opportunities, and entrepreneurial success in the city. Kay, for example, became involved with chickens because she was ‘not too educated’ but soon was able to tap into short-courses at the Ministry of Agriculture that had previously been out of her reach. With her new skills and sense of confidence, Kay has forged further relationships within government, as well as within the private sector with poultry suppliers whose businesses are necessarily premised on human–chicken relationships. For several of the urban dwellers interviewed, in particular men, their interaction with chickens in the city allowed them to maintain their identity as ‘farmers’ and embrace their agrarian traditions within the urban context despite being removed from traditional rural realms of agricultural activity. Given the increased visibility and status of chickens and indeed the general acceptability of chickens within Tswana culture, men in the study were drawn to chickens as a means to acquire status. Interestingly, more men than women claimed to be involved with chickens as a ‘hobby’ than as an income-generating activity and the extent to which they revered these animals was clear during interviews. As Robbie expressed, ‘I feel the same joy that people do with cattle: on weekends they drive to the cattle post just to see them. I feel the same thing [with the chickens]. I want to see them, to admire them.’ To some extent, these relationships have brought about a shift in gender roles and status. Chickens were previously associated with women in rural areas and viewed as subsistence-based but with a change in status for chickens, women in the study found themselves in a position of advantage given their initial pairing with these nonhuman dwellers. Subversion of this gendered relationship with chickens was evident in a few interviews with men; as one respondent put it: ‘Around the city, poultry is a man’s job. It needs a lot of attention to look after the birds and their health, look for the market. This is demanding work.’ Chickens are also catalysts for encounters and the formation of social networks and channels of communication between different groups of people in the city, including the poultry industry and government authorities. Traditionally

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individualistic, some Batswana are embracing a collaborative approach to raising chickens and so they become catalysts for informal training, learning and information sharing. The majority of low-income persons in the study, for example, knew each other and spoke at length about their knowledge exchanges and the general trial-and-error approaches they shared with each other in order to enhance their newly formed relationships with chickens. They acknowledged that chickens had brought them together and had been a source of personal fulfilment and economic gain. Conclusion African cities are sites of interspecies encounter and mingling, which shape urban form, function and dynamics, and transform the capacities and potential of the human and nonhuman animal dwellers that reside there. In particular, urban livestock—those chickens, goats, sheep, donkeys, and cattle that are ‘out of place’—are clearly indispensable to the lives of countless human urban dwellers in terms of the income, food, transport, status and empowerment they provide. Relational encounters between people and their domesticated animals are thus not only essential, but they transform everyday lives and become key drivers of the urban. Urban livestock make up a significant part of the African urban population; they are amenable to physical space and ecological niches presented by the urban habitat; they provide essential ecological services in the city; they are wrapped up with political economic structures and processes; they are interwoven with human social networks; and they transgress an urban imaginary that deems them out-of-place, thus challenging human notions of modernity and constructions of urban space. In Greater Gaborone, chickens as a social group actively shape and have become inextricably bound up with structures and processes of urbanization. Indeed, this capital city would look and function very differently without their presence. Shifts in Batswana thinking about chickens over the past decade, largely on account of their role in national diversification and food self-sufficiency efforts, have increased chicken visibility and status, whilst the emergence of a commercial agriculture sector in Greater Gaborone has facilitated the possibility of chicken life in the city. As a result, the role and significance—indeed the agency—of chickens has been produced through this relational encounter with people. Beyond the empirical details provided here, it is important to recognize the hierarchical conditions within which people–chicken relations have unfolded in Gaborone, as well as the ways in which social stratification of both people and chickens has dictated the dynamics and outcomes of such engagements. Indeed, interspecies encounter is fraught with difference and inequality, opportunities and constraints. Encounters in the city are rooted in relations of power that create opportunities and/or constraints for different human and animal social groups. In particular, gender-species positionality as manifested in the local

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Botswana context means that women’s lives and circumstances are necessarily intertwined with chickens while men’s are intertwined with cattle. While the latter are lauded with high social standing, economic value and resource access, the former have traditionally been viewed as of significantly lesser value. Urban encounters and mingling of and between women and chickens (and vice versa) has, in recent decades empowered these social groups in terms of land access, income generation, and social status. Both women and chickens have gained visibility within the (peri-)urban commercial poultry sector on account of their deeply rooted symbolic and material pairing. In turn, however, it is particular women and chickens (urban entrepreneurs and commercial broilers respectively) that are transgressing into male realms (entrepreneurial intensive poultry production) and thus offered empowerment through such interspecies relations (Hovorka 2012). In conclusion then, this chapter offers substantive reflection on interspecies encounter and mingling as a vital component of urban inquiry. At the broadest scale, the city must be conceptualized as produced by socio-ecological processes that become embodied in city life, structures and dynamics. More specifically, animals must be recognized as essential in explanations of the urban given that interdependence between species is irrefutable and animal agency is ever-present and transformative. Humans are not the only agents in the city and this must be addressed in contemporary urban thought. Transspecies urban theory thus illuminates animals as a social group bound up in a relationship with humans borne out of the intensive blending of human and animal lives, and the relational, multifaceted, and sustained nature of human-animal engagement. Such urban interspecies encounter is ubiquitous given the breadth and depth of realms, scales, sectors, moments, and levels of intensity through and at which it occurs. Ultimately, transspecies urban theory makes sense of cities as spaces of power and difference, and places constituted by particular constellations of animals, both human and non-human. Acknowledgements This chapter, adapted from an article published in Cultural Geographies in 2008, was originally presented at a colloquium for the Department of Geography, York University (2004) and a revised version at the Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in London, Ontario (2005). I wish to thank those who attended these sessions, as well as to Robin Roth, Peter Wolf, and the Editor and anonymous reviewers for Cultural Geographies for insightful comments and suggestions. I am also appreciative of those in Botswana who support and participate in my research endeavours, in particular the Department of Environmental Science at University of Botswana, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the commercial (peri-) urban agriculture community.

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References Bolla, A. and Hovorka, A. (2012), ‘Placing wild animals in Botswana: engaging geography’s transspecies spatial theory,’ Humanimalia 3(2), 56–82. Central Statistical Office. (2003), www.cso.gov.bw Government of Botswana, Gaborone, accessed 10 June 2003. Cardinale, E., Porphyre, V. and Bastianelli, D. (2001), ‘Methods to promote healthier animal production, examples in peri-urban poultry production around Dakar,’ paper presented at the Appropriate Methodologies for Urban Agriculture, Nairobi, Kenya. Desfor, G. and Keil, R. (2004), Nature and the City: Making Environmental Policy in Toronto and Los Angeles (Tuscon: University of Arizona Press). Foeken, D. and Owuor, S. (2000), ‘Livestock in a middle-sized east-African town, Nakuru,’ Urban Agriculture Magazine 1(2), 20–22. Fortmann, L. (1980), ‘Women’s involvement in high risk arable agriculture: the Botswana case,’ Women in Development (Washington: USAID). Gertel, J. (1997), ‘Animal husbandry, urban spaces and subsistence production in Cairo,’ Agriculture + Rural Development 4(2), 49–51. Ghirotti, M. (1999), ‘Making better use of animal resources in a rapidly urbanizing world, a professional challenge,’ FAO World Animal Review 92. Government of Botswana. (2009), National Development Plan 9 2003/04–2008/09 (Gaborone: Government of Botswana). Government of Botswana. (1997), Long Term Vision for Botswana: Prosperity for all. (Gaborone: Presidential Task Group). Guendel, S. and Richards, W. (2002), ‘Peri-urban and urban livestock keeping in East Africa-a coping strategy for the poor,’ Scoping study commissioned by DFID (Aylesford: Natural Resources Institute). Haraway, D. (1992), ‘Otherworldly conversations: terran topics; local terms,’ Science as Culture, 3(1), 64–98. Hovorka, A.J. (2012), ‘The Gender, Place and Culture Jan Monk Distinguished Annual Lecture: Feminism and animals: exploring interspecies relations through intersectionality, performativity and standpoint,’ Gender, Place and Culture 22, 1–19. Hovorka, A.J. (2012), ‘Women/chickens vs. men/cattle: insights on gender–species intersectionality,’ Geoforum 43(4), 875–884. Hovorka, A.J. (2008), ‘Transspecies urban theory: chickens in an African city,’ Cultural Geographies 15(1), 95–117. Hovorka, A.J. (2004), ‘Entrepreneurial opportunities in Botswana, (re)shaping urban agriculture discourse,’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies 22(3), 367–388. Jones-Dube, E. (1995), ‘Non-metropolitan migration in Botswana with an emphasis on gender,’ in Baker, J. and Akin Aina, T. (eds), The Migration Experience in Africa (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet), 321–338.

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Lorimer, J. (2015), Wildlife in the Anthropocene (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Losada, H., Bennett, R., Soriano, R., Vieyra, J. and Cortes, J. (2000), ‘Urban agriculture in Mexico City, functions provided by the use of space for dairy based livelihoods,’ Cities 17(6), 419–431. Magnusson, U. and Follis, K. (2014), Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture for Food Security in Low-Income Countries—Challenges and Knowledge Gaps (Uppsala: Taberg Media Group). Ministry of Agriculture. (2006), Poultry Section Annual Report 2005/2006 (Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture). Ministry of Agriculture. (2002), Poultry Section Annual Report 2001/2002 (Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture). Ministry of Agriculture. (1999), Poultry Section Annual Report 1999 (Gaborone: Ministry of Agriculture). Mlozi, M.R.S. (1997), ‘Urban agriculture, ethnicity, cattle raising, and some environmental implications in the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,’ African Studies Review 40, 1–28. Philo, C. (1998), ‘Animals, geography and the city, notes on inclusions and exclusions,’ in Wolch, J. and Emel, J. (eds), Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity in the Nature–Culture Borderlands (London: Verso), 51–71. Philo, C. (1995), ‘Animals, geography and the city, notes on inclusions and exclusions,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13, 655–81. Power, E.R. (2009), ‘Border-processes and homemaking: encounters with possums in suburban Australian homes,’ Cultural Geographies 16(1), 29–54. Schiere, H., Tegegne, A. and Veenhuizen, R. (2000), ‘Livestock in and around cities,’ Urban Agriculture Magazine 1(2), 1–4. Spore. (2000), ‘Urban and peri-urban livestock production, when the ark comes to town,’ Information for Agricultural Development in ACP Countries 89. Smith, O.B. and Olaloku, E.A. (1998), ‘Peri-urban livestock production systems’ Cities Feeding People Report Series, Report 24 (Ottawa: International Development Research). Sumberg, J. (1998), ‘Poultry production in and around Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, competition and complementarity,’ Outlook on Agriculture 27(3), 177–185. Swyngedouw, E. (1996), ‘The city as a hybrid, on nature, society and cyborg urbanization,’ Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 7(2), 65–80. Tuan, Y.F. (1984), Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets (New Haven: Yale University Press). UNDP. (1996), Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (New York: United Nations Development Programme). Waters-Bayer, A. (2000), ‘Living with livestock in town, urban animal husbandry and human welfare,’ Urban Agriculture Magazine 1(1), 21–26. Whatmore, S. (1999), ‘Hybrid geographies, rethinking the “human” in human geography,’ in Massey, D., Allen, J. and Sarre, P. (eds), Human Geography Today (Cambridge: Polity Press), 22–39.

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Wolch, J. (1998), ‘Zoöpolis’ in Wolch, J. and Emel, J. (eds), Animal Geographies: Place, Politics, and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands (London: Verso), 119–138. Wolch, J. (2002), ‘Anima urbis,’ Progress in Human Geography 26(6), 721–742. Wolch, J., Brownlow, A. and Lassiter, U. (2000), ‘Constructing the animals worlds of inner-city Los Angeles,’ in Philo, C. and Wilbert, C. (eds), Animal Spaces, Beastly Places: New Geographies of Human–Animal Relations (London: Routledge), 73–98. Wolch, J., West, K. and Gaines, T.E. (1995), ‘Transspecies urban theory,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13, 735–60. Wolch, J. and Emel, J. (eds) (1998), Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity in the Nature–Culture Borderlands (London: Verso). Wolch, J. and Emel, J. (1995), ‘Guest editorial on “bringing the animals back in,”’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13, 631–638. World Population Review. (2014), Bostwana Population 2015, available at: http:// worldpopulationreview.com/countries/botswana-population/, accessed 1st August 2015. Yarwood, R. and Evans, N. (2000), ‘Taking stock of farm animals and rurality,’ in Philo, C. and Wilbert, C. (eds), Animal Spaces, Beastly Places: New Geographies of Human–Animal Relations (London: Routledge), 98–114.

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Chapter 5

Atmospheric Politics and Entangled Encounters: Freedom Square in Tallinn Tarmo Pikner

Encounters, spheres and shared terrain Encounters are about excess; they are the terrain of urban political possibility. As Amin and Thrift (2002, 27) argue, the ‘city is made up of potential and actual entities/associations/togetherness which there is no going beyond to find anything “more real”’. If we take their ontology forward, urban places might be best thought of as ‘moments of encounters’ rather than ‘enduring sites’, as ‘variable events; twists and fluxes of interrelations’, which means that spatial experiences are always open to alternative actualisations (ibid.: 30). A focus on the interplay between actual and potential is therefore crucial to understanding how urban space is always already affected by the ‘contingency of encounter’ (Shapiro 2010, 31). As this chapter will argue, this contingency is central to crystallising various formations of togetherness (Massey 2005). This contingency is significant not least because the challenges and tensions of being-together are central to our understanding of urban life. For Sloterdijk (2011), the question of being is at once a question of being-together in an environment with other people, things and circumstances (Elden 2012; Amin and Thrift 2013). Using the image of the mother’s womb as the first surrounding environment in which humans evolve, he writes of a ‘social uterus’ within which human relations might develop (Sloterdijk 2011). This metaphor of the uterus challenges us to rethink distinctions of interiority and exteriority, and to reconsider context as a fundamental part of action. Taking this forward, we might ask, ‘[w]ith what does each culture surround itself? How does a culture attain communion and distribute ambient sensibilities, dispositions and affects’ (Amin and Thrift 2013, 66)? In response, Amin and Thrift (2013, 65) suggest that we need to consider ‘space as the flow of being itself’ and as such, they use the word ‘terrain’ (as an actor and not just a background) to denote a ‘sensory and knowing field’ that forms ‘part of what it is to be human’ (Amin and Thrift 2013, 66). Terrain is therefore far more than a mere spatial category or locational description, but rather implies an interweaving between human subjectivity and material and affective spheres. In this sense ‘the two [the human and the ‘terrain’] are inseparably joined in a sphere or envelope in which one term implies the other’ (Amin and Thrift 2013, 66). This therefore reflects a sense of the irreducible and constitutive relationality of materials, affects,

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discourses and environments, which has occupied recent geographical discussions of materiality (see Anderson and Wylie 2009; Latham and McCormack 2004). Whilst a concern with the ‘terrain’ of encounters that Amin and Thrift (2013) propose is one that extends far beyond a spatially reductive focus upon the location or ‘spacing’ of encounter, there is still a need to better foreground the role of time and temporality in shaping the practice of ‘being-together’ that has concerned Sloterdijk (2011) and others in recent years (Elden 2012, Elden and Mendieta 2009). In response, this chapter seeks to explore encounters through the multiplicity and synchronicity of urban space, highlighting how practices of memorialisation, installation and urban architecture may serve to produce, effect and constrain urban atmospheres of sociality. To do so it focuses on Freedom Square in Tallinn, Estonia, in order to consider how this rebuilt square has produced – and continues to produce – micro-climates of political activity and layerings of temporality. Drawing on the work of Sloterdijk, I argue that the city square can be seen as a particular form of emergent ‘environment’ in which the bringing together of people, memorials, materials, objects and discourses, produces contingent atmospheres of sociality. In focusing on the relations that emerge in the square between the ‘material, perceptual, affective and discursive’ (Anderson and Wylie 2009, 332), I argue for the need to take seriously the ventilation of urban politics through shared public spaces. In doing so, I discuss the case of an art installation that was placed in Freedom Square as part of Tallinn’s European Capital of Culture (ECoC) programme in 2011.1 The chapter proceeds as follows; I begin by briefly outlining the significance of Sloterdijk’s work to an understanding of urban politics and urban encounters, focusing on his concern with spheres, installations and the emergent polis. I then move to discuss the temporal framing of Freedom Square to illustrate how multiple temporalities converge through the materials, discourses and individuals that constitute it. With such convergences in mind, the next section discusses the art installation, ‘Object 2011’ in order to examine how the relations of the square were reframed through the immersive practice of ‘installation’, understood as an artistic practice of engagement that blurs the boundaries of artist and audience (Sloterdijk 2005). As I argue, the value of this artistic installation lay in its ability to reshape and reframe the ‘forms of experience’ that informed engagement with Freedom Square (Shapiro 2010, 4). Through the encounters they make possible, installations of this form draw attention to the politics and practices of being1 The European Capital of Culture programme is designed to celebrate the rich diversity of culture that exists within the European Union and places emphasis on the role of culture in the development of European cities. Whilst driven by a commitment to fostering a shared sense of belonging amongst European citizens it is also concerned with promoting local, urban identities and with enhancing the image of cities ‘in the eyes of their own inhabitants’ (European Commision 2014). In 2011, Tallinn was the designated European Capital of Culture along with Turku, Finland, marking a year-long celebration for both cities.

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together, and becoming-together, which are often overlooked in increasingly restricted urban public spheres (Sloterdijk 2005). I begin though, with the work of Sloterdijk. Spheres, bubbles and foams The inspiration for discussing being through the metaphor of the sphere comes from Sloterdijk’s three-volume Spähren (Sloterdijk 1999; 2004; 2011) and later interpretations. Described as a reworking of Heiddeger’s concept of ‘being’ (Elden 2012), his work moves through a series of turbulent and stabilised ‘spheres’, which variously constitute ‘being’ in increasing complexity. Sloterdijk moves from the bubbles of the first volume, where the first sphere is that of the womb, to the globes of the second volume, working through the family home, architecture, the polis, the nation and other environments. In the final volume, this micro- and macro-spherology is followed by a plural-spherology, based on ‘the model of foam, an interlocking and multiple set of cells’, used ‘to understand connection and relation’ within and across micro and macro-spheres of being (Elden 2012, 8). In particular, the complex dialectics between interiority and exteriority are evident in Sloterdijk’s conceptualisation of the foam-city (see Klauser 2010). According to Sloterdijk, ‘each bubble resists its dissolution and integration into a whole or uniform sphere but without being opposed to or directly fighting against it since each of them requires the whole for its own stabilization’ (Morin 2009, 68). Thus, the foam-like-city, understood as providing a ‘life of connected isolation’, can describe systems of co-fragility and co-isolation that mediate interactions between the individual and the collective. By living in an apartment, for example, one is both connected to others and also isolated (Sloterdijk 2004, 255). This theoretical approach has been influential in rethinking the three-dimensional aspects of connections, in what might be called a volumetric approach (Elden 2012), shedding light upon both the complexity of social connections and the isolation that is paradoxically maintained by this very complexity. In this reading, open spaces such as squares and parks are simultaneously both spheres of being, and co-existence, and form parts of wider dynamic spheres that can form and facilitate multiple coexistences. In thinking about open spaces in this way, Sloterdijk’s (2005) example of the design and development of palm-houses by English architects in the nineteenth century is particularly useful, for he uses it as a means to illustrate the ‘atmospheric politics’ of urban democracy. The palmhouse, as a spatial form, produced an emergent ‘environment’ that was not only a natural habitat, but also formed the procedures for the technical reproduction of that habitat in relatively alien or unnatural surroundings. As such, the ‘environment’ of the palm house was an assemblage of the technical, the social and the socionatural, which created new spatial and temporal connections, habitats and relations between plants, animals and humans. For Sloterdijk (2005, 946) this emergent environment – at once natural and unnatural – has a predecessor in the form of

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the Greek ‘polis’. The polis, he argues (2005, 946), was ‘an artificial construct’, which, like the constructed environment of the palm-house, sought to address the challenge of ‘bringing numerous strangers together to coexist behind shared walls’. In this sense, the polis actualised a political belief that ‘it is possible for strangers and persons who are not related to one another to come together in one place and naturalize in a shared climate’ (Sloterdijk 2005, 946). Furthermore, it denotes the necessary production of a constitutive and shared atmosphere that emerges from meeting the challenges of keeping such coexistences alive (Sloterdijk 2005). In this manner the ‘Greek city was a greenhouse for people who agreed to be uprooted from the modus vivendi of living in separation and instead be planted in the disarming modus vivendi of living together’ (Sloterdijk 2005, 946). What we might take from this example is the way that cities – and urban squares in particular – are reliant upon – but also shape – ‘atmospheres’ and ‘environments’ of coexistence, which are neither natural nor singular but are rather the result of different technologies of formation and maintenance. City squares can be seen as shared and negotiated (symbolic) spheres, in that they express the ‘shared climate’ of being together that is so central to democratic politics. For instance, there are notable similarities between the sphere of the palm-house and the creation of experimental city gardens, which are made up of multiple realities and possible roles, whether this be a community for growing edible plants, a meeting place for leisure, a platform for creative collaborations or a node of urban renewal (Pikner 2014). Yet, as Sloterdijk (2012) reminds us elsewhere, such micro-climates of association are never singular or fixed, but rather entail multiple connections between past, present and future and are continuously reworked as different rhythms and temporalities converge in urban space. As I will argue, these connections and convergences can be contested and creatively elaborated through temporal (art) performances and interventions for varying political and aesthetic purposes. The importance of (designed) installations is underlined precisely because they can provide compromises between observation and participation. In doing so, they encourage individuals to push at the boundaries of understanding by encouraging them to immerse themselves in an artwork. As Sloterdijk (2005, 948) argues; Installations such as those with which we are familiar from contemporary art have the task of developing compromises between observation and participation. Their meaning is to transform the position of juxtaposed observation into an immersive relationship to the milieu that surrounds the erstwhile beholder. By means of installations, modern artists endeavor to strengthen the position of the work vis-à-vis the observer. If, in regard to conventional art objects, isolated sculptures or pictures hung on a wall, the beholder essentially holds a position of strength (to the extent that he can be satisfied with casting a fleeting glance in passing), the installation forces him to take a far less dominating role and compels him to enter the work. Thus, the opportunity to experience art shifts from the pole of the beholder to that of the participant.

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The value of the installation in this instance can therefore be found in its ability to open up questions about how we live with others through the process of destabilising the passive or assumptive gaze of the observer. Installations demand an engagement with the atmospheres and environments of the urban square, the polis and the palm-house. In this sense, by encountering new and different installations as critical interventions in public space, Amin and Thrift argue that we can rework ‘matters of concern as material[s] for distinctive arts of world making’ (2013, 195). Key to my argument is the suggestion that it is only through reframing how the politics of invention, affect and formative organisation are viewed that the exclusions of contemporary politics may be addressed. Essential to such a process is the need to ‘craft traction’ around different ways of seeing points of shared political concern (ibid.) and we might see one such opening for ‘traction’ in the guise of the art installation in question. Before returning to this installation in empirical detail, I want to first consider how Freedom Square may be viewed as a sphere of staged simultaneity between different temporalities, in an effort to address the demands of ‘bringing numerous strangers together to coexist behind shared walls’ (Sloterdijk 2005, 946). Freedom Square: Staging simultaneity Sloterdijk’s (2012) exploration of the multiplicity of synchronisations that both animate and constitute urban spaces of coexistence, such as courtyards, streets and squares, demonstrates how multiple temporalities are layered. Specifically, he argues that the staging of simultaneity takes place in two ways. Firstly, as a ‘culture of currentness’, in which ‘the synchronous culture combs daily through the threads of events in global events to find those knots and differences that stand out sufficiently to attract attention’. And secondly, ‘as an anniversary culture’, that ‘ensures that we maintain the same distance from all regionally powerful events from the past. It asserts the rule that all things which once advanced history as potencies and events are now transformed into homogeneous anniversary material’ (Sloterdijk 2012, 173). In relation to the established rhythms and (contested) imprints of Freedom Square, the redrawing of distances from historical events is made most visible by two statues relating to the Estonian state’s independence. Firstly, the Freedom Clock shows the current time, whilst also counting the years since the Estonian state gained independence. Secondly, the War of Independence Victory Column, established in 2009, memorialises the Freedom War (1918–20), which created the basis for the independent Estonian state. Positioned on an elevated part of the square, this memorial was described by one of the square’s architects as a ‘totemlike monument’ that is ‘part of another world, part of memory’ and one that works to keep that memory and power alive (Alver and Rünkla 2012). These monuments and memorials are materialised as ‘places’ that shape collective memory and nation-building (Tamm 2012; 2013). Yet, before critically

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evaluating these iconic symbols, there is a need to situate them within the wider urban dimensions, meanings and cultural practices of the contemporary square. To borrow Stewart’s words, city squares and their ‘ordinary affects’ might be considered ‘contact zones where the over determinations of circulations, events, conditions, technologies, and flows of power literally take place’ (Stewart 2007, 3). Thus, whilst cities are artefacts of the state, they ‘always exceed’ this dimension (Amin and Thrift 2002, 30). For example, we might consider ‘how particular spaces resonate, [and] obtain their particular “atmosphere”, so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts’ (Thrift 2008, 16). According to Sloterdijk (2009; 2012), particular forms of resonance can be contingently created through spatial installations, which synchronise places and redistribute affinities. This means that bubble-like installations assemble particular distances in time and transform dimensions of proximity in urban space (see Klauser 2010). Thus, certain objects, materials and sensibilities are held together and become publicly visible. In the case of these two monuments, this illustrates a concern with both memorising the painful birth of the nation (state) and maintaining an anniversary culture through the staging of simultaneity. These materialised concerns and different temporalities, generate frictions while being incorporated into the dynamic fabric of the city. What emerges is a constantly shifting culture of currentness that runs alongside the anniversary culture of the memorialised city. The synchronisation of temporalities is also evident in the story that has been constructed to recount the history of Freedom Square, which is made public in the underground pedestrian-tunnel that leads to the square through a series of public information posters. The first poster claims that the square is ‘a result of both long planning and coincidence’ and that it came into being in the middle of the nineteenth century when the original ‘zone of entrenchment’ that had existed on the site had ‘lost its military significance’. As a result, the space ‘had to be reintroduced into civilian use’. Other European cities have faced a similar challenge of transition, but unlike other cities, Tallinn did not have the money for great landscape planning. As such, ‘a hay and wood market was established’ as a place of gathering and the site for the commercial unification of town and country. Later, the square was sacralised by the building of the Church of Johannes (inaugurated in 1867) and then explicitly politicised when the Russian Empire named it after Peter the Great and erected a monument in his name in 1910.2 It is remarkable, however, that not one of the posters mentions Estonia’s half century Soviet-period, during which the square was known as Victory Square.3 The absence of this contested history speaks volumes about the Estonian ‘monumental-memory landscape’ and the competing interpretations and emotive power that it evokes (Tamm 2013). 2 Peter the Great ruled the Russian Empire between 1682 and 1721. The monument was later melted and recycled following Estonian Independence in 1922. 3 Some mass gatherings on the square during the Soviet period can be seen in photos on the wall of the nearby ‘Wabaduse’ cafe (which was originally named ‘Moskow’). These, however are a notable exception.

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This came to the fore in April 2007 when a Soviet World War II monument, the ‘Bronze Soldier’, was relocated to an army cemetery on the outskirts of the city from its position a few hundred metres from the square. This move led to some of the worst riots in the city’s recent history, for whilst the monument was a symbol of occupation for ethnic Estonians, for the Russian community, it symbolised the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany and was thus strongly linked to their claims to identity and belonging. Alongside the square’s history, the display outlines what the square should be as a common or shared space and includes a list of guidelines for the squares use. First, the square should be an open, car-free urban space. Second, it should be a prominent, representative square where it is ‘possible to organise the most festive [of] processions’ in order to confirm and celebrate the continuity of the Estonian nation-state. Third, it should be possible to use the square for different social and cultural activities and finally, it should bring together the square’s past and future. Whilst these four guidelines are intertwined, my intention is to decentre the second agreement – that of aiming to confirm the state’s continuity and with this in mind, I want to move from the underground exhibition to focus on the current city square. Freedom Square today For many people, today’s square is a throughway. Yet the architects of Freedom Square described it as a situation akin to a chessboard – a situation where the possible steps are already outlined, but where the number and combination of moves are entirely open (Alver and Rünkla 2012). Old photos indicate that at the beginning of the twentieth century, trams and cars were able to park on the square (see Olander 2012) and indeed, in Soviet times, cars fully occupied it, with the exception of some festive celebrations (see Figure 5.1). During this time, the open space of the square was fragmented into the individual cabins of cars, a situation that continued for more than a decade after the collapse of the Soviet regime. Taking this example, we might think of Sloterdijk’s (2004, 61) description of cars in a traffic jam, as having the tendency to ‘co-isolate’ and produce patterns of ‘cocooning-forms’. Yet on the basis that parked cars prevent the gathering of people and other entities, a civic initiative contested their presence on 15 May, 2006. Members of Prussakov Union gathered a mass of people to occupy carparking plots with their bicycles during peak-hours. One participant rolled out a scarf, on which was written ‘Park(la)’ (a play on words indicating a processual move from a car parking slot to a public park). Whilst this action prompted conflict and calls for its classification as an unregistered protest, in common with similar ‘Critical Mass’ protests across Europe and North America (see Furness 2007), it served to highlight the gap between rhetoric and practice regarding Tallinn’s desire to become a ‘green city’ and to promote truly ‘public’ spaces. As a result, cars are now directed to an underground parking lot, which has redistributed the traces of these ‘cocoon-like’ vehicles.

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Figure 5.1

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The Square of Victory in 1980–90, Tallinn

Source: Estonian National Museum digital archive, ERM Fk 2644:16151; copyright permission from the Estonian National Museum.

The general relations between a ‘culture of currentness’ and an ‘anniversary culture’ in the square can be seen in the kinds of public events that are granted permits by the municipality (Tallinn municipality 2013). Annual anniversary celebrations are mainly concerned with the maintenance and continuity of the independent state and nation. For example, about 20,000 candles are lit on 25 March to commemorate the war-dead of 1949. Whilst annual festivals such as the ‘Days of Old City’ and ‘World-day’ contribute to the event-space of the square, the ‘culture of currentness’ is largely associated with sports, including the accommodation of club activities such as table tennis and the screening of World Cup football and the Olympic Games. The micro-climate of Tallinn is also captured on a national weather site, which provides up-to-the-minute weather conditions

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and live-video streams of Freedom Square (see Ilm.ee 2014). This ‘live’ stream is slightly stilted, fragmented into four-second bursts, during which the picture stands still. People walk over the square, passengers board buses, cars pass-by and street-lights illuminate the square, whilst the Victory Column is singled out with dramatic lighting. This mediated view from a website is surrounded by blinking advertisements that compete for the viewers’ attention. Taken together, it is clear that the relative void of the square has the capacity to become part of the simultaneous assembling of pasts, presents and futures, all of which are inherently fragile. The fragility of these temporalities is made especially visible in moments of rupture, which might include the premature cleaning of burning memory-candles, the interference of TV broadcast signals during a sports game or the stilted presentation of a ‘live’ video stream. Having outlined the staged simultaneity between different temporalities, I now want to focus on the temporary installation of ‘Object 2011’. A glass cupola: Encounters within and through a temporary installation Amin and Thrift (2002, 153) argue that good urban design solutions can work to create ‘breathing spaces – places where people can remove themselves from the rush and noise, and slow down’. These spaces are created, for example, by the placement of street benches, parks or participatory installations. If public spaces block relaxed “breathing”, then people are likely to retreat to protective spheres such as car cabins or immersive mobile communication tools. The term ‘atmospheric’ has also been used to refer to the ventilation of politics and to technologically mediated settings in urban contexts (Sloterdijk, 1999; see also Amin 2015; Thrift 2008). Taking these ideas forward, I want to focus on how a temporary installation called ‘Object 2011’ contributed to the ventilation of politics and the redistribution and reworking of (urban) intimacy in Freedom Square. Installations in public space create potential, for as Sloterdijk argues, ‘entrepreneurs and artists do not guard or conserve what “there is”; they unleash and create works from what has never existed in that form, constantly repulsing the given’ (Sloterdijk 2012, 180). In this sense, installations of this form act as political and cultural experiments as much as artistic interventions. They challenge urban imaginaries and push the bounds of popular perception by encouraging those encountering the installation to reconsider their engagement with the city around them. In this way, “Object 2011” provided a very different form of cocoon to the kind created by the private cars that occupied the square in the past. My own initial engagement with the installation is outlined in the following account from my research diary; It is early March. ‘Object 2011’, a lighted glass cupola, stands in the middle of Freedom Square, where it accommodates one person. The transparent cupola or ‘bubble’ is surrounded by snow. People pass by and some slow down out of curiosity. If one looks closely, one can see a temporary environment – some

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Encountering the City green grass, a comfortable beach chair and some plants. The cupola acts like a greenhouse, creating artificial conditions of warmth, light and humidity (Research diary 2011). The installation was introduced by the accompanying video trailer in the following terms; Life is a series of small problems. If it’s dark, how do you make it light? If it’s cramped, where do you find space? … If it’s stuffy, where do you get some air? If you have form, where do you find content? And in the northern climate of Estonia, if it’s cold, how do you make yourself warm? Sometimes it seems as though it’s impossible to find answers to these questions. But sometimes you need to put the impossible to the test, even though the result may be as suicidal as wearing nothing but a tie, however stylish, against the cold (Tallinn 2011 Program).

During its installation, a wide range of people were invited to inhabit the cupola by the curators, who sent a call to 1,000 individuals broadly related to the fields of art and urban culture in Estonia. In total, 362 people spent an hour in the object between the end of February and the end of March 2011. The aim of the installation was ambitious, claiming to: … condense the entire Estonian art world into one work. The installation focuses on people. It attempts to bring this living art as close to the people of the city as possible, in the most direct sense of the word – and at its deepest and most immediate level (Tallinn 2011 Program).

In essence, this was an attempt to produce a condensed vision and exhibition of the Estonian art world by making visible its central practitioners. This was in line with the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) aims of fostering the contribution of culture to the city in a way that included all of Tallinn’s citizens. Freedom Square was selected because of its visibility in the city and as such there was a curious tension between the emphasis on public visibility and the intended intimacy of the encounters that were sought through the cupola. The participants were free to do what they wanted during their hour in the instillation, while passing pedestrians often observed with curiosity (see Figure 5.2). The glass walls created a splinter for direct communication with passers-by, although this could be partly bridged by wireless internet connections and the use of mobile phones. Indeed, in some cases occupants took to writing posters and displaying them on the glass wall in order to communicate. A nonstop ventilation and heating system provided warm air, whilst a sound-free online video recorded what took place. Volunteers were responsible for its organisation and photographed each of the participants to form a record of their engagement with the project.

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Figure 5.2

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‘Object 2011’ and the Freedom War Monument, Tallinn March 2011

Source: Tallinn 2011; copyright permission from SA Tallinna Kultuurikatel.

Alongside these photographs, participants kept a diary in order to share some of their experiences of spending an hour in the cupola. The diary, or more exactly, the logbook, was completed by the participants during their time-slot. This included short writings and some drawings that reflected the personal experiences of participants, alongside messages to other contributors and notices about the cupola itself. There was a notable range of reflections on the multiple encounters that were facilitated by the cupola and six common threads emerged. First, the feeling of being simultaneously inside and outside, with direct references made to the ‘bubble’ as a spatial form. Second, notes on interactions with passing people and the surrounding environment, such as photographing the surroundings and being photographed in turn, as well as the practice of writing the diary itself. Third, a number of participants recorded feeling like a caged animal, noting an emergent solidarity with zoo animals. Fourth, participants provided reflections on nature and the differences between the seasons that were observed both within the cupola and the square outside. Fifth, participants provided accounts of the creative practices that took place within the cupola, such as learning a script for a theatre performance or singing and writing poetry. Finally, participants documented the

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feeling of experiencing time differently when inside the installation. Indeed some likened the cupola to a time capsule that was both connected to, and distinct from, the rhythms of the square outside. In these comments, time was felt to have slowed when inside the cupola, as they observed the unfolding flows of urban life at a distance. At the same time, participants were aware of being observed by those moving through the square at different speeds and for different purposes. Inhabiting the cupola was thus discussed as a means to encounter and inhabit different temporal experiences of the city and thus being in the cupola was to experience the folding together of different temporalities. As such, the diary highlighted how the immersive nature of the installation demanded a different form of engagement from those participating in the work, an engagement that meant experiencing this micro-climate within the square rather than simply viewing it (Sloterdijk 2005). A few examples from the logbook of the performance might help to explore its impact further: ‘It is very good to be … everything is shifted in particular ways; place, time, temperature, etc. Public privacy and all passing people are fine. I have not seen so many smiles for a long time. Beautiful!’ (O. Titova, 28.02.11). ‘This glass cupola should be big enough to contain my private space. But now being inside here, I feel that my private space is larger. Maybe to the boundaries of Estonia. Or even until the horizon. Who knows how far. Myself cannot go and look, space comes to follow. …’ (H. Kender, 3.03.11). ‘Everybody observes me. I look simultaneously as well. There is no understanding or enigma. In this way, I wrote more then thirty years ago. And it happened. Existential experience on a sunny Sunday morning’ (Doris, 6.03.11).

The installation enabled Freedom Square to be reimagined through an atmosphere that enacted multiple and shifting temporalities. Participants used the ‘artificial summer’ environment to variously experience and reflect on their presence in public space and in some cases, their relationship with the Estonian nation more broadly. Interestingly, it was clear that few people had any clear tactics ahead of their entry as to how they would communicate with the ‘audience’ that would gather in the square, documenting different forms of observation both within and outside the cupola. Presence within the cupola was expressed by one artist through a free-hand line-drawing done blindly on a blank page. The expression of ‘private oxygen’ or ‘public privacy’ by the participants captures the capacity and desire to establish ‘breathing spaces’ in the accelerated and commoditised flows of cities. In this case, such spaces were contingently produced through staged encounters, which partly reframe forms of experience and modes of living together with strangers. The co-isolation of the cupola mediates interactions between the individual and the collective by enabling different temporalities to co-exist across both the cupola and the extended sphere of the city square. In this

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context, a distribution of experience is achieved by investments in the glass cupola that exceed its boundaries and thus fuse the inner and outer dimensions of urban intimacy or nearness. Given the cupola’s close proximity to the Victory Column, one might have expected more reflections on situated encounters with the square’s sanctioned nationalism. Some hand-drawings reflected on life in Estonia and touched upon the boundaries of private bodies and lives. These were read through the frictions that exist between anniversary culture (which enacts memorial rituals) and cultures of currentness (which integrate emergent interactions). What was notable however, was that rather than a reflection on the implications of the square’s sanctioned nationalism, there was an extensive reflection on the materialities of both the national monument and the cupola itself. In both instances, the use of glass was questioned, with points raised about security, durability and the risk of vandalism. Of interest, is what these questions do to assumptions about the relatively stable memorialisation of war and nation when contrasted with that of the temporary cupola. The use of glass to construct the Victory Column was relatively experimental and within a year of its installation, water began to accumulate behind the glass plates. As such, following restoration, the monument now requires constant ventilation and repair. The accumulation of water was a point of rupture that exposed the maintenance required to ‘stabilise’ the monumental landscape, but also marked a moment in which prosaic maintenance work and the related ‘know-how’ of urban infrastructure was made public as a matter of collective concern (see also Pikner and Jauhiainen 2014). For Amin (2006), the practice of repair might aid an understanding of the ‘registers of solidarity’ that exist within cities. At points of rupture, crisis and maintenance, Amin argues that inert structures, whether they be infrastructural or social, are forced to recognise both failures and (absent) potentials. In response, such social structures and material infrastructures often accommodate emerging forms of relatedness as practices of maintenance – they produce new relations, connections and networks in order to survive, relying upon adaptation and resilience to maintain their existence. In contrast with the work undertaken to maintain the square’s monumentality, the temporary cupola was unplugged from the wired spaces of care and was packed away after just one month. With the cupola removed, this raises some interesting questions about what role such installations play in ‘making visible’ atmospheres of contemporary democracy and sociality in urban space and with this, I want to return to Sloterdijk’s (2005) discussion of the polis. Making things public ‘Object 2011’ is not the only installation to have utilised public space for such an immersive piece. Similar aims to assemble communality were evident in the installation ‘One & Other’, which was situated on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2009 and was intended to raise questions about how the

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British nation might be pictured in the context of a cosmopolitan London. 2,400 participants from a cross-section of British society were invited to spend an hour on the plinth in any way they saw fit in order to help form a ‘composite picture’ of Britain. For Miles (2011), whilst the installation had a performative quality, it also retained the conventional function of a monument by offering a spectacle of diversity whilst masking social division. Indeed, it could be argued that both ‘One & Other’ and ‘Object 2011’, had the effect of limiting any real opportunity to establish alliances across difference on the basis of their separation of participants into situated time-slots. As such, distinctions of class, gender, race and social background were arguably maintained rather than challenged. Thus, for Miles (2011), the nation that was made visible through ‘One & Other’ was a diverse and multicultural one, but one fractured by distinctions and particularities. By contrast, rather than a comment on the nation, ‘Object 2011’ was focused on making artists and people situated within a broad field of urban creativity, visible as part of the ECoC celebrations. It was thus only weakly associated with those questions of nationhood and national memorialisation commonly associated with monuments and was immersed in a wider set of concerns. However, a reinvention of public space through co-existence was (silently) triggered by bringing ‘living art’ together with the newly erected Victory Column. Whilst it might be the case that both installations separated participants into individual time-slots, both also engaged several overlapping publics: the public on the square, the public who saw real-time videos or photos of the participants on the Internet, and, in the case of ‘Object 2011’, a smaller public that read the project diary. At the same time, the open plinth on Trafalgar Square and the transparent cupola on Freedom Square – both staged complicated entanglements between the individual and the state/nation, where the city/collective was (re)enacted as a terrain of possibilities. This terrain of possibility, represented an urban micro-climate that enabled participants and a wider urban public to experience relations between interiority and exteriority, and across prosaic (spatial) scales. In this micro-climate, the presence of an individual on the square became temporally empowered, as their engagement with the cupola and its inhabitant performed a moment of communication between strangers. Confronting the spectacle of the open plinth or the cupola in these installations, meant that individuals on the square were confronted with a reflection of their own bubble-like existence as urban strangers living in isolated yet simultaneous temporal and spatial spheres. The encounters that are promoted by the open plinth and the cupola as installations that demand a response, were those of individualised bubbles not simply brushing up against one another, but of the fleeting production of fragile collective foams, of connections that exceed the individual and draw together relations to national and urban pasts and imagined futures. In this context, these installations performed, and at the same time problematised, the ‘life of connected isolation’ (Slotderdjik 2004) so often associated with urban anonymity. Rather, they highlighted the multiplicity of the city and actively performed such multiplicity in contrast to the uniformity of narratives of state progress and a heterogeneous nationhood.

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A ‘culture of currentness’ that provided opportunities for temporary and fragile points of connection and identification across difference was thus placed in negotiated proximity with a national ‘anniversary culture’ expressed through established monuments to, and narratives of, the nation-state’s origins. Whilst both of these modes of installation were fleeting in nature, being temporary interventions in urban public space, the configurations of urban togetherness and sociality they effected were dispersed across varying time-spaces, through their continued discussion after the event, the images and accounts produced of their enactment and, perhaps most importantly, through the memories of those whose individual bubbles of urban experience were reworked as a result. Installations such as these thus posed questions not simply of how urban public space may accommodate diverse rhythms of narrative, memory and memorialisation whilst also reflecting the diversity of contemporary urban life, but also of how art may intervene into such negotiations to open up the possibilities of encounters even if only temporarily. This terrain appears as a micro-climate that enabled relations between interiority and exteriority to be experienced beyond spatial scales. To use Sloterdijk’s terminology, it might be said that individual presences were temporally empowered and synchronised by an urban-social ‘uterus’ that enabled strangers to communicate at a modest distance. Individualised bubbles became cofragile, collective foams, which revealed the contingency and dynamism of encounter. These installation settings performed and simultaneously problematised the ‘connected isolation’ of life (Sloterdijk 2004). The multiplicity performed in Freedom Square confronted the uniformity of the state by enacting a temporary sphere of currentness in close proximity to the monumental forms of anniversary culture. The fleeting installation thus played with temporalities of togetherness, which were then dispersed both spatially and temporally. Conclusion As I have argued across the chapter, Sloterdijk’s metaphor of ‘foam-like spatiality’ is fruitful for thinking about emergent atmospheres and entangled encounters in an urban context. In particular, I have demonstrated how design and (art) installations can re-order urban intimacy in new and contingent ways. Whilst memorials of the state give form to – and further stabilise – particular histories, the ongoing events of place, can trigger new stories, durations, trajectories and emergent encounters. As such, the city square stages simultaneity. The tendency to establish material for a homogenous anniversary culture, which fixes distances and perpetually recreates specific readings of the past, co-exists with ‘cultures of currentness’ (Sloterdijk 2012), which exceed the dominant spheres of anniversary rhythms. The acceleration of social life and its related synchronisations are achieved through spheres that enable distributed means of communicating, working or spending time. As such, this chapter has not only demonstrated how art

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installations can reframe urban intimacy but also how they might disclose the technical configurations of human life and negotiate new forms of urban sociality. The glass cupola of the installation, problematised and affected living-together in Tallinn by making some (contested) worlds visible through the staging of situated encounters. Thus, the potential of art lies in its ability to create artificial spheres, which problematise and temporally destabilise the internal-external distinctions of urban encounters. In the wider context of Freedom Square, the removal of cars has enabled a situated atmospheric politics of encounters to unfold beyond the ‘cocoon’ of the vehicle. The designed square is continuously transformed by spatial experiences and related encounters, which reflect and enact synchronous temporalities. These point to the possibility of ventilating atmospheres of being-together in cities and as such, highlight the dangers of producing a ‘social’ that is experienced only through isolated cocoons. This means that enhancing the ability to ‘breathe well’ in the city, through personalised rhythms and the use of public space, is as important as practices of meaning-making and memorialisation. Therefore, the virtual dimensions of public space require continual rethinking to accommodate coexisting spheres of affinity – to breathe, to ventilate and to create, as much as to remember urban pasts and their continued presence. Acknowledgments I thank the editors of the book for their fruitful comments. This research was financed by the Estonian Research Agency (IUT 3–2 Culturescapes in transformation: towards an integrated theory of meaning-making) and by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory). References Alver, A. and Rünkla, I. (2012), ‘Interview at the architecture studio of Alver Arhitektid’, 12th April in Tallinn. Amin, A. (2006), ‘The good city’, Urban Studies 43(5/6), 1009–1023. Amin, A. (2015), ‘Animated space’, Public Culture 27(1), 239–258. Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2002), Cities: Reimagining the Urban (Malden: Polity Press). Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2013), Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left (Durham: Duke University Press). Anderson, B. and Wylie, J. (2009), ‘On geography and materiality’, Environment and Planning A 41(2), 318–335. Elden, S. (2012), ‘Worlds, engagements, temperaments’, in Elden, S. (ed.), Sloterdijk Now (Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press), 1–16.

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Elden, S. and Mendieta, E. (2009), ‘Being-with as making worlds: the “second coming” of Peter Sloterdijk’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(1), 1–11. Furness, Z. (2007), ‘Critical mass, urban space and velomobility’, Mobilities 2(2), 299–319. Ilm.ee (2014), ‘Tallinn’, , accessed 26th February. Klauser, F. (2010), ‘Splintering spheres of security: Peter Sloterdijk and the contemporary fortress city’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, 326–340. Lapin, L. (2003), Tühjus / Void (Eesti Kustiakadeemia: Tallinn). Latham, A. and McCormack, D. (2004), ‘Moving cities: rethinking the materiality of urban geographies’, Progress in Human Geography 28(6), 701–724. Massey, D. (2005), For Space (London: Sage). Morin, M.-E. (2009), ‘Cohabitating in the globalised world: Peter Sloterdijk’s global foams and Bruno Latour’s cosmopolitics’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(1), 58–72. Miles, M.M. (2011), ‘One & Other: a picture of the nation in a period of cosmopolitanism?’, The Journal of Architecture 16(3), 347–363. Olander, A. (2012), Kadunud Vaated: Tallinna Muutumine Enam kui 400 Fotol (Tallinn: Tänapäev). Pikner, T. (2014), ‘Enactments of urban nature: considering industrial ruins’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 96(1), 83–94. Pikner, T. and Jauhiainen, J.S. (2014), ‘Dis/appearing waste and afterwards’, Geoforum 54, 39–48. Shapiro, M.J. (2010), The Time of The City: Politics, Philosophy and Genre (London, New York: Routledge). Sloterdijk, P. (1999), Sphären. II: Globen (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Sloterdijk, P. (2004), Sphären. III: Schäume (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Sloterdijk, P. (2005), ‘Atmospheric politics’, in Latour, B. and Weibel, P. (eds) Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (Karlsruhe, London: ZKM, MIT Press), 944–957. Sloterdijk, P. (2009), ‘Geometry in the colossal: the project of metaphysical globalization’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(1), 29–40. Sloterdijk, P. (2011), Spheres I: Bubbles (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Sloterdijk, P. (2012), ‘The time of the crime of the monstrous: on the philosophical justification of the artificial’, in Elden, S. (ed.), Sloterdijk Now (Malden: Polity Press), 165–181. Stewart, K. (2007), Ordinary Affects (Durham: Duke University Press). Tallinn 2011 (2011), ‘Tallinn – European Capital of Culture. Stories of the Seaside. Programme’, http://www.tallinn2011.ee/syndmused, accessed 20th March 2012. Tallinna municipality (2013), Registered public events on Freedom Square, , accessed 27th November 2013. Tamm, M. (2012), ‘Monumentaalne ajalugu’, Loomingu Raamatukogu 28–30, 1–207. Tamm, M. (2013), ‘In search of lost time: memory politics in Estonia, 1991–2011’, Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity 41(4), 651–674. Thrift, N. (2008), Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect (London and New York: Routledge).

Chapter 6

On the Politics of Vision and Touch: Encountering Fearful and Fearsome Bodies in Cape Town, South Africa Nick Schuermans

Introduction South African cities are generally not understood in terms of encounter and interaction, but rather in terms of segregation and separation. During the apartheid years, the state planned mono-racial residential zones in such a way that whites, coloureds, Blacks and Indians1 did not have to cross each other’s paths (Christopher 2001). Industrial areas, hills and wet river valleys acted as buffer zones between ‘group areas’ for different races (Western 1996). Racially divided seating arrangements on public transport, racially segregated places of boarding and disembarkation, and racially distinctive transport routes enforced segregation on the move (Pirie 1992). As such, the geography of the apartheid city was meant to inhibit racial mixing altogether. In the words of Nahnsen (2006, 100), ‘public urban space as a place of encountering, mixing and mingling was conceived of as a threat by the governing authorities’. The circumvention of interracial encounters was not only motivated by the need for a cheap and docile black labour force in the mining industry (Wolpe 1972), but also by the racist project to consolidate an unambiguous and superior white identity that was based on social and spatial distance from blacks (Ballard 2004). Since the repeal of apartheid laws, South African policymakers have been eager to transform the spatial legacies of the past (Newton and Schuermans 2013). The need for a better social and functional mix is not only discussed in light of transport costs, service provisions and energy usage, but also with regards to equity, democracy and social change (Harrison, Huchzermeyer and Mayekiso 2003). By way of example, it is hoped that more inclusive notions of citizenship will emerge 1 Although it is generally accepted that the racial classifications of the apartheid era are a social construction serving white interests, the post-apartheid government continues to use the fourfold division of the population into coloureds, Indians, whites and Blacks in the context of racial redress. While Blacks with a capital B refers to the Black African population group, blacks without a capital b refers to coloureds, Indians and Black Africans altogether (see Posel 2001).

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through school desegregation and inclusionary housing policies (Staeheli and Hammett 2013; Klug, Rubin and Todes 2013). Yet, despite all the good intentions, the full potential of interracial and cross-class encounters has never been realised. Many of the processes and dynamics initiated in apartheid years continue to reproduce the geography of the apartheid city. Whilst most new low-cost housing projects are still located in the urban peripheries (Huchzermeyer 2001), wealthy South Africans continue to retreat to fortified homes, gated communities, shopping malls and secured office complexes where they mostly encounter people similar to themselves both in terms of class and race (Lemanski 2004; Murray 2011). Indeed, the persistence of segregation was made clear in 2006 when a countrywide survey revealed that more than 40 per cent of the Black population had no contact with whites whatsoever (Durrheim and Dixon 2010, 277). In international comparisons, South Africa is generally considered to be one of the most crime-ridden countries in the world (Louw 2007). Altbeker (2007, 41) calculated, for instance, that the 2006 murder rate of South Africa was eight times higher than in the United States and 122 times higher than in Western Europe. Figures on fear of crime are similarly disheartening. The South African Social Attitudes Survey reveals that the proportion of South Africans feeling ‘very unsafe’ or ‘a bit unsafe’ increased from 15 per cent to 33 per cent between 1998 and 2005, while the percentage that reported feeling very unsafe on most days trebled from 5 to 15 per cent over the same period of time (Roberts 2010, 261). More specific measures indicate that as much as 65 per cent of all white South Africans would feel unsafe walking in their neighbourhoods at night (Teeger 2014, 75). Drawing on a case study in Cape Town, this chapter will argue that these exceptionally high levels of crime and fear of crime impede encounters with difference and the positive impacts that such encounters might present. First, I will argue that many security strategies of middle class whites are based on attempts to circumvent encounters with poor blacks. Secondly, I will contend that the preconceived categories of whiteness, blackness, poverty and wealth are generally not challenged, but further reinforced when encounters across lines of race and class do occur. This, I argue, is because people repeatedly fall back on racialised and classed stereotypes about the ‘suspicious body’. By demonstrating the negative impact of encounters between fearful and fearsome bodies in Cape Town, this chapter feeds into work that has troubled the assumption that encounters with difference automatically translate into respect and tolerance (cfr. Valentine 2008, 325). In doing so, I will infer that the feeling of safety from bodily harm is a conditio sine qua non for encounters to have positive effects (cfr. Van Leeuwen 2008). To make these points, I draw on photo-elicitation interviews with 78 middle class whites in two privileged neighbourhoods of Cape Town. Tamboerskloof is situated close to the centre, while Vredekloof is located in the Northern Suburbs. In both neighbourhoods, my interviews focused on feelings of fear and comfort in different parts of the city and how these were influenced by encounters with different people. I triangulated the interview data with participatory observations

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and a complementary analysis of crime reports and other messages posted on community websites. I also returned to Cape Town to conduct 9 member-checking interviews with some of my original respondents.2 Having situated my study, section 2 draws on the post-colonial and feminist work of Sara Ahmed to substantiate the politics of vision and touch associated with embodied encounters with feared others. This section adds to the geographies of encounter literature by conceptualising the encounter at the intimate scale of the body and by theorising the role of vision and touch within encounters. Moving to the empirical findings, sections 3 and 4 focus on the role of bodily markers of race and class in the visual recognition of supposed criminals and victims of crime. Taking these forward, section 5 deals with spatial strategies to avoid suspicious people, whilst finally, the conclusion considers how scopic and tactile regimes of racialised and classed categorisation inform – and are informed by – embodied encounters with difference in Cape Town. Encountering fearful and fearsome bodies Over the last decade, the geographies of encounter literature has inspired an examination of cities as sites of encounter, interaction and connection (Amin 2002, 2012; Lawson and Elwood 2014; Valentine 2008; Wilson 2014). In this body of work, the significance of encounter – as a product of spatial proximity – is generally explored with regards to its role in mediating prevailing meanings, discomforts and anxieties around race, class, ethnicity or sexuality (cfr. Valentine and Waite 2012, 475). In a concern for examining ‘contact zones’ (Askins and Pain 2011) or ‘spaces of encounters’ (Leitner 2012), many researchers have focused on occasional exchanges between strangers in public space (Valentine 2008; Matejskova and Leitner 2011). Others have followed Amin’s (2002) call to investigate routine interactions in spaces of work (Cook, Dwyer and Waite 2011), education (Wilson 2014) and leisure (Askins and Pain 2011). Inspired by the growing body of work on the emotional geographies of embodiment (Davidson and Milligan 2004), this chapter extends such work by looking at the body as an ‘intimate contact zone’ in its own right (cf. Price 2012, 581). My South African case study will also add to the field by studying not only real, but also imaginary encounters with difference. To conceptualise the body as a space of encounter, I draw on Ahmed’s work on ‘strange encounters’ (2000). She contends that subjects are produced through a politics of vision and touch which emerges out of embodied encounters with others. To substantiate the politics of vision, she argues that face-to-face encounters involve modes of recognition that differentiate between familiar and strange others based on appearance. People read the bodies they face in order to ground aspects of their own identities and to recognise those of others. Ahmed’s elaboration of 2

See Schuermans (2011, 128–166) for a detailed discussion of my methodology.

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a politics of vision thus understands the skin as an ‘inscriptive surface’ (Grosz 1994, 138) and as ‘a mirror of society in which people can find their place in the social structure’ (Pile 1996, 187). In this context, we might think, as Amin (2010) suggests, of how ‘visual regimes’ of racial categorisation distinguish particular conjunctions of skin colour, clothing and behaviour as triggers of racist acts and thoughts. By way of example, Swanton’s (2010) ethnographic study in a former mill town in Northern England details how race and racism give shape to – and take form through – accumulated encounters in restaurants, shops, taxis and schools. It is worth quoting Amin (2010, 8) at length here in his description of the ‘remainders of race’: The details of colour, shape, smell, behaviour, disposition, intent, picked out by racial scopic regimes as tellers of human grouping and social standing – etched over a long historical period across a spectrum of communication media – come to frame the thoughts, actions and feelings of the condemning and the condemned.

Ahmed’s work (2000) is crucial in highlighting that the body is not only invested with meaning as a visual signifier, but that it also polices social difference through touch or indeed, lack of it. Based on the observation that the bodies of familiar others are allowed near, while the bodies of abject strangers are generally kept at bay, she infers that the function of the body as a marker of social differentiation is as tactile and haptic as it is visual and scopic. ‘Just as some others are ‘seen’ and recognised as stranger than other others’, Ahmed (2000, 49) argues, ‘so too some skins are touched as stranger than other skins’. By way of an example, this can been seen in Saldanha’s (2005) study on Goa’s rave scene, where he examines how white girls treat the bumping and touching of European bodies on the dance floor differently to those of domestic, Indian tourists. For Saldanha (2005, 719), this demonstrates that race is never simply a given, but that it emerges and persists time and time again through differential experiences of touch. Such understanding of the politics of touch is in line with geographical work that understands the body to be ‘our first and foremost, most immediate and intimately felt geography’ (Davidson and Milligan 2004, 523; Dixon and Straughan 2010; Paterson 2009). Central to the remainder of this chapter is Ahmed’s (2004) substantiation that fear is an embodied phenomenon that is affected by the politics of vision and touch. While positive feelings, affects and emotions such as joy and trust generally result in proximity and closeness, negative emotions such as fear and disgust usually bring about distance and separation (cf. Dixon and Straughan 2010, 453). It is not the fearsome body at a distance that people are afraid of, but the fearsome body that is nearby. When bodies come so close that they can touch each other and thus hurt each other, feelings of vulnerability work to re-establish the bodily boundaries of a ‘personal space’ in which some are allowed and others are excluded (Rodaway 1994; Sibley and van Hoven 2008). It is precisely when fear becomes a relationship of proximity that it ‘does something’, for in Ahmed’s words, ‘it re-establishes distance between bodies whose difference is read off the surface’

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(2004, 63, original emphasis). Whilst this observation is well documented, I suggest that it is necessary to recognise that it is not only physical proximity that can do something. Rather, the imaginary potential of proximity is also significant, especially in the South African case. If fearful encounters are affected by a politics of touch, they are also affected by a politics of vision. In the words of Ahmed (2000, 44), ‘the very habits and gestures of marking out bodily space involve differentiating ‘others’ into familiar (assimilable, touchable) and strange (unassimilable, untouchable)’. When people come across unknown others, they rely on shared stereotypes about who is suspicious and who is not in order to make this differentiation. The difference between the innocent and the threatening is often seen through the preconceived categories of who or what is normal and who or what is ‘strange’. While this is evident in the way that an extreme fear of terrorism in the West is generally read off bodies with a Middle Eastern appearance (Ahmed 2004; Haldrup, Koefoed and Simonsen 2007), the following sections will demonstrate that many middle class, white South Africans project their fears upon impoverished blacks. Race and the politics of vision On a daily basis, security announcements, reminders and alerts advise the residents of Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof to ‘watch out for suspicious and unusual behaviour’. The Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch suggests that ‘the duty of members on patrol is to report any suspicious person or vehicle or unusual situation’. Yet, apart from vague references to the body language of supposed criminals, neighbourhood watches, security initiatives and armed response operators fail to provide ways to distinguish who or what is actually suspicious, leaving this open to interpretation (see also Simon this collection). A hijacking awareness guide published on the website of the Tamboerskloof Security Initiative even underlines that ‘a suspicious person can be any person that you feel acts in a strange manner’ and that ‘colour, race, sex or age are not distinguishing features’. Ahmed (2000, 29) understands this failure to provide clear indications of who or what is suspicious as ‘a technique of knowledge’. In her understanding, the signifier ‘suspicious’ does an enormous amount of work in safety and security discourses ‘precisely insofar as it is empty’ (ibid.). Because the nature of suspicious people, acts and situations is left open to interpretation, people fall back on shared stereotypes about who or what is suspicious. In the South African case, many of these stereotypes are rooted in the racialised history of the country. According to former president Mbeki (2004), the psychological residue of apartheid has burdened a lot of white South Africans with the conviction that they cannot survive ‘in a sea of black savages’. Many scholars agree that seemingly acceptable discourses and ‘politically correct’ explanations for (fear of) crime, serve as a code word for blatantly racist fears of difference (Ballard 2004; Lemanski 2006).

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My interviews confirmed that racialised schemes guide middle class, white South Africans’ understanding of what supposed criminals look like. Nearly all interviewees told me that they were much more suspicious of unfamiliar blacks than of unknown whites. For example, a pensioner in Tamboerskloof said that she would be more afraid ‘if it would be a coloured person or a Black person’ that she met on the streets. When I asked a mother of two who she thought had assaulted the girlfriend of her daughter, she said that she was unsure ‘whether they were coloureds or Blacks’, making it quite clear that she had failed to consider the possibility that they may have been white. While some of the most racist comments suggested that it was in the nature of blacks to commit crimes, others considered the link between race and crime to be a result of culture (‘black men do not value property’), history (‘in apartheid, if you were Black, you did not count’) or place (‘if you live in an environment of hate, you will hate too’). Residents in both Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof also had the impression that their own skin colour affected their chances of getting mugged or robbed. While some emphasised that Black South Africans are statistically the most likely to become the victim of crime, most were convinced that their chance of victimisation was strongly affected by the visibility of their whiteness. In Tamboerskloof, two respondents felt that ‘you’re more visible if you’re white’ and that ‘[you’re] just more of an obvious target if [you’re] the only white person around’. In Vredekloof, two other interviewees thought that ‘white people become a target quickly’ and that ‘you feel unsafe because you’re white’. As such, it is evident that skin colour is not only used to differentiate between imagined criminals and innocent citizens, but that criminals are also expected to select their victims by reading race off the body. Whereas it is often assumed that whiteness is unmarked and invisible to those who benefit from its privileges, fear of crime certainly confronts middle class, white South Africans with their own whiteness, providing another case that can be fed into wider discourses of ‘white vulnerability’ (cf. Fechter 2005). By focusing on the role of a racialised politics of vision, it becomes clear that interactions across difference do not necessarily hold the possibility for transformation. Since unanticipated interactions with racial others are overpowered by established fears and anxieties, racial stereotypes and anxieties are rarely shattered when white South Africans encounter black compatriots in public space. By setting up a mental binary between the good, law-abiding, but vulnerable white citizen and the bad, black criminal, they feel safe when they encounter unfamiliar white people, but unsafe when they come across black strangers. Hence, the grounds for a true encounter are destroyed by relying on the racial recognition of suspicious people and potential victims of crime. Racialised assumptions about crime, risk and fear are not only nurtured by shocking newspaper headlines, frightening messages in chain-mail and alarming reports on community websites, but also by past encounters with difference. For example, in Tamboerskloof, a respondent stated that a hold-up had made her mother far more wary of coloured and Black people than she had been before. In Vredekloof, someone else argued that ‘it is much easier to hate a specific race if an

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armed robbery happens to you’. On the one hand, these quotes are, once again, a testimony to the strong racialisation of crime and the deep criminalisation of race. On the other hand, they also reveal that the high levels of (fear of) crime have created a climate in which the perceived value of such stereotypes and prejudices is constantly confirmed (cf. Altbeker 2007, 66). While much of the geographies of encounter literature attempts to examine whether repeated interactions across difference may challenge the status quo, these findings suggest that a singular encounter with negative outcomes can have a much larger resonance than numerous positive ones. As such, we should not only look at the power of rumours and media reports, but also at the way in which negative experiences produce, reproduce and seemingly justify centuries-old stereotypes about black ‘savages’ and vulnerable whites. Class and the politics of vision Given the strength of these racialised imaginaries, experiences with white criminals confused a lot of my interviewees. For instance, a respondent in Vredekloof was amazed to find out that his CCTV camera had recorded white youngsters breaking into his car. My neighbours in Tamboerskloof were also surprised to hear that the criminal caught red-handed in our block of flats was not the Black caretaker that they had suspected, but rather an unfamiliar white man. From the 362 crime reports that were published on the websites of Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch and the Tamboerskloof Security Initiative, 153 mentioned the suspected race of the suspects. In the eight cases dealing with white suspects, the supposed perpetrators were not only characterised by their white skin, but also by the fact that they were ‘poor’ or ‘unusually scruffy looking’. In this way, the writers of the reports made it clear that white criminals are not included in the kind of whiteness the interviewees lay claim to. Significantly, experiences with white criminals have begun to challenge the ability of white middle class South Africans to supposedly identify risk by reading race. The visual identification of dangerous criminals and harmless citizens is not only based on skin colour, but also on bodily markers of class identity such as dress and appearance. Interviewees in Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof specified, for example, that ‘a black person in a sports car’ is not supposed to be a criminal, but that ‘a young, but full grown black man who is not well dressed becomes immediately suspicious’. Indeed, the manager of the security operations in Vredekloof told me that he would not suspect anyone with a decent shirt and decent trousers, but that he would scrutinise anyone with broken shoes, dirty hair and an unshaven face. These discourses of class also fed into discourses of vulnerability. Even though many respondents admitted that it is hard to disentangle race and class in postapartheid South Africa, they were convinced that embodied symbols of social status, such as healthy teeth, jewellery or expensive clothes, had become another

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way in which potential victims of crime might be identified. One man told me that he did not think that he would be less vulnerable if he wore the same clothes, but had a black skin. Another participant also suggested that whilst ‘you’re a target’ as a white person, ‘it also depends how you look’. In a newsflash of the Tamboerskloof Security Initiative, it was indicated that the victims of burglaries were ‘usually affluent home owners who displayed their wealth with jewellery, double-storey residences and fancy cars’. As such, the chairperson argued that it was important to be discrete and avoid visibility. He underlined that ‘showing off one’s wealth can lead to one becoming a target’. These discourses reveal that class identity has become a crucial aspect in the ‘politics of vision’ associated with fearful encounters. In the conviction that both criminals and victims of crime have a certain class appearance, people not only fall back on old dichotomies between black and white when they encounter strangers, but also on new dichotomies between rich and poor. On the one hand, this demonstrates that subjectivities of white middle class South Africans have shifted from a strong identification with the racist divisions of apartheid to divisions based on far more individualised and consumerist identities built around the growing gap between the privileged and the underprivileged (cf. Hyslop 2000; Davies 2012). On the other hand, it also suggests that the popular association between crime and poverty might in part have stimulated the formation of these subjectivities. After all, the politics of vision associated with embodied encounters with difference not only confronted my respondents with their own whiteness, but also with their exceptionally privileged economic position in a country with so much desperate poverty. In this context, how class is performed in encounters between the fearful and the fearsome is significant. While skin colour is a racial marker that is permanently connected to the body (Alcoff 2006), many visual signs of class distinction are only provisionally attached to the body and can therefore be concealed, removed, or altered. Hence, the residents of Vredekloof and Tamboerskloof are conscious of the possibility that people who may appear middle class might actually be lower-class criminals who have dressed up. At the same time, they themselves are encouraged to dress down in places with a mixed crowd so as to reduce their own chances of becoming a target. Many middle class whites thus leave necklaces, watches and ostentatious clothes at home when they go to places where they feel unsafe. The politics of touch According to many respondents, what makes crime in South Africa distinctive is not so much the volume, but the violence that goes with it. Many residents of Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof feared most that their bodies and those of their family might be harmed or violated during a robbery or hijacking. The chairperson of the Vredekloof Safety Council indicated, for example, that he was motivated

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to reduce crime in his neighbourhood because he did not want to arrive home and ‘find out that the throat of my wife and children has been sliced’. A lot of the women that were interviewed also demonstrated a fear that a burglary or a robbery could involve sexual violence. Unlike the negative encounters described in the previous section that had spoiled the grounds for future encounters, these are based on imagined encounters – violent encounters that had not yet happened, or indeed, may never happen. Because imagined encounters with supposed criminals bring about strong feelings of vulnerability and insecurity, white middle class South Africans try to keep their bodies away from bodies that are perceived to be threatening. To reduce the likelihood of victimisation, many interviewees maintained a personal space around their bodies in which they avoided the presence of suspicious others. The safety tips that appeared on local websites also encouraged this. The Tamboerskloof Security Initiative website advised, for instance that you should ‘remain at least two arms lengths away (…) if someone asks you for directions’. The website of the Oranjekloof City Improvement District emphasised that ‘even if they [strangers] appear to be neatly dressed and well spoken, do not allow them into your personal space as they could strike’. This suggests, once again, that quick evaluations of visible markers are not always reliable and that a neatly dressed appearance can create a false sense of security, presenting any unknown person as a potential threat. The mention of personal space and the dangers of letting someone into it also highlights how imaginary personal boundaries are policed to keep bodies apart or at arm’s length. While strategies to avoid touch are developed at the intimate scale of the body, they have far reaching consequences at other spatial scales. It appeared, for instance, that the popularity of automobility among middle class white South Africans is not only motivated by the freedom and the flexibility provided by cars in a rapidly sprawling city, but also by the lack of personal space that buses, trains and train stations allow and the fact that public transport is mostly used by black South Africans who cannot afford a car. In Tamboerskloof, a respondent stated that she avoided the area around the central train station ‘because it is busy’ and because ‘you can get close to peoples’ personal space because of the crowds’. A similar sentiment was highlighted in a woman’s account of why she had never taken a 16-seater minibus taxi, suggesting that ‘to sit that physically close to another person would be very uncomfortable’ because she enjoys ‘a certain amount of personal space’. Again, imaginary scenarios were common, with one woman emphasising just how much she detested ‘the idea that you don’t know with whom you will ride. Maybe it’s a desperate man that had his last decent meal three weeks ago’ (cf. Schuermans 2014). Many South African scholars point out that the exceptionally high levels of spatial separation in post-apartheid cities impede meaningful encounters across difference (e.g. Lemanski 2004; Murray 2011). They say that transformative interactions have become rare now that wealthy South Africans of all races have retreated to fortified homes, gated communities, patrolled neighbourhoods,

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guarded shopping malls and secured office complexes. By focusing on the politics of touch at the intimate scale of the body, it becomes clear that the shortage of meaningful encounters is not simply a by-product of the lay-out of the postapartheid city. Instead, the deliberate circumvention of interactions with poor blacks is an important driver behind the hardening of socio-spatial boundaries by means of walls, fences and booms. By voluntarily limiting their freedom of movement to fortified houses, patrolled neighbourhoods, secured offices and shopping malls, the residents of Vredekloof and Tamboerskloof aim to extend and harden the mental boundaries of the personal space around their bodies into a couple of solid capsules (cf. Schuermans 2013, 2014). If the rich inhabitants of a dramatically unequal city such as Cape Town retreat into an ever decreasing number of enclaves interlinked by car trips, it is because they do not want certain kinds of bodies – which are easily identifiable by their visual appearance – to come so close that they might touch and harm. Conclusion In South Africa, many scholars and policy makers are convinced that more crossracial encounters are necessary to redress the legacy of apartheid segregation. In line with the literature on the geographies of encounter, there is a strong belief – and hope – that the desegregation of public spaces will begin to address the reproduction of stereotypes and prejudices and thus stimulate a move towards racial tolerance and non-discrimination. Yet, starting from Ahmed’s theories on strange encounters, this chapter has indicated that the grounds for encounter are substantially shaped by the strategies that middle class, white South Africans deploy to deal with (fear of) crime. First, it is clear that spatial strategies to manage the risk of unwanted encounters at the scale of the body stimulate the materialisation of new urban geographies that are characterised by separation, securitisation and a retreat into fortified homes (cf. Lemanski 2004; Murray 2011). As such there is little potential for meaningful encounters with social difference in public space because the security strategies of the rich are based on attempts to circumvent bodily encounters with those perceived as a threat. Second, it is crucial that popular images of suspiciousness and victimhood that are reliant on reading race and class off the bodies of unknown others are properly addressed. For Ahmed (2000, 36), the projection of danger onto specific social categories expels crime and violence from the purified life of the white middle class citizen. It leads to an exaggerated fear when black people who look poor enter personal space and a concurrent sense of security when one is nearby fellow whites who appear to be privileged. It also reproduces the racialised dichotomies of the past and the classed dichotomies of the present. If Ahmed (2000) argues that the stranger is produced through face-to-face interactions with others, it is

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also clear that encounters marked by ‘stranger-danger’ produce the figure of the stranger as much as they are informed by it. As such, my research in Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof warns that stereotypes and prejudices are generally not challenged, but confirmed and even re-instigated as seemingly banal encounters are constantly refracted through the prism of crime and fear of crime. It demonstrates the enduring effects of negative encounters with difference and furthermore, how rumours, stories and even imaginary encounters stand in for first-hand experience in a context of continuing segregation. Even when unexpected encounters across lines of race and class do occur, preconceived categories of whiteness, blackness, poverty and wealth are rarely shattered. While racialised assumptions about the chances of becoming the victim of crime confront middle class whites with their whiteness and wealth, this rarely translates into a more critical reflection on their privilege and entitlement. Obviously, such trends have been observed globally in studies on enclave urbanism (e.g. Wissink 2013), but the emphasis placed on the fear of violent crime in South Africa is important. Within work on encounter, discussions on personal space and the violation of it, tend to focus on unwritten rules of appropriate conduct. Yet in Cape Town, the maintenance of personal space in public is not just about civility or a desire to avoid discomforting emotions, but a genuine belief that the maintenance of personal space is a necessary strategy for survival. The maintenance of distance is not only about managing discomfort or disdain, but is one that is persistently recommended by security forces as one way of avoiding bodily harm. As such, in the South African context, violent crime and the fear of it must be addressed as central to any discussion on desegregation and crossracial contact. While these conclusions offer a pessimistic reading about the potential effects of encounters with difference, they should encourage us to look more carefully for the places where – and the conditions under which – encounters can become transformative. This endeavour demands a closer engagement with the intimate scale of the body as a contact zone, but also demands interventions capable of creating safe environments that don’t fall into the trap of eradicating the riskiness and unpredictability associated with encounters in the name of a safety-seeking politics of vision and touch (cf. Van Leeuwen 2008). It is only once fear of bodily harm is addressed, that better grounds for encounter can be laid and dominant ideas about race and poverty can be reconsidered. Acknowledgements My research in Tamboerskloof and Vredekloof was funded by a grant of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen). I would like to thank Jonathan Darling, Helen Wilson and all respondents for their time and feedback.

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Chapter 7

Encountering Keighley: More-than-Human Geographies of Difference in a Former Mill Town Dan Swanton

Figure 7.1

The Picture House, Highfields, Keighley

Source: Author’s photograph.

Encountering Keighley It’s mid-afternoon on an overcast Wednesday in May. The school day has just finished and children with uniforms in various states of dishevelment stream along the Skipton Road – one of the main arteries into the town centre. Flanking the road there is a jumble of architectural styles and activities: the Picture House – an Edwardian cinema built in 1913 whose faded grandeur hints at a more prosperous past; an anodyne 1980s office building that is home to the local newspaper; an imposing Victorian terrace where the ground floors have been converted into a newsagents, an office suppliers, a home improvement store, a pizza and kebab

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shop; the Livery Rooms, a Wetherspoon pub accommodated in an ornate Victorian civic building that used to be the town’s Temperance Institute … I’m out walking, doing ethnography. I head uphill away from Skipton Road along a steep street that serves as a rat run for drivers avoiding the start of rush hour. Leaving behind the rhythmic idling and acceleration of traffic, and air thick with fumes, I traverse an invisible, yet tangible frontier. Highfields, a neighbourhood of back-to-back terraces built at the end of the nineteenth century to shelter workers from the town’s textile mills. In repeated conversations during my fieldwork I’m told that this neighbourhood has been taken over. It’s an ‘Asian neighbourhood’.1 Often these claims are accompanied by stories of hostility and intimidation; tales of white families being offered cash for their houses and threatened by what might happen if they refuse such offers; of people spitting at young white women as they walk through the streets of the neighbourhood. Locally it’s also known as the ‘Top End’ – reflecting both the topography of the town and the territorialisation of ‘turf’ by some young British Pakistani men. This label has become embedded in popular imaginative geographies of the town, not least because the Keighley News repeatedly uses the label when it reports stories of ‘gang’ violence. Climbing the hill the muscles in my calves tighten, I pause and draw breath. The pavements are less busy. Ahead there is a group of 4 or 5 teenagers congregating around the threshold of the ‘best-one’ corner store; a white woman in her forties walks purposefully towards me, taking care to control her speed as she descends the steep incline; a couple of younger children are being escorted home, walking at an awkward distance from the parent or grandparent accompanying them. Behind me, a 10 or 11-year-old boy walks three paces ahead of an older man with a grey beard, off-white salwar kemeez, kufi hat, and buttoned-up overcoat. Turning left, I drift along side streets. I feel conspicuous. Occasionally other people hold me in their gaze, watching with curiosity. To some it must look like I’m lost, or at least wandering without direction. To others I am paying a little too much attention. Perhaps they have spotted the camera nestled in my hand. Negotiating scattered wheelie-bins and a BMW X3 parked on the pavement, I walk along Raven Street. A row of Victorian terraced houses face a small infill development of 1970s houses arranged around a small green with 3 large trees. Crossing Highfield Lane I reach Eagle Street. The street is narrow; the terraced homes close in on you. Some of the houses have been modified to accommodate businesses. Cha Cha Jewellers sits on a corner plot. The windows are heavily barred and various notices announce the presence of alarm systems that protect the business. Next-door the Bismillah Cloth House is crammed with rolls of richly coloured and intricately woven silk, while over the road an outhouse has been converted into a barbershop – Imran Hairdressers. The east side of Eagle Street is punctured by steep side streets that run up the moor. Outside many of the homes there are signs of construction and DIY. Skips 1 In the UK the term ‘Asian’ is a label that often refers to migrants to the UK from the Indian subcontinent (i.e. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and their descendants.

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and scaffolding; unruly piles of rubble, wood offcuts; dated kitchen cupboards; old mattresses; upside down sofas; and sacks of half-used building materials. Other houses bear the traces of recent improvements – new double-glazed windows; plastic doors with stained glass; bright white gutters; dormer windows in the roof; small extensions over the porch and into tiny back yards. These are the material legacies of a housing improvement programme funded through New Labour’s Single Regeneration Budget. These were subsidised home improvements in this neighbourhood that caused tensions to flare in Keighley due to perceptions of unfairness in where public monies were being spent, and who was benefitting from these investments. Just beyond an empty laundrette, I reach the end of Eagle Street. On the corner with Spencer Street there is a small cluster of shops: Continental Foods; Pride of Punjab takeaway; Kashmir halal butchers. I decide to turn left and walk downhill. From Spencer street you can look on to the back of the grander terraced houses that line Devonshire Street – many of which are now the offices of accountants, solicitors and insurance brokers. Most of the back yards have been fenced off and are accessed through heavy gates. Some accommodate tightly parked cars while others have garages sprayed with graffiti. After a hundred metres or so I come to

Figure 7.2

Highfields housing improvement programme

Source: Author’s photograph.

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rest on the wall of the Jami Madinah Masjid Mosque, another handsome Victorian building that was originally built as the Spencer Street Congregational Church. Encounters everywhere … Encounters seem to be all the rage at the moment. Flicking through the contents of recent journal editions, browsing the calls for papers for upcoming conferences, or the arrival of edited collections like this book, all reveal an intellectual excitement – and perhaps modishness – around the idea of encounters. My own research has certainly been shaped by encounters. In particular, I have found encounters a useful concept for understanding the messy, iterative, and emergent processes of Othering and racialization. But I also like the way in which encounters also carry with them a sense of hope and possibility. Helga Leitner (2011, 830) captures this sense of potential when she writes that working with spaces of encounters shows us that categories of difference can be destabilised and that ‘new spaces for negotiating across difference’ can be created. In this chapter I take the opportunity to pause and reflect on how encounters have been enrolled in recent writing about cities – and in particular in research that is concerned with ‘living with difference’. My contribution is framed by a worry that recent work on encounters and living with difference tends to understand encounters in particular and narrow ways. Specifically, there is a tendency to focus primarily on the coming together of human strangers in much of this literature, and yet in cities we never only encounter other human bodies (see Hovorka this volume). Everyday urban experience is made up of all kinds of other encounters with myriad material things (architecture, infrastructures, everyday design and technologies, non-human bodies); visual cultures (from ubiquitous advertisements to signs and other technologies of instruction); soundscapes; smells; atmospheres; ‘structures of feeling’; memories; ghosts … As such, my concern is that we risk missing something when we forget, or diminish, these other urban encounters. Part of my aim in this chapter, then, is methodological. Les Back (2007, 141) has argued for the importance of inventories of multiculture; that is for the documentation of the everyday and unspectacular ways in which people live together. Through my narratives I introduce new methods and more literary styles of writing that explore ways of meeting Back’s calls for an inventory by documenting the more-than-human spaces of encounter that constitute multiculture. Drawing inspiration from psychogeographical writings on the city, I am interesting in taking geographies of encounter and living with difference in some different and novel directions. Psychogeography refers to the practices developed by the Situationists in the 1950s to challenge the excessively ordered city conjured by modernism by directing us to ‘obscure places, to elusive and ambient effects’ (Sadler 1999, 76). In particular, I borrow three tenets from psychogeography to rethink geographies of encounter. First, psychogeography provides the method of drifting (or the dérive) that involves walking in the city alert to ‘the attractions of the terrain and the

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encounters they [walkers] find there’ (Debord 1956). Second, psychogeography focuses on how we experience the city, and how individuals cannot be divorced from the urban environment. Third, and finally, psychogeography introduces more poetic and literary ways of documenting how the city is experienced (see also Wilson this volume). Approaching encounters through the lens of psychogeography focuses analytical attention on materiality, affect and experience. In the stories I tell here, I work towards understanding how encounters with the mundane things that constitute urban space and the moods of particular places are part of on-going processes of differentiation through which race is performed and negotiated. Furthermore, encounters with the material and immaterial elements of the urban landscape also shape how other people are encountered in these spaces. My opening narrative sets a scene. It evokes a particular urban landscape and recounts some of my encounters with Keighley2 – both embodied encounters while out walking and doing go-along interviews, and mediated encounters, through stories I was told, or those I read in the archives of the local newspaper. In crafting this narrative I have dwelt on myriad encounters – with people, architecture, sounds, building debris, cars, shop signs, businesses, atmospheres – in the interest of capturing something of the experience and ‘structures of feeling’ involved in living with difference in this former mill town. ‘Structures of feeling’ is a phrase Raymond Williams’s (1977, 133) used to describe ‘social experience in solution’3 as he argued that literature distilled and deadened the immediacy of lived experience of emergent cultural forms. In this sense, my narratives also self-consciously address the affective registers of encounters that emphasise that multiculture is lived and felt. Woven through my narrative are stories of neighbourhood change; stories of the quick sorting and judgement of human bodies – and other things – in processes of differentiation; tales of conflict and tension sustained by urban myth, gossip and moral panic; and descriptions of atmospheres that variously incite feelings of homeliness and discomfort. This narrative, then, sets up the more inclusive understanding of encounter – what I am calling more-than-human encounters – that is developed conceptually and empirically in this chapter. In the next section I briefly situate recent work on encounters. This section argues that the focus on encounters, and a privileging of what Ervin Goffman 2 Keighley is a former mill town in the Bradford metropolitan district area. In the 2011 UK census the population of Keighley (and the surrounding area) was at 49,453. Of this population 39,474 people self-identified as ‘White: British’ and 6,667 self-identified with the category ‘Asian or Asian British: Pakistani’. British Asians make up the largest minority group comprising 13.5% of the population of Keighley and its surrounding area, and this population is concentrated in two neighbourhoods, Highfields and Lawkholme Lane. 3 Raymond William’s uses the term ‘solution’ as it is understood in chemistry. His phrase ‘social experience in solution’ tries to communicate a sense of lived experience that can never fully be contained or captured by words; something is always lost in the translation of lived experience into words.

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(1967) called ‘facework’, is a product of the theoretical touchstones to which much of this work turns. The following section on more-than-human encounters brings another set of sensibilities to bear on encounters, taking inspiration from traditions of writing the city that explore the significance of everyday life, urban experience, and our encounters with the materiality of urban space. This work is disparate and at times contradictory, but it alerts us to the ways in which we encounter and experience the urban landscape and its distinct moods and ambiances. Psychogeography, in particular, offers modes of attending to, researching, and writing about the ways in which encounters with places, things, atmospheres and people get caught up in processes of racialization. In the final sections I put these sensibilities to work in two narratives that exemplify how processes of differentiation in Keighley involve encounters not only with human strangers, but also particular landscapes and particular things, in this case taxis. Encountering human strangers In the UK, dominant representations of multiculturalism are couched in narratives of failure and crisis. An unrelenting focus on spectacular and troubling events that include urban disorder and disturbance, terrorist attacks, gang violence, religious extremism and sexual exploitation, has the effect of evoking a state of emergency, licenses endless hand-wringing about segregation and migration, and fuels a ‘resurgent assimilationism’ (Back et al. 2002). At the same time, and often in response to these dominant discourses of failure and crisis, momentum is gathering behind research that emphasises the ordinariness and the banality of living with difference in British cities. This research begins with the demographic fact of what Stuart Hall (2000) famously called ‘multicultural drift’ in British cities. The concern is not whether multiculturalism as a policy and biopolitical regime of governing difference has failed or not. This research recognises that our cities are already multicultural places, and so seeks to understand how people with diverse identifications, attachments and senses of belonging, rub along, share, and negotiate urban space. It is this focus on prosaic urban negotiations that has generated a surge of interest in encounters – whether it is the ‘throwntogetherness’ of difference in our cities (Massey 2005); the growth of transnational mobility that has intensified this gathering of social differences in what some call – somewhat gauchely – ‘super-diverse’ cities (Vertovec 2007); the diversity of the gaze (Sennett 1994); the everyday doing of living with difference – in streets, cafés, taxis, buses, parks, busy markets, playgrounds, neighbourhoods … (Laurier and Philo 2007; Wilson 2011, 2013; Swanton 2007, 2010b; Watson 2005); the importance of micro-publics for unsettling prejudices and nurturing moments of engagement or recognition (Amin 2002); or sites of intervention to be nurtured in participatory research methods (Askins and Pain 2011).

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This turn to encounters, and a concern with what Ash Amin (2012, 5) describes as ‘the phenomenology of everyday experience’, marks a shift, then, in the epistemological and methodological orientations of research on multicultural places. The focus on ethnographic description and the analysis of ‘habits of being among others’ (Amin 2012, 79) offers very different portraits of the social geographies of multicultural cities. It troubles talk of segregation and parallel lives that are habitually enrolled to explain urban disturbances and terror attacks, and are often taken as a symptom of the failure of Britain’s experiments in multiculturalism (Finney and Simpson 2009; Peach 2009). But the concerns that have underpinned a fascination with encounters are not only epistemological and methodological; they are also political. A lot of the work on encounters is motivated by a desire to trouble the renaissance of Gordon Allport’s (1954) ‘contact hypothesis’ in much of the policy literature that is produced in response to issues of segregation, cultural difference and integration. The ‘contact hypothesis’, and a disturbing spatial determinism that assumes spatial proximity will necessarily produce more interaction, mixing and, therefore, more harmonious or ‘cohesive’ social ties, figures prominently in policy responses to perceived failures in multiculturalism. Recent work on the geographies of encounter does not see interaction as a panacea for the challenges that face multicultural societies. Rather this work seeks to better understand the contexts in which happy and unhappy encounters unfold; to show how encounters always open up histories of past encounters; to better understand how social norms and habits of relating to others are produced and performed (Ahmed 2000; Amin 2002, 2012). Contemporary work on encounters is largely based on a dialogue staged between two literatures. The first, might be described as a ‘cosmopolitan turn’ in writing on cities (Valentine 2008) that examines the hybrid urban cultures produced by the throwntogetherness of strangers in cities, and that asks how we strangers might live together (Massey 2005; Sandercock 2003). Cities gather and produce social difference (Jacobs and Fincher 1998; Isin 2003), and the interest in encounters puts a contemporary twist on much longer traditions of writing about the city that dwell on the peculiarly urban experience of sharing space with strangers (Sennett 1994; Young 1990; Amin 2012). Recent interest in encounters, often allied with ideas of conviviality, has been used to make the argument that planners need to bring people together through shared activities in sites that enable shared identifications to be explored (Gilroy 2004; Fincher and Iveson 2008). Quite rightly there has been some reflection on the claims made for the possibilities of encounters between strangers. In particular, Gill Valentine (2008) has warned of the dangers of celebratory claims made for encounters as a baseline urban democracy or foundation for a politics of living with difference. Valentine has noted, for example, that good or positive encounters often fail to travel, and that encounters often leave attitudes and values unmoved, or worse still, they can confirm and entrench prejudices. However, the emphasis on encounters and conviviality do seem to offer routes to an agonistic politics of

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living with diversity based on engagement and negotiation, and offer compelling alternatives to the existing policies that stress social cohesion based on fixed notions of common values, community and shared identifications (Fincher and Iveson 2008). A second set of influences is more eclectic but broadly focuses on encounters and difference, zooming in on the doing of interaction and trying to understand what happens in physical encounters between bodies marked and recognised as different (Ahmed 2000; Willis 2010). The focus on encounters directs our analytical gaze to processes of identification, differentiation and racialisation as they unfold. Social constructionism has taught us that race is not fixed; it is a fabrication. Allying this conviction, that race is something that is made, to a focus on encounters thus puts the emphasis on how race takes place. Race is an emergent effect of the sorting of bodies in the here and now of an encounter (Swanton 2010a, 2010b). Second, the focus on encounters encourages us to pay attention to the emotions and embodied experiences that shape, and are shaped by, processes of racialisation and Othering (Leitner 2011; Ahmed 2000). Much of the work on encounters takes seriously the emotions felt during social collisions – fear, desire, indifference, love, hate, suspicion, etc. – and sees these emotions as active constituents in processes of differentiation. The next section develops this focus on encounters and processes of Othering. Specifically, I argue that pyschogeographical writing helps us tune into the ways in which processes of differentiation are at work not only in encounters with other people, but also in more-than-human encounters with the urban landscapes, the ‘structures of feeling’, and the many other things that make up the city. More-than-human encounters The sudden change of ambiance within the space of a few metres; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contours on the ground) the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected (Debord 1955, 2).

Debord’s evocation of distinct psychic atmospheres, sudden and turbulent changes in ambience and the appealing or repelling character of particular places, resonated with the everyday multiculture that I repeatedly encountered while doing fieldwork in Keighley. Doing ethnographic research in Keighley had taught me how multiculture is felt and practised. But this sense of immersion in place, and the ways in which processes of differentiation and racialisation work through particular landscapes and places is often absent in existing work on spaces of encounter. The specific atmospheres, soundscapes, and all manner of ‘things’ – buildings, clothing styles, food, music, language, smells, etc. – that are at work in processes of differentiation seem to be forgotten, or in some way overlooked as

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we try to understand how race comes to matter in moments of encounter. There are clearly exceptions. For example, Alex Rhys-Taylor’s (2013) account of sensory multiculturalism in an East London street market, Amanda Wise’s (2010) work on ‘sensuous multiculturalism’ in an Australian suburb, or my own work that explores how particular kinds of car get caught up in processes of racialization in Keighley (Swanton 2010a). There are also rich traditions that recognise how social relations are bound up with material things (Miller 2008), and how subcultural styles are used to manufacture social distinctions (Hebdige 1979). But my argument is that these kinds of sensibilities seem to be regularly suppressed or downplayed in all the excitement about encounters between human strangers. I turn to traditions of writing about the city that explore the significance of everyday life and urban experience to address this blind spot in work on the geographies of encounter. This writing has a long, and unruly, genealogy ranging from surrealist writings on the city associated with writers like Louis Aragon, Andre Breton and Walter Benjamin through to the work of the Situationist International in Paris of the late 1950s and 1960s, or more contemporary psychogeographers like author Iain Sinclair (2003) or filmmaker and essayist Patrick Keiller (2013). While there is not the space here to discuss these authors in depth, what I do want to emphasise is that their diverse writings engender particular sensibilities and nurture specific orientations to cities. For me, psychogeographical writing in particular offers one way of thinking and writing differently about encounters in multicultural places. It involves the profusion of close detail and the inventories of things encountered at particular sites. It promotes an attunement to the moods, atmospheres and ambiances of places encountered. Together, these point to distinct and novel ways of understanding and analysing urban multiculture. The emphasis is on thick description and immersion, and I am struck by how psychogeographical writing, in particular, provides tactics for holding on to the ways in which racial differences are performed and negotiated not only in encounters between (human) strangers, but also in encounters with the materiality and atmospheres of urban everyday spaces (see also Slocum 2008). Another striking example of the kind of attunement and style of writing that I am thinking about is evident in Kathleen Stewart’s experimental practice of ‘cultural poesis’. In her evocative book Ordinary Affects, Stewart (2007) narrates a series of encounters where something happens, drawing her readers into the thick textures, multiple trajectories and affective intensities of everyday life in contemporary America. Through a palimpsest of moments and encounters, Stewart draws out the significance of the unremarked and the unremarkable, and shows how ‘structures of feeling’ encountered in place are never merely a passive backdrop to everyday lives. These structures of feeling envelop and surrounds us. They affect how we inhabit everyday spaces; they act as a pull or a charge that produce feelings that enable and constrain. Encounters with place and atmospheres do things: they perturb, haunt, interrupt, depress, uplift, comfort. Difference might come to matter in these encounters with place-based ‘structures of feeling’, but such structures of feeling also shape how other people are encountered in these very places. My

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point is that the atmospheres of a place can shape our dispositions to others that we might meet. These more literary and poetic approaches offer, I argue, some suggestive cues for thinking about urban encounters and writing about the multicultural city. First, they emphasise the importance of thick description. In After Method John Law writes that the social sciences ‘tend to make a mess’ of dealing with the messiness, confusion and complexity of the world (Law 2004, 2). Social science methods and styles of writing distort in their desire for clarity and order, tuning out that which is ‘vague, diffuse or unspecific, slippery, emotional, ephemeral, elusive or indistinct, changes like a kaleidoscope, or doesn’t really have much of a pattern at all’ (ibid.). Psychogeography and cultural poesis provide tactics for becoming both more attuned to the messy realities of lived experience and developing ways of better describing these experiences. In the context of my research in Keighley, these approaches helped me understand the significance of materiality and immateriality in shaping experiences of the city, and how these are important, if overlooked, elements in processes of racialisation. For example, psychogeographical writing enabled me to better appreciate how more-than-human encounters – with cars, the aesthetics of home improvement, with soundscapes – were continuously enrolled in processes of differentiation (see de Witte this volume). It helped me slow the impulse to focus on face-to-face interaction and re-centre the human body, or more precisely skin colour, in processes of Othering. As such, psychogeography has been formative in developing my understanding of the often fleeting and diffuse ways in which race is performed. Elsewhere, I have argued that race can be understood as a technology of differentiation, examining how heterogeneous elements – ranging from the human body to architecture, from the reputations of places to soundscapes – are enrolled in the sorting of human difference in encounters (Swanton 2010; Sheth 2009). In addition, psychogeography and cultural poesis provide ways of evoking the affective intensities involved in living with difference in places like Keighley. Much of the discussion of affect in cultural geography tends to be abstract and – for some at least – alienating. But psychogeography and cultural poesis introduce a vocabulary that helps describe and understand the emotions and feelings bound up with the day-to-day experiences of urban multiculture. Depictions of mood and atmosphere, or descriptions of turbulence and the interplay of forces, help to think though how emotions and feelings are produced through particular contexts, and how these feelings shape and mediate how particular bodies are encountered, sorted and judged in these contexts. What emerges is a very different kind of social geography of the city. It is a social geography that is concerned with how particular feelings cleave to certain places in ways that charge these spaces – as welcoming or threatening, as homely or exotic – in ways that also produce frictions or induce tendencies to attraction or repulsion. And so these approaches help me address how encounters leave an impression and recognise the precise intensities, qualities and modalities of these encounters, whether it is civility, neighbourliness, indifference, curiosity, fear, or hate.

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Encountering difference In the final sections I want to gather the sensibilities outlined above in two stories, and explore how they might develop different orientations to urban encounters. The opening narrative that introduced the chapter started this work, weaving a set of stories together in an imaginative reconstruction. The narrative of passing through and feeling contact zones and the fleeting emergence of difference is written through my body, but it draws on go-along interviews, urban myth, photoethnography, interview material, participant observation, newspaper archives, gossip, walking, and philosophy to evoke something of the shifting intensities of encounters and processes of Othering and racialisation. The next two sections continue this work. ‘Back street’ explores the materialities and ambiances that produce structures of feeling in a back alley in Highfields, and examines how the feel of this place evokes different responses among different people. The final narrative considers encounters with taxis, and how encounters with these peculiarly public cars open out into stories of inter-ethnic intimacy and moments of racialisation and violence. Back street Spencer Street. A back street in Highfields. A cul-de-sac. The flow of traffic along this long street is perturbed on this block by a low brick wall, an irregularly tended patch of grass and a sapling – the result of traffic calming measures in a densely populated neighbourhood. I am only five or so minutes walk up the steep hillside from the bustle of the town centre. In the near distance I can hear the roar of engines as vehicles strain to climb West Lane. A road that produces the effect of a tangible frontier between Highfields, a neighbourhood of late Victorian terraced housing, and Braithwaite, a post-war local authority housing estate of stuccoed semi-detached houses and bungalows built high on the moor above the town. Crossing West Lane you move between ‘zones of distinct psychic atmosphere’; you move between white neighbourhoods and Asian neighbourhoods. On my way to this spot, just around the corner, at the junction of Devonshire Street and Edensor Road, I had to negotiate a pop-up fruit and vegetable store that had set up on the pavement. An ancient and battered white transit van is parked at the side of the road. The back and side doors open, revealing its cargo. Wooden crates and packing boxes rest on the pavement and on low boundary walls displaying the wares of this improvised store: sacks of onions, boxes of ginger, aubergines, okra, melons, coconuts, chillies, huge bunches of coriander and mustard greens … The store is run by an Asian man in his forties wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. He hands over a full plastic bag to a woman wearing a turquoise salwar kemeez and cream cardigan; another woman with a small boy in tow is inspecting and carefully selecting vegetables. But now standing, looking along this stretch of Spencer Street, I am caught up in the distinct atmosphere of this neighbourhood. All traffic is obstructed by washing lines strung between the pollution-stained stone terraces, propped up

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Figure 7.3

Washing on Spencer Street, Keighley

Source: Author’s photograph.

by wooden poles positioned in the middle of the road. The laundry airing in the summer breeze gives an insight into the material cultures of these homes: bed linen in muted colours, some with floral patterns, billow in the wind; brightly coloured kids’ clothes from high street stores; salwar kemeez and beautifully embroidered shawls. But these washing lines also make a territorial claim on the street. The street has become an extension of domestic life. Outside incursions, like passersby looking for a short cut down the hill to the town centre, are discouraged. Muffled voices float from an open window in a language I don’t understand, but it sounds like Urdu. From the tone of the exchange it sounds like a woman is issuing instructions. The noise from a television spills out from a neighbour’s house – it sounds like a South Asian music channel streamed into this house via the satellite dish – the same kind of satellite dish that adorns each of the houses on this street. I walk further down the street, ducking under washing lines and weaving around parked cars. Ahead there are a couple of kids charging around a small yard, taking turns to fly down a red and yellow plastic slide. Up ahead, where the road is blocked by another stone wall at the junction with Drewry Road, there are a couple of teenagers. One is dressed in a tracksuit; the other in jeans and designer jumper. Both have carefully styled and heavily gelled hair; both clasp mobile phones in their hand. They lean against the wall talking through an open car window to another young Asian lad. It’s a Honda Civic that has been modified. It is accessorised with a plastic body kit, an exhaust designed to amplify noise, and

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low profile tyres. As I approach, the pulsing bass from an expensive sound system moves through my body. Kids hanging out. Or, teenagers up to no good? Encounters with this street press on different bodies in different ways. For many of the residents this is a homely space. A place of comfort and of safety. The neighbourhood and its atmospheres embody diasporic connections. Homeliness is an affect produced through relations to other places as much as the bricks and mortar of the terraced houses. Relations to other places materialised through food cultures, language, television signals, clothes, internet connections, family photographs. This is a sense of home that involves a Britishness that also includes attachments to other places through family, through linguistic and cultural practices, and through religion. But for others – people who don’t live here and encounter it more fleetingly – the neighbourhood seems to leave a very different impression. In many conversations during my fieldwork I encountered imaginative geographies that sorted the town into patchworks of familiar and strange spaces; of go and no-go areas, of white and Asian neighbourhoods. It was part of a neighbourhood that I was told had been lost, an Asian neighbourhood. The folding of Kashmiri space into this former white working class neighbourhood produced an uncanniness; it provoked uneasiness and nostalgia. People from other parts of Keighley would routinely talk of streets in Highfields, Spencer Street included, being taken over. White folk had been driven out by the discomfort of feeling outnumbered as more Pakistani families moved into the area. There were also tales of intimidation. Others avoided the area. ‘It’s a no-go area’. Moral panics about Asian gangs – about drug dealing, violent attacks and racist abuse on whites – stick to this neighbourhood. A murder in a Highfield back alley a few years ago and stories of other violent attacks in the Keighley News, all strung together in narratives that fuelled a moral panic about gang violence and constructed young British Pakistani men as threatening. These stories cleave to these streets in Highfields. They cloud how some imagine and encounter this neighbourhood. While some people refused to go there, others encounter these streets through intensities of suspicion, dread and fear. The narrative of the back street, and the descriptive work of paying close attention to the textures of this place, shows how the urban landscape becomes caught up in processes of racialisation through the material culture of place, the visual marking of territory and the circulation of gossip and rumour. What emerges here is a ‘materialist imagination’ (Anderson and Wylie 2009) that recognises the entanglement of humans and non-humans in social relations, and that processes of social differentiation are at work in interactions between people, but also in encounters with all kinds of material and immaterial things. The emphasis on the importance of more-than-human encounters has some significant implications for wider debates about how race should be theorised (Saldanha 2006; Swanton 2010b). Specifically, I argue that descriptions produced in psychogeographical accounts help us understand what race does in interaction, and shifts our focus a little from more established concerns with what race is and what race means. My argument is that race needs to be understood as a social construct, but also as a

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technology of differentiation. Race is a fleeting and precarious achievement that takes form in processes of differentiation that sort and judge human difference. In the narrative above, the force of various material things – architecture, the aesthetics of home improvements, the vegetables sold in the street, the washing hanging on lines, or the sounds spilling out of windows – in the processes of differentiation becomes clear. What is more, it becomes clear that the material and immaterial elements of this back street leave different impressions on different people. While this street is encountered as an Asian neighbourhood, the affective registers shaping how this space is encountered depends on positionality – some experience it as a homely space, others feel excluded or threatened. Through its emphasis on the subjective experience of urban landscapes, and more literary modes of expression, psychogeography generates novel insights into everyday multiculture. It highlights how urban multiculture – like the city – is multiple, and our experiences of multicultural places are shaped by positionality and individual biographies, as well as wider contexts and biopolitical regimes. Taxis Cooke Street. A tree-lined street bordering the Town Hall Square. Four white Hackney Carriage taxis are lined up at the taxi rank. The drivers are all British Pakistani men – an indication of systematic discrimination in the local labour

Figure 7.4

Taxis in Keighley

Source: Author’s photograph.

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market that left few employment opportunities for British Pakistani men following the closure of the town’s textile mills. The drivers huddle a few metres away in the shade of a tree. Their group grows and shrinks with the flow of customers. And while they are waiting for their next fare, their conversation – mainly in Urdu from what I can overhear – rises and falls. But often they stand together for long periods without talking, comfortable with the silence between them. As I sit across the square observing the rhythms of this taxi rank, or when I speak to taxi drivers and their – almost exclusively white – passengers, it becomes clear that taxis disrupt the usual tendencies of bodies in the town. Taxis are a peculiarly public kind of car that produce moments of interethnic intimacy. As shoppers weighed down with bags are ferried home, or as drinkers are transported home in the early hours of the morning, the sharing of space in the taxi becomes just one small part of the day-to-day rub of multiculture. In a town where so much of the talk is about ‘us’ and ‘them’, and ‘white’ and ‘Asian’ neighbourhoods, taxis provide transgressive spaces of intercultural intimacy that repeatedly stage encounters between differently raced bodies. As driver and passenger share space in the taxi there are opportunities for conversation, small kindnesses (like help carrying shopping, tipping, or waiting until a passenger makes it safely into their home), recognition, and the discovery of shared interests. But as I sit there watching the ebb and flow of taxis, and the rituals of greeting and conveying instructions as passengers that arrive at the first unmanned taxi are approached by a driver, all kinds of other stories about taxis flicker in and out of consciousness. The potential for banal transgression in these intimate and mobile contact zones often goes unrealised. Taxi encounters too often slip into indifference, rudeness, refusals to pay fares, racist abuse and violent attacks. Just a brief glance at local newspapers regularly throws up such incidents: Cabbie’s killer was a regular customer A man convicted of killing a cabbie in a random attack was a regular customer at the taxi firm, it has been revealed. Michael Metcalfe, 46, was jailed for life for murdering devoted family man Mahmood Ahmed, a driver for Speedline Taxis, based in Russell Street, Keighley. Mr Ahmed’s body was found in Slack Lane, Oakworth, in April last year. He had been stabbed in the heart (Keighley News 02.02.2007, 1).

Like involuntary memories these stories puncture the here and now of an encounter. Stories of murder, sit alongside other tales of racist violence that include a driver whose throat was slit by someone trying to steal his takings (Telegraph and Argus 15.09.2004) or a driver who had part of his ear bitten when he tried to stop a passenger running off without paying his fare (Telegraph and Argus 01.06.2005). These events are shocking and spectacular. But these stories also stick. Their repetition in newspaper articles or everyday talk in the town leave an impression. They come to shape how drivers and passengers interact in the

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intimate space of the taxi. It appears that proximity and repeated contact hold no guarantee for conversation or meaningful exchange. Indeed the very coming together of bodies and sharing of space – especially when mediated by alcohol – appears to intensify processes of racialisation. But other stories also stick to taxis. Stories of sexual predation and sexual attacks by British Pakistani men on white women and girls swirl around taxis and their drivers in Keighley. As such, suspicion and innuendo ride on the taxi: Police hunt new cab sex attacker (Telegraph and Argus 20.07.2004, 1) Why I had to quit cab office hell (Telegraph and Argus 14.07.2004, 1) Cabbie was in sex case before (Telegraph and Argus 22.06.2004, 1)

Emotive stories about the grooming of white girls by Asian men circulating through local and national newspapers, urban myth, Channel 4 documentaries,4 gossip and British National Party propaganda have routinely suggested that taxi drivers have been involved in predatory practices. Sexual innuendo – articulated through tales of paedophilia, sexual predation, misogyny, disrespect and cultural difference – has congealed around taxis, and has been intensified by other stories carried in the local press about sexual assault and harassment by taxi drivers. The repetition of these kinds of stories begins to colour perceptions. Sexual innuendo and racialised suspicion gain momentum as much through fleeting, but repeated, encounters with taxis as through representations in the local press. And given the taxi’s public visibility, and the nature of taxis as a particularly intimate contact zone, the fact that suspicion and innuendo repeatedly stick to the taxi in heterogeneous processes of racial differentiation is particularly damaging. These stories of taxi encounters introduce two arguments. First, the emphasis of description that I take from psychogeography and cultural poesis provides a method for documenting and writing about the mundane, unspectacular ways in which people share space and live with difference. In a former mill town, where imaginative geographies of go and no-go areas and perceptions of segregation are entrenched, simply describing moments of interaction, conviviality and intimacy begin to disrupt talk of ‘parallel lives’. The closure of the textile mills 4 On the eve of local elections in May 2004 Channel 4 dropped a documentary called Edge of the City from their schedule. Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, attempted to hijack the documentary – which included an investigation of the grooming of under-age white girls for sex by a ‘gang’ of Asian men in Keighley – by claiming it was a party political broadcast for the British National Party. While the documentary was broadcast later in 2005, the tumultuous media coverage surrounding the cancellation of the programme entrenched (mis)perceptions that only Asian men in Keighley were involved in the sexual abuse of children, and exaggerated the extent of their involvement.

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and discrimination in much of the labour market means that the majority of taxis in Keighley are driven by British Pakistani men. This, combined with the fact that taxis are a peculiarly public kind of car, means that taxis offer mobile spaces of interethnic intimacy. They are an important, if overlooked, space of everyday interaction through which it is possible to garner glimpses of local cultures and histories of conviviality. Taxis provide sites of intercultural contact and intimacy that Amin (2002) suggests might nurture meaningful exchanges that produce understanding, recognition and familiarity. But the descriptive work of documenting encounters also reveals how the transgressive promise of intimacy regularly fails. This has implications for the claims that are regularly made about the need for more interaction and for how different means of living together better, are imagined. It is important to identify and document the ongoing interactions and negotiations of difference in places like Keighley, while also recognising that these interactions can also be uneasy, tense and sometimes violent. Much of the work on geographies of encounter invests heavily in the transgressive potential and intercultural possibilities of interaction, without paying sufficient attention to the quality of encounters, and the affective intensities through which differently raced bodies come together (Swanton 2010a, 2010b; Valentine 2008). These stories of taxi encounters show how more interaction is not sufficient in and of itself. They demand a more sanguine evaluation of the ways in which more interaction might nurture intercultural engagement and understanding. Second, these stories of encounters with taxis illustrate how race is performed and sexual innuendo circulates with the mobility of taxis in Keighley. This argument develops my claims about the need for a materialist imagination to understand how human and non-humans are active participants in processes of social differentiation. These taxi encounters begin to illustrate how race rides on cars in places like Keighley; processes of Othering and racialisation are performed with taxis as they move through the streets of the town (Swanton 2010a). In narrating these taxi encounters I am also interested in how the material and immaterial collide in everyday interactions. As Sara Ahmed (2000, 7) has suggested, ‘encounters are mediated’; they open up histories of past encounters. In my stories, I introduce this idea by hinting at how encounters are clouded by involuntary memories and half-remembered recollections of other – often spectacular – taxi encounters. Newspaper stories, urban myth and gossip stick to certain cars and their drivers and give shape to encounters. If we understand the technologies of differentiation at work in our interactions, we can begin to appreciate how material and immaterial elements leave impressions and shape dispositions. Conclusion I began this chapter with Les Back’s (2007, 141) call for an inventory of multiculture that recognises the ‘mundane, unspectacular ways in which people

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live with the muddle of cosmopolitan life [that] needs to be defended against those who exaggerate its failure’. As such, part of my aim in this chapter was to examine novel ways in which we might meet this call. By staging a dialogue between recent work on the geographies of encounter and psychogeography and cultural poesis I have documented the sheer entanglement of diverse lives in our cities, the unremarkable everydayness of hybrid urban cultures, and the different feelings and intensities that are at play as processes of Othering and racialisation unfold. This chapter represents, then, a step towards a very different kind of social geography. By crafting particular ways of seeing and knowing the city, and through the work of description, I work against the dominant ways in which living with difference in former mill towns in Northern England is represented and understood through tropes of segregation, parallel lives, terrorism and cultural difference. My three narratives have crafted accounts that seek to hold on to – rather than tune out – the complexities and messiness of everyday multiculture. The effects are accounts that are at once more hopeful than dystopian urban imaginaries of segregation and parallel lives, but also more doubtful about celebrating the possibilities and promises of more interaction. Beyond crafting new ways in which we might become attuned to, and write about, the social geographies of urban multiculture, this chapter has also challenged how encounters have tended to be theorised in much of the recent literature. Work on what Leitner (2011) calls ‘spaces of encounter’ has made significant contributions to how we understand unstable performances of race, and how we imagine conviviality and a politics of multicultural getting along. Indeed it has been crucial to my thinking about everyday multiculture. And yet so much of urban life, and the myriad encounters that constitute the urban, seem to be missing in this work. This chapter broadens how we imagine and understand geographies of encounter. Specifically, I have argued that we need to adopt a ‘materialist imagination’ (Anderson and Wylie 2009) to understand how processes of differentiation work through encounters with human bodies, but also all kinds of material and immaterial things: buildings, landscapes, structures of feeling, soundscapes, cars, newspaper headlines, gossip, memories. This emphasis on more-than-human encounters also involves a reconsideration of race. In order to understand what race does in moments of encounter it is helpful to theorise race as a technology of differentiation. Here race is understood as a fleeting and diffuse achievement that is enrolled in the often pernicious sorting and judging of bodies. This materialist imagination addresses the distinct moods and atmospheres of particular settings that buffet our encounters, often shaping the intensities through which we encounter difference. In terms that Kathleen Stewart might use, this chapter identifies the moments where the something that is happening is race, to provide new ways of understanding the devious, elusive but also enduring ways in which race comes to matter as we make sense of the world around us.

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Acknowledgements I am grateful to Jonathan Darling and Helen Wilson for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. I would also like to acknowledge the ESRC who supported the fieldwork on which this chapter is based (award numbers PTA‐026‐27‐1380 and PTA‐030‐2003‐00490). References Ahmed, S. (2000), Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Postcoloniality (London: Routledge). Amin, A. (2002), ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity’, Environment and Planning A 34, 959–980. Amin, A. (2012), Land of Strangers (Cambridge: Polity Press). Anderson, B. and Wylie, J. (2009), ‘On geography and materiality’, Environment and Planning A 41, 318–335. Askins, K. and Pain, R. (2011), ‘Contact zones: participation, materiality and the messiness of interaction’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29, 803–821. Back, L. (2007), The Art of Listening (London: Berg). Back, L., Keith, M., Khan, A, Shukra, K. and Solomos, J. (2002), ‘New Labour’s white heart: politics, multiculturalism and the return of assimilation’, The Political Quarterly 73(4), 445–454. Debord, G. (1959), ‘Theory of the derive, in Knabb, K. (ed.), Situationist International Anthology (Berkley: Bureau of Public Secrets). Debord, G. (1955), ‘Introduction to a critique of urban geography’, in Knabb, K. (ed.), Situationist International Anthology (Berkley: Bureau of Public Secrets). Fincher, R. and Iveson, K. (2008), Planning and Diversity in the City (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Finney, N. and Simpson, L. (2009), Sleepwalking to Segregation? (Cambridge: Polity Press). Gilroy, P. (2004), After Empire (London: Routledge). Goffman, E. (1967), Interaction Ritual (New York: Pantheon Books). Hall, S. (2000), ‘The multicultural question’, in Hesse, B. (ed.), Un/Settled Multiculturalisms (London: Zed Books), 209–242. Isin, E. (2003), Being Political (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Jacobs, J. and Fincher, R. (1998), Cities of Difference (London: The Guildford Press). Keiller, P. (2013), The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes (London: Verso). Laurier, E., Whyte, A. and Buckner, K. (2002), ‘Neighbouring as an occasioned activity: finding a lost cat’, Space and Culture 5(4), 346–367.

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Laurier, E. and Philo, C. (2006), ‘Possible geographies: a passing encounter in a café’, Area 38(4), 353–363. Leitner, H. (2011), ‘Spaces of encounters: immigration, race, class and the politics of belonging in small-town America’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(4), 828–846. Massey, D. (2005), For Space (London: Sage). Neal, S., Bennett, K., Cochrane, A. and Mohan, G. (2013), ‘Living multiculture: understanding the new spatial and social relations of ethnicity and multiculture in England’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31(2), 308–323. Peach, C. (2009), ‘Slippery segregation: discovering or manufacturing ghettos’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, 1381–1395. Rhys-Taylor, A. (2013), ‘The essences of multiculture: a sensory exploration of an inner-city street market’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 20(4), 393–406. Sadler, S. (1999), The Situationist City (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). Sandercock, L. (2003), Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities in the 21st Century (London: Continuum). Sennett, R. (1994), Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilisation (New York: W.W. Norton and Co). Sheth, F. (2009), Towards a Political Philosophy of Race (Albany, NY: SUNY Press). Sinclair, I. (2003), Lights Out for the Territory (London: Penguin). Slocum, R. (2008), ‘Thinking race through corporeal feminist theory: divisions and intimacies at the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market’, Social and Cultural Geography 9(8), 849–869. Stewart, K. (2007), Ordinary Affects (Durham: Duke University Press). Swanton, D. (2007), ‘Everyday multiculture and the emergence of race’, in Dwyer, C. and Bressey, C. (eds), New Geographies of Race and Racism in the British Isles (London: Ashgate), 239–254. Swanton, D. (2010a), ‘Flesh/metal/car: tracing the machinic geographies of race’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(3), 447–466. Swanton, D. (2010b), ‘Sorting bodies: race, affect and everyday multiculture in a mill town in northern England’, Environment and Planning A 42, 2332–2350. Valentine, G. (2008), ‘Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter’, Progress in Human Geography 32(3), 323–337. Vertovec, S. (2007), ‘Super-diversity and its implications’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 30(6), 1024–1054. Watson, S. (2005), City Publics (London: Routledge). Williams, R. (1977), Marxism and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Willis, J. (2010), ‘Social Collisions’, in Smith, S., Pain, R., Marston, S. and Jones III, J.P. (eds), The Sage Handbook of Social Geographies (London: Sage), 139–154.

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Wilson, H.F. (2011), ‘Passing propinquities in the multicultural city: the everyday encounters of bus passengering’, Environment and Planning A 43(3), 634–648. Wilson, H.F. (2013), ‘Collective life: parents, playground encounters and the multicultural city’, Social and Cultural Geography 6(14), 625–648. Wise, A. (2010), ‘Sensuous multiculturalism: emotional landscapes of interethnic living in Australian suburbia’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(6), 917–937. Young, I. (1990), Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

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Chapter 8

Encountering Religion through Accra’s Urban Soundscape Marleen de Witte

Introduction Encountering the bustling West-African city of Accra is an intense sonic experience. The metropolis is alive with sounds. Everywhere music is in the air, pulsating from portable radios, car speakers, and open-air drinking spots. Taxis honk their way through traffic jams; street hawkers market their wares; markets and transport hubs are cacophonies of voices: talking, calling, shouting, hissing, bargaining, quarrelling, laughing, singing, preaching. Amidst the fullness of sounds in the city, religious sounds claim a prominent place, day and night. Roaming evangelists on street corners, markets and in buses try to persuade their audiences of the word of God with raucous voices or loudspeakers at full volume. Charismatic radio preachers and Ghanaian gospel hits enter urban space on the airwaves, while singing and praying voices of devout Christians escape private rooms and church buildings through open louver windows. Many Muslims live and practice their faith in Accra and five times a day the azaan sounds from large and small mosques throughout the city to call them to prayer. After dark, the sounds of Christian night vigils merge with those of nightclubs, drinking spots, traditional drumming, private parties, and funerary wake-keepings. This chapter explores how religious diversity is encountered and negotiated through the urban soundscape. Critical of the dominant tendency in western thought to privilege sight over hearing, historians, human geographers, and social scientists have explored the ways in which ‘soundscapes’ (Schafer 1994) or ‘sonic geographies’ (Gallagher and Prior 2013) generate shared senses of space and acoustic communities, structure identities and power relations, and are transformed by negotiations between different groups and developments in audio technology. Sound, particularly in the dense urban environment of plurality and propinquity, is central to the lived experience of the city and crucial to the negotiation of urban space (Atkinson 2007). As sound waves easily transgress spatial boundaries, mediate between public and private, and have a physical impact, soundscapes are never objective or neutral. Numerous disputes over ‘noise’ indicate that sound, noise and silence, and the distinctions between them, are much more than a matter of decibels (e.g. Baily 1996; Jethro fc.; Smith 2000; Van Dijk 2001). For instance, Hillel Schwartz argues that campaigns against the

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ringing of church bells in nineteenth and early twentieth century European cities were the result of ‘changes in attitude toward certain kind of customary sound … and changing notions about the nature of noise’ (1995, 2). Church bells were silenced, he writes, not because they were (or were perceived to be) louder, but because they belonged to a constellation of sounds whose significance was in the process of being reconfigured as ‘noise’ (ibid., 6). Part of a moral and aesthetic economy of sound, then, ‘the boundary between desirable sound and unwanted noise is very much a constructed, contingent, and historically variable one’ (Mody 2005, 177). Understanding how we might encounter the city through sound thus requires unpacking the social and cultural dynamics, conditions, backgrounds and groups that give rise to the production of these soundscapes and asking how they interact to constitute the city as a site of contesting sounds and rhythms. In the multireligious city of Accra, the sonic presence of religion does not go unchallenged. Charismatic-Pentecostal churches in particular are often accused of ‘noisemaking’. Their styles of worship and preaching are generally boisterous, their powerful public address systems push the sonic boundaries of their meetings far beyond their churches’ open walls and their numerous radio broadcasts transmit their preachers’ voices into each and every corner of the city. Above all, their ‘allnight prayer meetings’ deprive surrounding residents of their sleep with music, frantic preaching, and cacophonous tongues that loudspeaker systems deliver right into bedrooms. This causes moderate friction all year round, but during the annual ‘ban on drumming and noisemaking’ imposed by the Ga traditional authorities the confrontation over sound and silence in the city comes to full and even violent expression. This conflict over noisemaking provides a fascinating example of how religious and cultural difference in a city that is at once a national capital and an ethnic territory, is encountered through sound. Accra is formed by a complex history of pre-colonial settlement, commerce, colonial and post-colonial administration, migration influx, socio-economic differentiation, and territorial expansion. In this sense, Accra is built on encounters and religion has always been a part of these. But the boom of charismatic Pentecostalism, especially since the 1990s, has made an unprecedented impact on urban life and landscape. Taking the conflict between charismatic-Pentecostals and Ga traditionalists over noisemaking as a case study, I wish to foreground the importance of the soundscape for urban life and religious encounter, which is understood as inter-religious as well as human-divine. Approaching the question of urban encounter from the angle of the religious soundscape, I discern two, interrelated dimensions of religious encounter: first, the encounter between different religions in the city – charismatic Pentecostalism and Ga traditional religion – and the frictions and exchanges that may ensue; and second, the encounter between humans and spirits. Religious sound practices play an important role here, calling gods or spirits into presence and sacralising urban spaces. Drawing out the interconnections between religious subjectivities, urban space, and sonic geographies, I will argue that religious clashes over the sonic sacralisation of urban space in Accra should be understood not only in terms of a competition for symbolic control over urban spaces, but also as a spiritual

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struggle over the transcendental capacities of urban space and the city. Fought out in the capital of a modern nation state, the clash over the ban on drumming simultaneously exhibits the city as a space of encounter between secular and religious visions of the city itself. Religious diversity and the urban soundscape During the month-long period preceding the Ga harvest festival of Homowo, the traditional authorities in Accra prohibit drumming, tapping, clapping and other forms of ‘noisemaking’. The local deities, it is said, need their peace of mind to concentrate on the growth of the corn, before it can be harvested and cooked into a ritual dish to ‘hoot at hunger’ (as homowo translates) during the festival. Accra has always been a city of many religions, but in the past this traditional religious custom rarely caused problems. Between 1998 and 2002, however, the refusal of several charismatic-Pentecostal churches to respect the ban led to violent clashes with Ga traditionalist groups and heated debates about the right to the city, religious freedom, and cultural heritage. Churches called on their right to freedom of worship and the right of Christians not to be involved in what they called ‘demonic’ rituals. At the same time, traditional authorities and priests opposed the ‘noisemaking’ that accompanies charismatic worship, which, they claimed, violates their constitutional right to the protection of ‘cultural heritage’. Churches were raided, instruments seized, and worshippers wounded, until in 2002 a Task Force on Nuisance Control was installed to resolve the matter. What eventually stabilized the conflict was the metropolitan assembly’s turn away from treating the issue as one of religion and culture toward an environmental health discourse about noise pollution in the city. Whilst Accra cannot be understood outside of this religious context, questions of religion have often been absent from the established canon of urban theory, long ruled by the notion of the city as the space of secular modernity par excellence. This assumption has come under increasing criticism in recent years, with a growing scholarly interest in exploring the place of religion in the modern city not as a residual category, but as part and parcel of the formation of modern urban culture (Beaumont and Baker 2011; Becker et al. 2013; Gómez and Van Herck 2013; Steinhoff 2004; SI IJURR 2008; SI Culture and Religion 2012). What is notable about much of this recent interest is the emphasis on an apparent resurgence of religion in the city, framed in terms of a ‘renaissance of religion in the world’s metropolises’ (Global Prayers project), or linking the question of urban religion to a notion of the city as a ‘post-secular’ site of cultural diversity and encounter in the context of global migration (Garbin 2012; David 2012; Orsi 1999). Most cities in colonial and postcolonial Africa, Africanist urban historians have pointed out, have always been alive with a plethora of religious movements, prophets, missionaries, and institutions (e.g. Freund 2007). Diversity of religion, culture and ethnicity was constitutive of the very formation of African urban spaces

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as sites of converging and competing religiosities. As John Parker has described, an ‘ongoing, uneasy dialogue between Christianity and indigenous belief’ (2000, 55), intimately bound up with politics, marked Accra’s early colonial days. Conversion to Christianity, the performance of funeral rites, and the arrival of Hausa Muslim settlers in town all became highly ambiguous affairs and arenas of negotiation between various groups of Africans, missionaries, and colonial officials. In their efforts to order the city, the latter had to compete for access to land with numerous actors, including independent mediums and sorcerers, more established local religious figures, and chiefs. One way in which urban anthropologists, historians and religious scholars have theorised the presence of religion in the city is through a focus on religious practices of sacralising urban space, including processions, festivals, religious architecture, material culture, music and other sounds. Sacred space is inevitably contested space (Chidester and Linenthal 1995, 15) – its sacredness and its boundaries being easily disputed – and is therefore closely tied to questions of power. This is especially so in multi-religious cities like Accra, where different religious groups co-exist in close proximity and in competition for followers and resources. As will become clear below, the spatial politics of charismatic Pentecostalism in particular is informed by a constant need to reassert and expand its occupation of space, as its relation to territorial space is essentially unstable (Fer 2007), while indigenous African religions are often characterised by a localised, territorialised spatiality. These territorial practices and imaginaries of indigenous religions are usually studied in relation to rural landscapes (e.g. Greene 2002), but in the urban context they are challenged by cultural and religious plurality, and modern bureaucratic governance structures. Sound, several scholars of religion have pointed out (e.g. David 2012; Garbin 2012; De Witte 2008; Hirschkind 2006; Oosterbaan 2009), plays a powerful role as religious groups mark their presence in the public space of the city. Religious sound practices have often been analysed in terms of their symbolic meanings in cultural and religious life, or as symbolic markers of religious identity and difference. But sound also has a ‘more-than-representational’, affective quality that constitutes a powerful force in the religious politics of presence and the working of religious/sacred spaces (Holloway 2006). As Martijn Oosterbaan has argued for Brazilian Pentecostalism, ‘sound can touch us and evoke a sense of social boundaries that are not merely symbolic but also physical’ (2006, 87) and hence ‘sound not only reflects (symbolises) power, it also constitutes power’ (ibid., 105). Similarly, Garbin (2012), in his work on transnational Kimbanguism, points out that the sonic power of divinely ‘received’ music is a key element of the sensory experience of the sacred (cf. David 2012). The particular quality of sound, fusing the material and the nonmaterial, makes it a powerful medium for establishing encounters between humans and spirits, individually as well as collectively. Sound thus provides a fruitful entry point to exploring the entanglements between urban space and religious subjectivity and the ways in which religious imaginaries inform believers’ perceptions and experiences of the city (Meyer 2007b). In an

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urban context of religious and cultural diversity, religious subjectivities are always relationally constituted, often through conflict or competition not simply for ‘hearts and minds’ in terms of support, but for some kind of ‘spiritual’ engagement with the transcendental elements of urban space itself. In what follows, I will show how religious spatial strategies of sound and silence are bound up with the unseen forces of the ‘invisible city’ (De Boeck and Plissart 2004) as much as with the politics of visible presence. The charismatic ‘colonisation’ of Accra Accra can be considered a ‘religious global city’: it is the birthplace and home of a number of large and internationally successful churches, all in the charismaticPentecostal (or neo-Pentecostal) spectrum. Although Lagos is often counted among the global capitals of Pentecostalism (Ukah 2013), along with cities like Sao Paulo or Seoul, Accra too has witnessed a lasting boom of charismaticPentecostal churches that was sparked in the late 1970s. Concurring with the mounting pace of neo-liberal reform, and in many ways entangled with it (De Witte 2012; Meyer 2007a), churches like the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and the World Miracle Church International attract still growing numbers of young, aspiring urbanites with a powerful vision of the future, characterised by the entanglement of cosmopolitanism, mass media and transcendental power. Their prestigious construction projects and their technologically well-equipped mega-churches lend material evidence to the reality of their promise of prosperity, as do the ubiquitous images of their flamboyant, well-heeled celebrity pastors. Many of them self-confidently and successfully extend their activities to a global scale, establishing transnational networks of churches and connections. In Accra, hundreds of Pentecostal churches make a conspicuous mark on urban life and space. Fully engaged in recreating the world and the city (Meyer 2007a, 16; see Ukah 2013 for Lagos), these churches have entered the Ghanaian scene with an overt strategy of public presence. Their imposing buildings on well-spaced compounds stand out in the urban landscape as icons of success, materialising God’s anointing upon the church. What we witness here is that churches, supported by their own system of taxation – the principle of ‘tithing’ that requires church members to offer one tenth of their income to the church – take over more and more responsibilities from the state. This includes providing education, healthcare, social security and facilities for entertainment and cultural production along with the structuring and maintenance of urban space. Thus, by extending their ideology of progress to a rigorous practice of world-making, they materialise a vision of the city that the state once promised but never delivered. The location of new churches and meeting places has attracted public controversy, especially the conversion of residential accommodation into churches and the construction of churches at sites earmarked for residential facilities only. The open architecture of buildings in Ghana’s tropical climate

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combines with charismatic groups’ animated worship styles and use of sound amplification technologies to make for a strong presence in the urban soundscape. In addition, charismatic groups hold mass gatherings at public open-air places. The Independence Square in Central Accra – one of the national icons of modernity – is a popular site, where celebrity pastors from Ghana and abroad regularly attract tens of thousands of worshippers, as well as fierce criticisms of the apparent ‘charismatic colonisation of the nation’. It is the sound emanating from church buildings and meeting grounds that raises particular concern, being perceived by some as ‘excessive noise’, ‘a nuisance and a great worry’ for surrounding residents, especially at night (cf. Weiner 2014; Khan 2011). Charismatic churches’ use of sound reproduction technologies – radio, audiocassettes, CDs – have further strengthened their sonic presence in the city. Since the deregulation of Ghanaian broadcasting in 1992, privately-owned, commercial radio and TV stations have been mushrooming, claiming Accra’s soundscape from the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. Although churches may not legally own broadcast stations, new media freedom does allow them to buy airtime. As a result, the voices of media preachers and the sounds of gospel music and commercials announcing healing crusades and prayer summits are audible throughout the city, heard through radios and cassette/CD players in a range of public spaces, from taxis and taxi ranks to roadside stalls, kiosks and markets. The assertive physical and acoustic presence of this militant and exclusionary brand of Christianity has sharpened inter-religious tensions, particularly between charismatics and traditionalists. Unlike the earlier African independent churches (‘spiritual churches’), the newer charismatic-Pentecostal churches explicitly condemn traditional religious practices as Devil worship and require their members to refrain from participation in traditional festivals such as Homowo because of their demonic implications. Outside festival time, the presence of indigenous religion in the city is very low-key. There are shrines, but their location is hardly marked, if at all. The most visible and audible presence of indigenous religion is established by the Afrikania Mission, a neo-traditionalist organisation aimed at modernising and representing ‘African Traditional Religion’ in the national public sphere and confronting the public hegemony of (Pentecostal) Christianity (De Witte 2004). Its bright yellow four-storey office building, visible from afar and marked with ‘Afrikania Mission’ in bold lettering and a big roadside signboard, is clearly a way of claiming public presence in the cityscape, a sign also of being established as a ‘true religion’ rather than a ‘fetish cult’. On Sundays there is a worship service in the open-air entry hall of the building, replete with traditional drumming, nationalist songs, passionate preaching, and slogan shouting. Being a nationalist movement from the beginning, Afrikania’s worship practice and public representation are explicitly connected to identity politics and nationhood and seek to transcend ethnic distinctions. As will become clear below, this complicated Afrikania’s position vis-à-vis the ban on drumming and its ethnic territoriality.

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Competing with Christian churches in providing Sunday entertainment, Afrikania also conforms to the dominant style of being religious in present-day day Ghana: dressing up and going to church on Sundays to sing and dance together and listen to preaching, usually visible and especially audible for the whole neighbourhood. Its loudspeaker system serves not so much for reaching the handful of people that attend a service, but for establishing a sonic presence in Sunday’s battlefield of religious sound. Likewise, its radio broadcasts, its use of loudspeaker vans for ‘evangelisation’, and the two-day mass convention of traditional religion it held at the Independence Square in 2000 cannot be understood without reference to Christian modes of occupying public space.1 Violent encounters over the ‘ban on drumming and noisemaking’ It is in this context of a heightened public presence of religion that the Ga ban on drumming emerged as a focal point around which various religious and political actors negotiated their power over Accra’s urban space. While the custom of the ban is centuries old, as is the presence of Christianity and its sounds in Accra, it was not until 1998 that the practice developed into a major conflict over noise and public space (Van Dijk 2001). In May that year, a group of about 50 Ga youth and traditional rulers attacked the Lighthouse Chapel International, a charismatic church in Korle-Bu, an old Ga neighbourhood in central Accra. Following this violent physical clash, police investigations, claims and accusations by both parties, and a myriad of views on the matter inundated the media. Contributions of listeners to radio phone-in programs led the Minister of Communications, John Mahama, to ‘extreme circumspection’ in order to prevent ‘unguarded utterances that are currently whipping up ethnic sentiments around the issue’. Still, ethnic and religious tensions mounted and the conflict seemed almost irresolvable as both charismatic-Pentecostals and traditionalists called on the constitution, the former to claim their right to freedom of religion, the latter to demand protection of cultural heritage. In 1999 the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) determined that ‘while the ban on drumming is constitutionally protected, it does not extend to other groups, nor does it overrule the right of people practicing different religions to exercise their own freedom of worship’.2 This declared the general enforcement of the ban unconstitutional, but did not solve the conflict; it 1 This gathering brought together thousands of traditionalists from various indigenous cults all over the country. It involved proselytising and nationalist speeches, traditional ritual, and drumming and dancing. Held at the Independence Square, the place of the nation par excellence, it was clearly an answer to Pentecostal attempts at claiming the nation and a sign to the Christian majority that traditionalists are alive, kicking and numerous. 2 Ghana Review International, 18 May 1999, accessed at www.ghanaweb.com news archive.

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rather worsened the situation. In May that year ‘busloads of angry traditionalists armed with clubs and dangerous weapons’ stormed Pentecostal and charismatic churches in various parts of Accra, seizing or destroying musical instruments and sound equipment. The following year, religious and traditional leaders agreed to modify the ban, requiring drumming to be subdued and confined to the churches, although the latter was an unrealistic requirement considering the open nature of church architecture. Despite the agreement, attacks continued. On the first day of the 2001 ban, the Ga Traditional Council announced that the ban would again apply to all drumming and noisemaking. Churches refused to comply and a week later a Ga mob attacked the Christ Apostolic Church in Osu, Accra, and a further five churches were attacked the following week. The new NPP (New Patriotic Party) government led by president Kufour, who had come to power in January 2001, started negotiations with the Ga Mantse (‘paramount chief’), Nii Adote Obour II.3 A committee on the ban on drumming and noisemaking (officially known as the Greater Accra Permanent Conflict Resolution and Management Committee) was set up to mediate between Christian bodies and traditionalist groups and to prepare policy guidelines on the ban. Meanwhile, in the month preceding the 2002 ban on drumming, a Ga youth group was mobilising forces to ‘enforce the ban and meet any opposition with war’. They blamed the violation of the ban by charismatic and Pentecostal churches for ‘mysterious disasters’ that had befallen the Ga Dangme state in recent years, among which was a 2001 stadium disaster that killed over 100 persons, the death of a wulomo (‘priest’) who could not perform his traditional rites two years before, and the floods that hit Accra and its surroundings three years previously. To prevent violence that year, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) set up a Task Force on Nuisance Control that was to enforce a 1995 local bye-law abating ‘excessive noise’ in the city. The Task Force was made up of people from the AMA, the police, and the Environmental Protection Agency; no traditionalists or representatives of the traditional council were included. Eager to temper the religious tension around the issue, they went round the city with decibel measuring instruments to check sound levels not only around churches, but also around nightclubs and drinking spots. Initially, only Pentecostal and charismatic churches had been accused of, and punished for, disrespecting the ban while none of the other sources of noise in the inevitably noisy metropolis were included. It was only when arguments proceeded that sounds such as the Muslim call for prayer, music played at open-air drinking spots and night clubs, yelling at football matches, wailing at funerals, military drumming and trumpeting at state ceremonies, and shoeshine boys beating on their tool boxes entered the discussions. Sixty people were arrested during the 2002 ban on drumming for ‘excessive noisemaking’, including representatives of several churches and bar 3 The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is a liberal democratic party and one of the two dominant political parties in Ghana (the other being the social democratic National Democratic Congress (NDC)).

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operators. It was emphasised, however, that the enforcement of the law would continue after the ban on drumming. No violent clashes were reported that year, and nor were they in the following years, but the situation remains tense. With the Task Force on Nuisance Control a move was made towards interpreting noise in terms of decibel levels, measured throughout the year and during specified hours of the day and night. An environmental health discourse thus entered the discussion that described noise as ‘an acoustic phenomenon that produces an unpleasant or irritating auditory sensation’, which has the effect to ‘increase heart rate and blood pressure, shorter attention span, loss of memory, anxiety, reduced field of vision, gastro-intestinal problems, physical and mental fatigue, insomnia, bulimia, chronic hypertension, depressive or aggressive behaviour’.4 In April 2004 the Environmental Protection Agency launched an annual National Noise Awareness Day under the theme ‘Stop Noise, Protect your Hearing, Protect your Health’. Apparently, the turn to an environmental discourse of ‘noise pollution’ and noise as a ‘health hazard’ provided a way out of the impasse between freedom of worship and protection of cultural heritage. While the conflict between charismatic-Pentecostal churches and Ga traditional authorities is mostly seen as a conflict over religion, it has various layers that indicate that in Ghana, religion and politics can hardly be separated. It is also a conflict over different understandings of citizenship and territory between ‘native’ Ga people and ‘strangers’, mostly Akan (and born again), that have ‘invaded’ the city of Accra.5 Central Accra, or ‘Old Accra’, and especially the Ga Mashie area (Bremer 2002), including Jamestown and Ussher Town, is where urban settlement started in Accra in the early seventeenth century. Situated at the heart of the city by the sea, it is considered an indigenous Ga settlement of great cultural, religious and spiritual significance. Poverty, overcrowding, and unemployment, however, have seen its transformation from a prosperous centre of commercial and urban life into one of the most deprived neighbourhoods of Accra. In the ban on drumming conflict, born-again Christians make claim to universal rights, guaranteed in the constitution, on the basis of their national citizenship. For many ‘immigrants’ in Accra, most of whom are Christian and Akan, the city is first of all the national capital and they see themselves more as national citizens than as strangers in Ga country. The born-again Christians among them see no reason to respect a law associated with a ‘demonic’ religion from which they wish to keep their distance and claim their constitutional right to worship as they wish. Ga traditionalists on the other hand claim that there are religious obligations that come with local citizenship and their spiritual ties to Ga land. They feel that their land is invaded by foreigners who do not only loudly profess an exclusivist religion, but have also numerically, linguistically, and economically become far stronger than the Ga people, now a minority on their own land. What feeds this 4 Ghana News Agency, 11 April 2002. 5 In 1877 the British moved their capital from Cape Coast to Accra, which has hence been the centre of administrative function for well over a hundred years.

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frustration is the expropriation of Ga lands by the Ghanaian state and the misuse of such lands for private purposes, including church building. The wulomei see charismatic-Pentecostal leaders making money on their lands while their own people live in poverty. In order to exert their authority over the ‘strangers of the land’ once a year, an authority normally exerted by the state, the wulomei have been able to mobilise large groups of poor, frustrated Ga youth, who violently enforce customary law. Their boldness in the name of the spiritual obligations of local citizenship is a way of claiming supremacy over these ‘foreigners’ who do not respect the Ga people and their customs. As Garrioch (2003, 18) has argued for the early modern European absolutist state, ‘the power to change the rhythms of urban life, to control sound’ is a ‘formidable symbolic tool’. In this case, the ability to command silence, as a mark of respect, asserts the wulomei’s authority over Ga territory. Other groups of people in the capital, however, challenge this ability and use noise not only to protest against customary laws, but also to assert rights as national citizens. The Afrikania Mission has stood up as one of the main advocates of the ban, but finds itself in a complicated position between indigenous religion and nationhood. Afrikania seeks to de-ethnicise traditional religion by decoupling it from the traditional governance of local, ethnic territory and re-coupling its reformed version to the national, multi-ethnic territory. Paradoxically, then, the traditional practices Afrikania seeks to promote or defend conflict with the ‘universal’ norms and rights of its nationalist project. In the ban on drumming conflict, Afrikania hardly links up with the wulomei, because the ethnic identity that the wulomei fight for is exactly what Afrikania tries to overcome. Clearly, the conflict over the urban soundscape is bound up with power struggles in the national capital, where various groups claim authority over urban space on different political, historical or religious grounds. To further unpack these contests we have to recognise that in the African religious context earthly power often has a supernatural component (Ellis and Ter Haar 2004) and begin to analyse sonic and spatial practices not only as symbolic tools for establishing or disputing authority, but also in relation to beliefs about spirit powers and practices of engaging with them. This is what the next section sets out to do. Sound, space, and spirits For charismatic-Pentecostals, encountering the Holy Spirit forms the centre of attention and desire. It is the basis of being ‘born again’. This encounter, charismatic churches insist, is not to be mediated by ordained priests, sacred church buildings or elaborate ritual. Instead, they propagate a direct, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and an immediate access to the power of the Holy Spirit, which is at work beyond the materiality of sacred objects or spaces. Referring to Bible verse Matthew 18:20, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’, charismatics hold that it is the congregation of

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believers in the name of Christ that makes a space sacred. Charismatic groups thus use spaces like classrooms, private homes, theatre halls, stadiums and open spaces to come together, worship and be touched by the Holy Spirit. The architecture and sonic design of their own church buildings, often built and fitted like theatre or concert halls, underscores charismatics’ performative approach to the connection between space and the spiritual. Sound plays a central role in this performative sacralisation of space. Indeed, the very designation ‘auditorium’ for the main church hall – emphasising its function as a space for hearing – indicates such a connection. The sounds of music and singing, prayer and preaching, healing and prophecy have the power to evoke the presence of the Holy Spirit. In ICGC’s Christ Temple, service generally starts with ‘praise and worship’. Up-beat songs invoke the Holy Spirit and rouse the people, who participate by clapping, dancing and singing along. Slower, emotional songs make people lift their hands in surrender to the Lord and sing along, pray aloud, or cry. Preaching is characterised by variation in voice and volume. Vocal style is crucial. Typically passionate, loud, screaming, fast, and agitated, it underscores spiritual authority and embodies divine inspiration. The audience does not listen silently, but shouts interjections: Hallelujah! Amen! Yes! Prayer is far from silent either. People pray aloud, mixed together in human languages or in ‘tongues’, filling the auditorium with a buzzing cacophony of praying voices. Healing and prophecy is noisy business as well. Laying hands on heads or sick body parts, healing prophets cast out any demons that may be causing their sickness or various failures and loudly prophesise victory in the form of a visa, a villa, a pregnancy, a husband, or a business success. Shouting in their ears and in the microphone, they ‘take authority over any spirit of fear’, ‘uproot every assignment of demons’, ‘bind the works of the Devil’, and ‘command the power of the Holy Ghost’ to come upon them. Background music and sound effects by the church band intensify the drama of the performance for those inside and easily spread beyond church walls into the city air and the ears of those outside. In charismatic practice, then, sound, and loud sound in particular, infuses the worship space with affect and sensation (cf. Holloway 2006, 185) and is an important mediator of believers’ encounters with the Holy Spirit. More than the symbolic quality of sound (the meaning of words spoken or sung), it is its physical, tactile quality that makes the Spirit flow: the volume, tone and pitch of a preacher’s voice, a crowd of people uttering gibberish, the vibrations of the indecipherable shouting of a prophet on one’s eardrums, and the beat and melody of worship music. The importance of all this sound rests on the charismatic belief that ‘there is power in the spoken word’. By this, charismatics mean that divinely inspired sounds like the spoken Word of God or gospel music have a spiritual effect: they do not just represent something; they embody and thereby make present spiritual power. The ear serves as a bodily entrance for the Holy Spirit to touch and affect a hearing person. But the power of sound can be for good or for evil and the Devil can equally make use of this ‘doorway’. Listening to ‘worldly music’, especially sexually loaded song lyrics, or traditional drumming allows ‘demonic spirits’ to

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enter the body. The Holy Spirit and the Devil thus fight over the ear in order to enter a person’s body, as such, the battle between spiritual powers is fought aurally (cf. Oosterbaan 2009). Charismatic-Pentecostal sound politics should be understood in terms of this spiritual battle. From a Christian perspective, the city is a site of moral peril, where the devil and his agents abound. This is especially so at night, when witches and evil spirits – those connected with traditional ritual as well as those connected with urban nightlife – are believed to be more powerful. As Van Dijk (2007) has observed in Accra, Gaborone, and The Hague, Pentecostals construct a ‘nightscape’ as a domain of nocturnal activities, powers, and dangers in the city. Their night vigils stand out in this domain. These loud, animated and ecstatic meetings are designed to confront evil powers by occupying space with a forceful level of energy and decibels until daybreak, thus demonstrating their incapacity to control the true believer. Charismatic-Pentecostal strategies to establish a strong sonic presence in urban space are also a way of blocking out all other, potentially dangerous sounds, especially at night, and proclaiming victory over the powers of darkness. Protesting against noise nuisance caused by night vigils in residential areas is therefore prone to inviting accusations of being an agent of the devil. It is for this reason that few people dare to lodge any complaints. In contrast to the Pentecostal Holy Spirit, which is universal and can be invoked in any space, the deities (dzemawodzi) of Ga traditional religion are linked to specific sites.6 A traditional priest (wulomo) explained to me that the ancient wulomei have long ago buried ‘something’ in the ground that has always secured the spiritual ties of the Ga people to their land.7 This spiritual bond to territory underlies the Ga ethnic group’s claims to authority over ancestral lands and connects traditional religion to territorial governance and traditional understandings of citizenship. While the relationship between spiritual power and space or territory is very different in charismatic Pentecostalism and traditional religion, the emphasis on sound as a means of getting in touch with spirit power is remarkably similar. This is most clearly so with regard to the phenomenon of spirit possession, where the beating of particular drumming rhythms invokes the tactile presence of particular deities. A shrine drummer explained to me that every spirit has his or her own ‘signature tune’ and upon hearing that tune the spirit enters the body of the human medium, as manifested by particular styles of dressing, dancing, speaking, and moving. The physical sound of ritual speech has a similar power to connect to spirits, as exemplified by the practice of libation, the pouring of strong alcoholic 6 In Accra these include the Korle Lagoon (Korle deity), the Densu Lagoon (Sakumo deity), and the sea (Nai deity). The lagoon deities are the landowners of the town, with Sakumo being the senior deity of the whole of Accra. 7 One way of maintaining good relationships with the deity so as to ensure land fertility and human wellbeing was by burying ‘medicines’ (often including ‘some living thing buried alive’) in the ground and periodically ‘feeding’ the burial mound (Field 1937, 121).

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drink, water, palm oil, or food stuffs on the ground to call the presence of ancestors and deities and communicate with them through ritual speech (libation prayer). Charismatic-Pentecostal sound practices, which facilitate believers’ embodied encounter with the power of the Holy Spirit, show a continuity with traditional African ideas about hearing and spirit power, in which spoken or drummed words do not just have meaning, but are vibrations of air that physically contact and influence the addressee, human as well as spirit (cf. Stoller 1989, 111). The Ga Homowo festival and the ban on drumming and noisemaking prior to it therefore bring out particular connections between urban space, spirits, and sound. As a traditional religious practice of place making, the festival reinforces people’s bond to territory and safeguards land fertility and urban safety by pacifying the local deities with prayers and ceremonial offerings. The festival season starts with the ritual sowing of millet and corn in early May. The wulomei then announce a month-long ban on drumming and other sounds which is lifted with harvesting rites, characterised by spirit possession, singing and dancing in the open space, and beating the special obunu drums. The climax of the Homowo season is the celebration of Homowo Day in August. At night guns are fired to drive away unwanted ghosts. In the morning, chiefs in each quarter go around town and to cemeteries, the royal mausoleum, and other burial places of distinguished people, to pour libation and sprinkle some kpokpoi – a ceremonial dish made of steamed fermented corn meal and palm oil – for the deities and the ancestors. The heads of Ga families then sprinkle kpokpoi and offer libations to their ancestors in their homes. Finally, living Ga people, who return to their ancestral homes to share a ritual meal with dead and living family members, enjoy large quantities of kpokpoi with palm soup and smoked fish. After this, chiefs, priests, Ga people and visitors participate in dancing and drumming through the streets of Accra. Like charismatic-Christian sound practices, the practices of sound and silence during the Homowo season are practices of engaging with the invisible city, with the spirit powers felt to be present in Accra. Making sense of the religious urban soundscape thus requires that we do not reduce sounds and spaces to symbolic meanings and beliefs, or to socio-political processes, but equally attend to the affective registers and forms of embodiment through which believers come to experience the city as a space of visible as well as invisible realities. Conclusion The urban encounter at stake in this chapter has been a multi-layered encounter with the sonic sacralisation of space in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. As the analysis of the clashes between traditionalists and charismatics over the annual ‘ban on drumming and noisemaking’ has shown, the city as a space of encounter is not only a space where different actors and groups meet; it is also a meeting ground for different visions of the city that exist side by side, speak to each other, and sometimes compete. The modernist vision of Accra, informed by colonial and

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postcolonial visions and secular narratives, has coexisted with traditional Ga visions of Accra as an ancestral land containing particular sacred spaces. Although this ritualised approach to city space has come to be accommodated in the modern city as “cultural heritage”, the cohabitation of the modern state and the traditional Ga authorities has always constituted a field of tension and negotiation, especially with regard to land use. The state’s vision of the city as a secular space has come under increasing pressure since the 1980s, when the state failed to provide the modernity it promised and religious actors, aided by neoliberal reforms, entered the public scene. Charismatic-Pentecostal churches have successfully materialised alternative visions of the city: as a space upon which to lay out a divinely inspired ‘kingdom of God’ and as a spiritual battle ground between the holy spirit and the demonic forces that lure the city’s inhabitants into ‘the kingdom of satan’. In their acting upon urban space, both Ga traditionalists and charismatic churches make a strong appeal to the hidden world of forces behind the city that the eye cannot see. Sound, with its material and immaterial dimensions, appears as a powerful mediator between the visible and the invisible city, and is central to the power struggles in present-day Accra. Embedded within the urban soundscape is a negotiation of authority to determine who can make what sort of sound, and where and when. Charismatic groups’ loud establishment of public presence leads to irritation all year round: many Accra residents resent being confronted with charismatics’ sonic and doctrinal aggression. During the time leading up to the Ga Homowo festival, however, this tension acquires a double dynamic as charismatics’ expansionist politics of sonic sacralisation are met with other, traditionalist claims to the sacredness of urban space. The autochthonous Ga population’s traditional religion is strongly territorialised through ancestral ties to land and sacred sites requiring particular observances. In a cosmopolitan, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic city, this is inherently problematic. It is only during the Homowo season, however, that the Ga authorities declare the whole of Accra sacred territory and subject all residents to ritual laws about silence. But amidst the multiple noisemakers in the metropolis, they contest charismatic noisemaking in particular because of its political and economic implications. Implicated in this struggle for symbolic control of space through sonic presence is a connection between earthly power structures and struggles and spiritual ones. For both charismatic Christianity and traditional religion, sound practices are effective ways of bringing spirits into presence and tapping into their affective power. The struggle over sound and silence thus becomes a struggle over the flow and obstruction of spiritual power. In this struggle, both charismatics and traditional priests are concerned with the spiritual protection of the city. The practices of sound and silence during the Homowo season are practices of maintaining good relationships with the territorial spirits and ancestors of Ga country so as to safeguard land fertility and urban safety. Charismatic ‘noise’ and refusal to respect the ban are part of a spiritual battle against demonic forces they

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see lurking behind traditional festivals and rituals. As much as their loudness is a way of publicly asserting power, it is also part of the struggle between the Holy Spirit and the Devil. And, as much as the Ga traditionalists command silence in the name of the deities of the Ga lands, their political battle against the ‘stranger’ majority on their lands appears as strong a motive for their violent actions. The point is that these two dimensions of power can hardly be separated. The state, in attempting to restore order and reclaim its fragile monopoly over law enforcement, foregrounded a concept of sound as measurable decibels. This discourse shifted the focus away from sacred space and replaced the concern for the impact of certain types of sound on spirits with a concern for the impact of decibel levels on the human body. The year round application of noise laws also disregarded sacred time as defined by the Ga ritual calendar, but set aside the night as the time for bodily rest and silence. The state’s interference in the conflict thus hinged on modern, secular, ideas about citizenship, urbanity, and health. The city here emerges as a contested zone of secular-sacred encounter, where the religious production of urban space infuses supposedly secular spaces with sacrality and secularist visions of the city struggle to push the boundaries of this sacrality back into church buildings, cast as the delineated spaces for religion. This chapter has argued for including a focus on soundscapes and sonic practice in our engagements with the notion of ‘urban encounter’. Paying attention to sound and noise – some of the core stuff of city life – can make important contributions to current debates on urban materialities and the more-than-human nature of the city (see Latham and McCormack 2004; Swanton, this collection). This requires that we attend to the affects and embodiments that the urban soundscape produces and through which it is produced, in order to unpack the various relations – between (groups of) people, instruments, technologies, spaces, buildings, bodies, spirits and other elements – implied in the different ways sounds are made, amplified, experienced, silenced, debated, and understood. These processes are inherently political, as the case analysed here has shown. Such a sonic-material approach to urban encounter and the ‘practical negotiation of the city’ (Hubbard 2006, 96) also requires that we take into account, much more than I have been able to do here, the more prosaic ways in which soundscapes interact in the city. In other words, we need to develop a sensitivity – in theory and in method – to the subtle transgressions, contestations, tolerances, and affordances present in the ways bodies interact with other bodies, spaces, and things in their everyday urban world through sounding and hearing. Acknowledgements Parts of this chapter have appeared in different form in my article ‘Accra’s sounds and sacred spaces’ in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(3). The research on which it is based was carried out within the framework of the PIONIER research project ‘Modern mass media, religion, and the imagination

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of communities’ at the University of Amsterdam and funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). References Atkinson, R. (2007), ‘Ecology of sound: the sonic order of urban space’, Urban Studies 44(10), 1905–1917. Baily, P. (1996), ‘Breaking the sound barrier: a historian listens to noise’, Body and Society 2, 49–66. Beaumont, J. and Baker, C. (eds) (2011), Postsecular Cities: Space, Theory and Practice (London: Continuum). Becker, J., Klingan, K., Lanz, S. and Wildner, K. (eds) (2013), Global Prayers: Contemporary Manifestations of the Religious in the City (Zurich: Lars Mueller Publishers). Bremer, A. (2002), ‘Conflict moderation and participation: prospects and barriers for urban renewal in Ga Mashie’, in Mills-Tettey, R. and Adi-Dako, K. (eds), Visions of the City: Accra in the 21st Century (Accra: Woeli Publishing Services). Chidester, D. and Linenthal, E. (1995), ‘Introduction’, in Chidester, D. and Linenthal, E. (eds), American Sacred Spaces (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). David, A. (2012), ‘Sacralising the city: sound, space and performance in Hindu ritual practices in London’, Culture and Religion 13(4), 449–467. De Boeck, F. and Plissart, M.F. (2004), Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City (Gent: Ludion). De Witte, M. (2004), ‘Afrikania’s dilemma: reframing African authenticity in a Christian public sphere’, Etnofoor 17(1/2), 133–155. De Witte, M. (2008), ‘Accra’s sounds and sacred spaces’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(3), 690–709. De Witte, M. (2012), ‘Buy the future, now! Charismatic chronotypes in neoliberal Ghana’, Etnofoor 24(1), 80–104. Ellis, S. and ter Haar, G. (2004), Worlds of Power: Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa (London: Hurst). Fer, Y. (2007), ‘Pentecôtisme et modernité urbaine: Entre déterritorialisation des identités et réinvestissement symbolique de l’espace urbain’, Social Compass 54(2), 201–210. Field, M. (1937), Religion and Medicine of the Gã People (London: Oxford University Press). Freund, B. (2007), The African City: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Garbin, D. (2012), ‘Marching for God in the global city: public space, religion and diasporic identities in a transnational African church’, Culture and Religion 13(4), 425–447. Gallagher, M. and Prior, J. (2013), ‘Sonic geographies: exploring phonographic methods’, Progress in Human Geography 38(2), 267–284.

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Stoller, P. (1989), The Taste of Ethnographic Things: The Senses in Anthropology (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press). Ukah, A. (2013), ‘Redeeming urban spaces: the ambivalences of building a Pentecostal city in Lagos, Nigeria’, in Becker, J., Klingan, K., Lanz, S. and Wildner, K. (eds), Global Prayers: Contemporary Manifestations of the Religious in the City (Zurich: Lars Mueller Publishers). Van Dijk, R. (2001), ‘Contesting silence: the ban on drumming and the musical politics of Pentecostalism in Ghana’, Ghana Studies Review 4, 31–64. Van Dijk, R. (2007), ‘Testing nightscapes: Ghanaian Pentecostal politics of the nocturnal’, Etnofoor 20(2), 41–57. Weiner, I. (2014), Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (New York: New York University Press).

Chapter 9

Art Tactics and Urban Improvisation1 Mick O’Kelly

The backdrop for art interventions and tactical fields of operation is contingent upon the ability to adjust and improvise within the forces of globalisation. The future of urbanism beyond modernism no longer holds coherence as a universally applicable image. Neither does it hold coherence as a cultural vision or a method of intervention, whether this be for artists, architects or town planners, or for actors invested in everyday urban practices. The global city or megalopolis is not only challenged and influenced by expanding suburbs but also by secondary cities and other urban and semi-urban forms. I suggest that the reach of these influences is considerable, not only in addressing geographies of centre and periphery, but also in developing intersections between formal and informal economies on a global scale. It is with informal urbanisms that this chapter is most concerned and their ability to offer alternative ways to negotiate and articulate urban practices that seek new imaginings and possibilities within current conditions. In this chapter I focus on an informal community in Vila Nova, Brazil and examine how art might be understood as a form of knowledge production that seeks new imaginings. Art practices produce situations in which otherness and forms of improvisation that would not otherwise be apparent are given legitimacy. By working in collaboration with local residents, I argue that informal urban strategies become tools for negotiating logics of governance, power, formality and authority, from within the city. Art tactics of improvisation are pertinent within the wider knowledge economy, but at a local level they utilise low-tech skills and practical know-how to act into the contingency of situations. In practice, such contingent tactics encourage those involved to collaborate with others and thus produce spaces of social encounter. To elaborate these points, I draw upon the case of a community based art intervention named Nomadic Kitchen to examine how such a collaborative space of social encounter was produced and to ask what political, social and economic logics were encountered through this process of informal production.

1 Some material in this chapter has previously appeared in ‘Urban Negotiations and Art Tactics’, Mick O’Kelly, METU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, June 2011/1, (28:1) 179–196 (DOI: 10.4305/METU.JFA.2011.1.11), and ‘Urban Negotiations – Nomadic Kitchen and Strategies of Practice’, Mick O’Kelly, FIELD: A free Journal for Architecture, Volume 3, issue 1, 2009, 75–93.

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In examining Nomadic Kitchen, this chapter considers the fluidity of ‘art’ and ‘artistic’ practice, and demonstrates how particular epistemic assumptions about art are troubled through the production of artworks in situated (informal) urban contexts. In so doing, the chapter highlights a series of tensions, between the formal and the informal, the artistic and the political, and between aesthetic judgments on the one hand, and the desires of those involved on the other. Through highlighting the ‘making do’ of bricolage as an artistic practice – which was used to contribute to the production and reshaping of urban space in Vila Nova – the chapter examines the role of urban participatory art as a form of ‘minor’ intervention into the city (Deleuze and Guattari 1986; 1987). In this sense, as a form of participatory art, Nomadic Kitchen synthesises relationships between formal and informal kinds of know-how, methodologies, tools and thinking in the assembling of urban spaces and encounter. Developing a method to approach art as knowledge-production and as a series of strategies for action and tactics of improvisation, I draw on the philosophical thought of Deleuze and Guattari along with other practitioners in the field. Situating art practice in the context of informal urban space, Deleuze and Guattari’s work offers ontological mobility as a platform for action, while working within the constraints of more formal frames of artistic reference and informal urban contingency. In this sense, the structure of the artwork is informed by Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) discussions of ‘lines of flight’ and ‘desire’ as collective assemblages of energies, passions and actions in pursuit of common goals. Alongside Deleuze and Guattari, the chapter draws on Michel de Certeau’s (1988) writing on tactics, ‘minor practices’ and ‘bricolage’ as strategies for ordinary people to reclaim autonomy within the all-pervasive challenges of local politics and forces of consumerism. These oppositional practices have been linked to a wide array of different political articulations across the world and have been widely employed by social scientists in a variety of contexts (see for example Iveson 2007; McFarlane 2011). For example, we might think of the Brazilian concept of the Antropofagio, which holds that the appropriation of ‘making-do’ tactics constitutes a minor form of political action. Here the so-called ‘weak’ use the power and energy of the strong to create a space for self-determination despite the constraints imposed upon them, echoing the tactical uses of space described by de Certeau (1988). In the remainder of this chapter, I want to develop these conceptual frameworks by reflecting on the design and building of Nomadic Kitchen and through asking in what sense this participatory intervention constituted an ‘artwork’ and if so, for whom. Importantly, this artwork is not a case study in the academic sense, where a community of men, women and children are the subject of a research methodology, where reflective analysis and position are legitimated within the method and rigour of a pre-given domain of knowledge. Rather, this project and art practice was less about pre-given procedures and more about positions that were thrashed out and banged together, where improvisations fuelled a bricolage of know-how and live interventions in situ. As such, the method employed here is not readily transferable, either conceptually or geographically, as

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each art-action constructs a new approach. In short, the chapter places emphasis on conceptualising art actions as individual, singular and contingent moments of encounter and production that cannot be readily repeated or easily replicated. In the next section, I begin by situating Nomadic Kitchen within discussions concerning the tensions of artistic practice and the possibility that art tactics might present for the reworking of agency in spaces of urban informality. Section 3 then details how the assembling of Nomadic Kitchen took place, including the desires and practices that gave rise to its production and the means through which informal know-how was incorporated into formal mechanisms of spatial planning and design. Finally, the chapter concludes by raising questions about the normative distinctions that are often used to classify ‘art’, ‘politics’ and the ‘informal’ within urban settings. In focusing on Nomadic Kitchen as a process of becoming as much as it is an artwork or produced artefact, the chapter concludes by articulating a sense of the fluid convergences between know-how, experience and encounter that shape both urban landscapes and ‘art’ as an urban practice and intervention. Nomadic Kitchen and the tensions of artistic practice Nomadic Kitchen is an interstitial artwork that occupies a place between art and urban space and which emerged out of a collaboration between Nova União da Arte (NUA), Vila Nova (a favela community in Sao Miguel north east of Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Mudanca de Cena (an NGO that works with individuals and communities who are socially marginalised). The invitation for collaboration emerged in 2004 out of serendipitous meetings at the World Social Forum in Port Alegra and out of a shared interest in informal spatial organisation and the ability of art to engage in everyday practice. In so doing, it brought together residents of Vila Nova, including sociologists, architects, musicians and artists, in order to negotiate the political entanglements that produce urban space. Nomadic Kitchen was intended to function as a locus for residents to selforganise, to foster creative ways of developing urban environments and to build new contexts for living in particularly precarious circumstances. The structure of Nomadic Kitchen is fluid, flexible and adaptable to the contingency of informal urban arrangements and is nomadic precisely because it was intended to continuously change shape and as such, always be in a process of ‘becoming’. Thus, we might conceptualise this artwork as both a process of engagement and as an improvised tactic that seeks to explore the development of different forms of communal space and different modes of urban sociality. Importantly, artistic tactics of improvisation are not only counter-strategies to the institutional framing of art, which privileges the autonomy of the artistic aesthetic and spectacle, but they also function to critique the political via a spatial aesthetic politics (see Rancière 2004). In this context, Nomadic Kitchen probes the operational field where artists, through situated practice and what seem like random acts and detours, frequently intervene into urban spaces whose circumstances are indeterminate,

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urgent and frequently unpredictable. As such, this demands that artists engage beyond systems of representation and reflection to occupy and inhabit spatial encounters not only as aesthetic experiences but also as sites of social and aesthetic production and perception (Rancière 2004). In conjunction, Nomadic Kitchen, whilst about improvisation and informal practice, is positioned within the sphere of contemporary urban practices that, in a normative sense, aspire to formal coherence and some form of spatial and social organisation. To consider Nomadic Kitchen we need to examine and situate art tactics as central to the reinvention of agency. For example, de Certeau references artwork as having the potential to be ‘sly as a fox and twice as quick; [for] there are countless ways of “making do”’ (de Certeau 1988, 29–31). These tactics frequently operate in the power structures of bodies, as their actions and attitudes devise new tools for intervention within existing power structures. The artist here might be seen to operate within and across the transversal field of institution and post-institutional art (Guattari 2008, 48). For Guattari the transversal denotes a means to explore relationships within institutions as closed systems. The transversal is a conceptual tool that opens relations and positions across institutions to frame and form new assemblages. This is a useful model, where art operates outside of its familiar institutional frame. Rather than being preoccupied with the aesthetic object as the final designation the work emerges as a process of negotiations whose dynamics bring a visibility to spatial encounters that occupy ethical and political relations in the production of space. The case of Nomadic Kitchen highlights how men, women and children negotiate the contingency of their local environment within a context of wider global complexity. These encounters are fundamentally spatial, re-conceptualising space not as a natural phenomenon (i.e. a void we fill with objects, artifacts, and architecture), but rather as socially produced and negotiated through openings that enable individuals to think differently about the definition and distribution of roles and their social and spatial assumptions. In this sense, the distinction between art and non-art that Nomadic Kitchen questions, serves to produce transversal spatial encounters that trouble established boundaries of spatial position, social hierarchy and regulatory practice. In eluding categories of the artistic and the formal, whilst also posing questions of how such categories are maintained, Nomadic Kitchen set out to establish a transversal questioning of urban orders and hierarchies within its constituent community. An interesting working example of this form of artistic intervention, is articulated by Christian Kravagna (1998) who explores the notion of ‘radical democracy’ in the artwork of Michael Clegg and Martin Guttmann – an open air library without librarians. The collaboration between artists and community is established when a shelf is placed in the street and the community are asked to donate an initial installment of literature. Residents are invited to participate in an exchange of borrowing on the condition that they offer to replace one book with another. Indirectly, this art intervention explores the production and hierarchy of knowledge and its architectural archive as shifting from a top-down knowledge base, to a democratic system of knowledge production that is both bottom-up and

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self-regulating. Exploring the work of Clegg and Guttmann, Kravagna (1998) raises the question of how readily art may transcend the conditions and specificities of a particular site, and to what extent art can engage with the particulars of a space or place without being entirely prisoner to its conditions. Strategies for action offer an overarching schema in the field of operation, whereas the tactic of the artist subverts, manipulates and ruptures spaces of marginality and zones of exclusion from within, creating minor practices. Given its ‘minor’ and ‘tactical’ nature, Nomadic Kitchen is built on precisely these values of mobility and fluidness, seeking to engage and yet also exceed, the conditions of its site. The work was conceptualised as a material and conceptual structure that would be ‘nomadic’ in various senses, mobile and adaptable whilst also context specific. The question of where art ‘belongs’ and how it may or may not be transferred spatially and culturally, is also a question of how artworks and artists are situated within the axiomatic power relations of global capital and what Hardt and Negri (2000) term ‘Empire’. Such axiomatic power structures, which dominate both the visible and invisible spaces of social encounter, suggest that if ‘we recognise forms of global capital within regimes of empire as already visible and existent then within the wider cultural entanglements exist regimes of practice that operate in parallel’ (Hardt and Negri 2000, 289). Such fragmented topographies of spatial organisation and systems of representation via urban forms intersect as fragmented within a global economic system. Their discontinuities frequently operate under the radar, yet whilst they appear invisible, their coexistence and intersection appear simultaneously familiar. Informal practices, architecture, street traders and micro-economies of survival are always provisional and contingent to the changing circumstances that work in the shadows of government control. This is the space of the political (Deutsche 1996, 278). Where art strays into the arena of the political, such proximity and connections occupy and produce an aesthetic-spatial-political encounter that destabilises notions of what and where ‘art’ is. Encounters of this form, which suggest a deterritorialising transversality, often provoke anxiety for current art practice. They pose the questions of where and what ‘art’ is in any given context, and how we might recognise artistic practice itself. While giving energy to new forms of action, circulation and circuits of distribution, there is nevertheless concern about the identity of art being subsumed and cannibalised by the cultural and political entanglements of empire. To this end, there is a distinction between art that is political and political art. This is also the case for Nomadic Kitchen, for without the familiar devices of the plinth and the gallery, the work is consumed within the wider urban arena. As such, I think it is accurate to propose that current art practice occupies a more elastic realm of spatial action. Thus art practice cannot be defined as a movement but rather as a set of strategies that operate within and across the situated conditions of an aesthetic-spatial-political arena where the art event itself brings visibility to the conflicting logics and relations at play. Such practices are not restricted to a particular medium or material, or to particular forms of expression, but to some extent, they do state a position. In fact it could be that

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conflict becomes the very material that redefines art practice. Such practices have extended – or in more radical terms, departed from – the self-referential model of arts’ genealogical institutional frame. It certainly departs from the North American and European model, which emphasises the autonomy of the artist and art object and places it outside the reality of daily life and social encounter. Transversal practices not only privilege the public and the political arena as a site for action, but ‘ideology’ itself becomes the very material of art encounter and frames a theoretical position of social engagement. Examples of such strategies for action emerged in central and south America in the 1960–70s when artists working under dictatorship felt challenged by the relevance of art to create meaning in a society that limited freedom and platforms for public address. Also of significance to Nomadic Kitchen, are discussions that extend from the normative location of artistic practice, to the legal and performative contours of urban space – in particular through the lens of the ‘informal’ as a domain of social, spatial and political practice. The concepts of the ‘informal’ and of ‘informality’ are contentious within the social sciences, with a tendency to privilege informality as a condition of the Global South. However, a range of recent work has highlighted that informality is not a territory or geographical space but a practice that is encountered globally (see McFarlane 2012; Roy 2011; Tonkiss 2013). By drawing on the field of practitioners engaged in urban intervention I focus on the production of both the formal and the informal within the conditions of Vila Nova. Planned urban space is premised upon shared codes of how a wide variety of actors should inhabit and practice everyday activities. These shared codes of urban space set out what we regard as appropriate and normal, whether this be how we create a habitat, how we engage with the economy as producers and consumers, or how we create social bonds in both public and private space. These codes mark things out, fix positions and stake claims, and in many ways, frame, shape and constrain one’s subjectivity and identity. We encounter these shared codes and aspirations in the designed spaces of late capitalism and high modernism whose innovations were supposed to transform social life as a coherent system for living. For example, we might consider the 1951 Copan Building by Oscar Niemeyer in São Paulo. With 5,000 residents, 72 shops, a cinema and a church, the Copan Building is a self-contained enclave in the heart of the city’s financial and industrial centre. At its most primal level it is a mechanism and a ‘machine’ for living. However, this ‘machinic’ reading contrasts that of Deleuze and Guattari (1983, 1) for whom; ‘We are all machines making connection, couplings, connecting individuals to other individuals, an organism of sociability’. The machine in Deleuze and Guattari’s work is not made of anything, it holds no mass, form or dimension but functions as a mechanism for coupling desires and energies. In the case of the Copan Building, the enclave functions as a self-regulating whole, a socially affordable housing option for a middle class that inhabits a metropolis of contrasting inequalities and formal and informal urban improvisation. Formal planning strategies, such as those characteristic of late capitalism, are ontological in ambition, reflecting a modernist resolve for social cohesion. As such, these

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planning strategies follow conventional orthodoxies of procedure and urban managerialism, valorising processes of formal design application and governance in order to promote an image of a stable and well-regulated society. Such formal practices of design and planning stand in contrast not simply to a machinic reading of urban interventions and artistic practice, but also to the practice of constructing Nomadic Kitchen, a practice based on the assembling of desires and energies that Deleuze and Guattari (1983, 1) associate with organisms of ‘sociality’. It is to this question of desire and the production of sociality that I now turn. Desiring production and the design of Nomadic Kitchen In contrast to the high modernist coherence of formal architecture, informal spatial improvisation seeks out escape routes or, as Deleuze and Guattari (1983, 9–16) term them, ‘lines of flight’. They are not outside the dominant spatial realm of the formal but produce alternatives from within the realm from which they flee. Thus, as Deleuze and Guattari argue: ‘We think any society is defined not so much by its contradictions as by its ‘lines of flight’, it flees all over the place’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1986, 16–18). These lines of flight represent the conceptual application of minor practices and I suggest that we might see a series of parallels here to contemporary art practice. These minor practices stutter and stammer in relation to their major form and as such, they break with the status quo. While they appear to speak with what seem like familiar forms, they do something different, for rather than calling forth existent audiences they invoke new ways of engagement and participation that operate beyond the ready-made. The term ‘minor practice’ is closely associated with Michel de Certeau (1988) who takes a similar position to the power of agency in The Practice of Everyday Life. According to de Certeau (1988, 48); A Society is … composed of certain foregrounded practices organizing its normative and of innumerable other practices that remain ‘minor’, always there but not organizing discourses and preserving the beginnings or remains of different (institution, scientific) hypotheses for that society or for others.

Minor practices are implicated in the creative energies and productive powers of everyday urban actions. In the appropriation of such minor practices by contemporary art practice, I think such challenges provoke a number of questions. For example, what kind of tools, methodologies, knowledge and platforms for action, would prove productive in negotiating an interstitial space between a formal and an informal environment? What are the challenges for art tactics engaged in such precarious and complex urban entanglements such as those found in Vila Nova? What rationale can be employed to critique the aesthetic qualities of improvisation? In short, how does art bring a visibility to the challenges of the urban informal?

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As indicated, these questions and the impulse for Nomadic Kitchen evolved out of a series of meetings and conversations with NUA and Mudanca de Cena in an informal house in Vila Nova. The kitchen holds a significant place within Brazilian society, which stems from the colonial period when plantation workers shared communal kitchens. The architectural plan for Nomadic Kitchen laid out ideas of community – a common and collective space of subjectivity. Culturally, the notion of producing a Nomadic Kitchen denoted a way of doing social encounter, of doing business and an interface of exchange based on sharing both food and ideas was created. In this sense, the process of designing, planning and producing the Nomadic Kitchen, functions not as an aesthetic object itself but as a set of nomadic wandering lines – an alibi to do something else. Wandering lines of exploration have no predetermined or fixed outcomes in advance of achieving desirable goals. They are nomadic encounters in a nomadic community environment. By contrast to this perceived approach, the purpose of these community meetings were structural, centred on processes of financial and spatial planning and generating workshop outcomes. We might thus think of Nomadic Kitchen in two ways, firstly, as an artistic production – a communal object that emerged through collective engagement, discussion and a desire for something new. And secondly, as an artistic and collaborative process – a means of bringing individuals together to explore images of a shared urban future and to articulate and represent their hopes, dreams and desires for the community. Building on these meetings a series of art practice workshops were established with residents, social workers and interested agents who were invested in creating a space for regeneration within, and by, the community. The project began with desire as a means and strategy for urban action, which was fundamental to the production of creativity and the material form of socially-produced space. Building a sense of desire for Nomadic Kitchen was a collective pursuit – an assemblage of articulated passions and energies. As such, desiring production is not based on lack; on the contrary it is having too much of something – an overflow that creates multiple possibilities for an urban imagination. Desiring production does not prioritise the distribution of roles, nor does it make distinctions between them. Rather, desiring production invests in the aesthetic, the libidinal and political economies simultaneously. On this basis, there is no distinction between social production as ‘reality’ and desiring production as ‘fantasy’ for they are the same thing. Indeed, as Deleuze and Guattari (1983, 28) suggest: ‘[t]he truth of the matter is that social production is purely and simply desiring production itself under indeterminate conditions’. Driven by a collective desire to imagine a Nomadic Kitchen, the workshops collectively conceived the kitchen not as an object but as a space and process, allowing it to become an aggregate of desiring production to which diverse desires, aspirations and hopes were attached. In this sense, the project explored not the kitchen object but the kitchen-ness of a space as a place of social production, agency and action. The process of designing Nomadic Kitchen valorised the importance of collaboration and participatory art practice through its use of an aggregate of

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drawings, cardboard, bits of masking tape, glue and maquettes. It was thus a bricolage of collective imagination that produced a place to dream and which in time, would take on life-sized dimensions that spilled out onto the streets and alleyways in unpredictable ways to become a physical reality. By using what was at hand, including re-appropriated string and cardboard boxes from the local food supply, along with bits of discarded wood, model urban structures were made for Nomadic Kitchen (Levi-Strauss 1966, 18–20; Laclau 1996, 79). These models performed differently to the models used by engineers who know in advance what the designed and desired outcome of a project ought to be. Here a participatory process of collective imagining, design and discussion was undertaken as mundane materials and urban aspirations were fused together to produce models of the possible kitchen (see Figure 9.1). During the collaborative process, a desire to celebrate nature emerged, with participants visualising plants, flowers, vegetables and trees as central to the urban development. As a result, it was decided to build a temporary garden on the flat roof adjacent to the kitchen, which would maximize the limited space available. By re-appropriating plastic bottles and pots this modest garden would disrupt the challenges of an informal environment that was characterised by open sewers and flood plains.

Figure 9.1

Nomadic Kitchen Workshops in Vila Nova, São Miguel, Brazil

Photo: Mick O’Kelly, 2005.

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Despite these informal creative practices, state funding demanded that NUA’s work must be in compliance with, and adhere to, formal kinds of building and health and safety regulations, if it was to support NUA’s cultural development. It was clear that the informal assemblage of crayon drawings, bits of masking tape and cardboard maquettes would not be an acceptable method of communication to the normative, rational analytical codes of city planning. Following roundtable discussions that explored strategies and tactics to make progress on the project, it was decided to dip into the expanded networks of practitioners and organisations that were engaged in spatial organisation, along with other interested parties. Following this decision, we invited a young and emerging architectural practice by the name of Group 5 / Obra, to contribute to the spatial production of Nomadic Kitchen and to place it within the wider context of community and formal planning practices. Group 5 / Obra embraced and absorbed the nascent informal research from the community workshops. As such, they employed their conventional tools of design and communication to integrate forms of informal urban action into more formal plans, thus privileging the end-users vision for a kitchen that created and sustained agency. This broke away from conventional architectural design practices and ‘formal’ mechanisms of planning, to instead move towards the participatory and collaborative building of networks that value informal and nonanalytical kinds of know-how. In practice, the engagement with Group 5 / Obra allowed a process of translation to emerge, in which ‘informal’ and personal visions of the kitchen were brought into conversation with the demands of a more ‘formal’ design practice. In this regards, the workshops gave time and space to the sharing and negotiation of knowledge and know-how, whilst the construction process always left enough room for others to insert themselves into the process and generate new lines of improvisation. This mode of participatory practice is associated with the early work of artist Stephen Willats, who argued that participatory art practice should always involve multiple authors in the process of production and thus challenged the role of ‘the author’ and the idea of a fixed or passive audience (Willats 1978). This tactic of participation thus departs from conventional lines of art practice and spatial politics in order to move towards the development of a discursive space of minor practices of resistance. These everyday practices of minor resistance might also be distinguished as ‘lines of drift’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 202). These are the lines of cultural activity produced by actors regarded as marginal, and regularly overlooked as the producers of culture. As such, their activity often remains unreadable and unsigned within formal spatial organisation (see also Rancière 2004), for as political acts they fall outside the bounds of formal politics, while as artworks they fall outside of arts institutional frame. Whilst such spatio-cultural production and activity is determined as marginal and sometimes illegitimate, as Deleuze and Guattari (1986, 26) argue, in a context of participatory artistic practice ‘marginality is no longer limited to a minority’. On this basis, the phenomenon of informal

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architecture, shadow economies and urban interventions in the everyday should be regarded as global in their dimensions and not the actions of any straightforwardly ‘minor’ group. Mutuãrio: a minor economy of desiring and production The Mutuãrio is a collective form of action found in informal communities in Brazil and where individual need is served by collective goodwill and an economy of reciprocity between neighbours. It is a collective assemblage of urban selfbuilding energised by collaboration between neighbours and residents where additional living space is required. As I have argued to this point, Nomadic Kitchen was built with the desiring-production of mutuãrio investment. The construction process of model-making, drawing, maquette building and collage brought a visibility to the space that was dreamt and desired through the workshops held in Vila Nova. It thus multiplied the collective economy of desire from one of an imagined space to an architecture of urgency. The building of Nomadic Kitchen, whilst about desire and imagination, was also a manual effort that required the carrying of materials to the site, tiling, mixing concrete, roofing and so on. The overall aesthetic of Nomadic Kitchen was sympathetic to the organic ‘making-do’ tactic of informal urban architecture, which adapts to the contingency of the local situation and responds with creative tools of improvisation (de Certeau 1988, 29). For example, in advance of building the kitchen, preparatory work was needed to level the roof surface, which was achieved by laying a bed of concrete on the roof to receive ceramic tiles. In this process, oilcans were re-appropriated to carry concrete from the ground level to the roof of the site and handles were made from wood and fitted to their inner rim to offer a grip. Whilst this might seem a modest enough intervention, it was critical in terms of working quickly before the concrete hardened. As such, this form of inventive, situated and temporally constrained practice provides an example of the bricolage of making-do tactics that were so central to the construction of Nomadic Kitchen (see McFarlane et al. 2014). This sense of multiplying possibilities was extended throughout the different stages of the project, generating agency between participants by establishing a self-managed space. Agency is central to the productive modalities of bottom-up tactics of spatial production in favela communities, which challenges top-down orthodoxies of formal spatial governance. This urban development project and its capacities, synthesise the relationships between formal and informal kinds of know-how, methodologies, tools and thinking through the very building of urban space. These actions thus brought together the desires of different subjects, and shaped those desires into a collective engagement with an image of something new, something possible, by drawing on the prosaic force of minor actions, practices of bricolage, and the production of machine assemblages (see Figure 9.2a, b, c).

Figures 9.2a, b, c Mutuãrio construction of Nomadic Kitchen Vila Nova, São Miguel, Brazil Photo: Mick O’Kelly, 2006.

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Blind spots How do you really make a work of art that is not a work of art? (Kelly 2005)

Nomadic Kitchen’s status as a temporary interstitial art intervention is conceptually, materially and discursively disputed, as it straddles multiple contradictory positions simultaneously. Whilst the land and informal house are illegally appropriated, the kitchen is legitimately sanctioned by state protocols. As such, there are similar and dissimilar interests at play between state control and self-managed spaces. As Sarai (2005, 350) argues: People living between laws point us to the possibility of subverting these metanarratives of control in public space. By their acts of resistance to the system, they enrich the way we envision and intervene in such spaces.

The work undertaken within expanded urban actions functions as a parallax, a point between which no synthesis is possible due to a displacement of an object by a change of observation (Žižek 2009, 350). Importantly, keeping the kitchen nomadic valorises not the object-ness or the artistic spectacle of the material form, but rather the relations produced through the kitchen and crucially, what the kitchen may be capable of. The work generates a discourse through its affects, and through the aggregation of libidinal investment and economies of labour and it not only multiplies collective action, but also the desire for a common goal (see Figure 9.2c). At different stages of the construction, informal discussion explored the different perceptions of the work as we laboured. Some of the participants involved were open to the suggestion that Nomadic Kitchen could be an artwork, while others were indifferent and somewhat disinterested in its aesthetic but instead saw the possibilities that this structure opened up for their individual desires and needs. From the outset there was never a consensual agreement as to the status of the project as either ‘art’, ‘invention’ or even as a ‘political’ statement. Rather, the intention was always to leave enough room for each individual who encountered the project to multiply their ambitions and aspirations through it. Nomadic Kitchen was thus to become a stage and a facilitator for subjects to perform their futures, both individually and collectively. It was not a fixed or final spatial or social form but rather a ‘kitchen’ in the process of becoming, just as those who encounter and inhabit it are themselves constantly ‘becoming’ something new. All this expenditure and investment generates surplus expenditure of value and exchange. What remains challenging is determining the value of that exchange in terms of art practice both within and outside arts’ institutional frame and political space. Implicit in generating value regarding the art enterprise is the role of the audience and authorship in its production. Standing in Vila Nova, on the roof terrace of Nomadic Kitchen with a 360° view of the surrounding urban environment, I wondered what modalities of perception and systems of knowledge one might use to grasp this as an artwork. How does this locate a practice in how artists operate

Figure 9.3a, b

Nomadic Kitchen front and rear view, Vila Nova, Brazil

Photo: Mick O’Kelly, 2006.

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and encounter the city? There are no recognisable markers, no mechanisms of distribution, or official designations that this is an artwork. Nomadic Kitchen is situated in an informal settlement on the periphery of São Paulo with no audience, only participants, collaborators, inhabitants and users. Art knowledge is not found in the normal architecture of an archive, to be learned and appropriated towards a particular end game. Art know-how is produced through urban actions, it is a form of practice that induces emergent situations and in a sense, art tactics of improvisation reveal themselves through the provocation of aesthetic, cultural, and political circumstances and modes of ordering. The aggregation and dimensions of Nomadic Kitchen will always be in negotiation, will continually change shape. It is a project in expansion and always looking out, always-becoming kitchen. References de Certeau, M. (1988), The Practice of Everyday Life (Los Angeles: California Press Berkley). Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987), A Thousand Plateaus Trans. Massumi, B. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1986), Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature Trans. Polan, D. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1983), Anti-Oedipus Capitalism and Schizophrenia Trans. Hurley, R., Seem, M. and Lane, H.R. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Deutsche, R. (1996), Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). Fisher, J. (2002), ‘Towards a metaphysics of shit’, in Enwezor, O. (ed.), Documenta11_Platform 5: Exhibition Catalogue (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Publishers), 66. Guattari, F. (2008), The Three Ecologies Trans. Genosko, G. (London: Continuum). Hardt, M. and Negri, A. (2000), Empire (Cambridge, Harvard University Press). Iveson, K. (2007), Publics and the City (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell). Kelly, S. (2005), ‘Transversal and the invisible’, Republicart available at: http:// republicart.net/disc/mundial/kelly01_en.htm. Laclau, E. (1996), Emancipation(s) (London: Verso). Levi-Strauss, C. (1966), The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). McFarlane, C. (2012), ‘Rethinking informality: politics, crisis and the city’, Planning Theory & Practice 13(1), 89–108. McFarlane, C., Desai, R. and Graham, S. (2014), ‘Informal urban sanitation: everyday life, comparison and poverty’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104(5), 989–1011. Rancière, J. (2004), The Politics of Aesthetics. Trans Rockhill, G. (London: Continuum).

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Roy, A. (2011), ‘Slumdog cities: rethinking subaltern urbanism’, International Journal of Urban Regional Research 35(2), 223–38. Sarai Reader 05. (2005), Bare Acts (Delhi: Centre for the Study of Developing Societies). Simone, AM. (2006), ‘Pirate towns: reworking social and symbolic infrastructures in Johannesburg and Douala’, Urban Studies 43(2), 357–370. Tonkiss, F. (2013), ‘Austerity urbanism and the makeshift city’, City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action 17(3), 312–324. Willats, S. (1978), Vertical Living (Skeffington Court, Hayes, West London), available at: http://stephenwillats.com/work/vertical-living/. Žižek, S. (2009), The Parallax View (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

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Chapter 10

Working Across Class Difference in Popular Assemblies in Buenos Aires Mónica Farías

Introduction Geographers have been interested in studying the effects of encounters with difference and processes of class border-crossing for a long time. For instance, as economic restructuring transformed women’s position in the labour market, Marxist-feminist geographers explored the home as a site of increasing contact between the middle and working classes (McDowell 2006; Pratt 1998). As increasing numbers of middle class women left the house to work in professional or managerial jobs, working class women stepped into their homes to look after the children, raising questions about the effects of these interactions (McDowell 2008; Pratt 1998). At the same time, middle class women working in unskilled jobs and therefore moving across different class locations throughout the day, raised the question of whether coming into contact with other experiences and needs might lead to more progressive politics among middle class women (Pratt and Hanson 1994). As shown in the introduction to this volume, the revival of interest in ‘contact theory’ (Allport 1954) over the last few years has driven a prolific scholarship concerned with encountering difference in a variety of urban spaces and under very different circumstances. Briefly put, this scholarship is concerned with asking whether the coming together of people from different cultural, ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds in specific sites can reduce prejudice and social conflict and enhance the chances for inter-group understanding (Amin 2002; Valentine 2008). Some scholars have paid closer attention to the structures of power within which contact happens, and have pointed to how they condition and shape the type of encounter that takes place, limiting or enhancing its potential to disrupt and challenge negative stereotypes (Andersson, Sadgrove and Valentine 2012; Lawson and Elwood 2014; Leitner 2012). Awareness of this has signalled the limits and risks of micromanaged encounters designed to reduce conflict within specific communities. This is in part because even when ‘meaningful contact’ (Valentine 2008) happens between individuals, it does not necessarily mean that more positive attitudes towards a wider social group or identity will necessarily follow (Matejskova and Leitner 2011; Valentine 2008).

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In this chapter, I expand the analysis of the negotiation of difference by paying attention to spaces that have been overlooked as loci for contact across class. It asks what kinds of relationships emerge in sites where diversity is seen as an asset and in which people voluntarily participate. What are the implications of sustained work across class in the context of an organisation meant to bridge difference? I explore these questions reflecting on experiences of encounter in Asambleas Populares (Popular Assemblies) in the city of Buenos Aires. In the following section, I provide the historical background of the emergence of the Asambleas Populares and briefly comment on the two specific sites under study. I then draw on ethnographic fieldwork to illustrate the interactions that take place in these spaces and the interpretations people give to them. I conclude with a reflection on how Asambleas Populares can contribute to research on zones of encounter and the potential they hold for the reconfiguration of class identities and the promotion of a more progressive urban politics. Asambleas populares in Buenos Aires On the night of December 19, 2001, thousands of people took to the streets of Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina in blunt defiance of President De La Rúa’s state of siege decree.1 Popular protests against the devastating effects of structural reforms on the labor market, as well as the dismantling of the welfare state, had been a constant throughout the 1990s (Auyero 2002). Scholars highlighted the novelty of these new social movements and pointed to the contrasting goals and strategies they deployed, as well as the different actors participating in relation to past protests (Dinerstein 2010; Seoane 2002). The popular uprising of December 2001 represented the peak of these protests, which condensed the struggles of the past decade in the widely repeated slogan ‘¡que se vayan todos!’ (they all must go!)2 (Dinerstein 2002). The Asambleas Populares3 emerged in that context and represented a new form of doing politics. As this chapter will argue, they provided a space for the participation and reconstitution of the political identity of the middle class (Svampa and Corral 2006). By March 2002, there were over one hundred Asambleas in Buenos Aires, mostly composed of middle class people (‘Nacieron 1 In response to the increase of social unrest around the country, on the night of December 19, the President declared the ‘Estado de Sitio’, an emergency measure that limits the exercise of certain fundamental rights. 2 ‘They all must go!’ was the motto repeated over and over again in protests. It demanded the resignation of all the politicians in the public administration as well as the members of the Supreme Court of Justice. 3 The Asambleas received different denominations according to the way their members understood its purpose. Thus, there were Asambleas ‘Barriales’ or ‘Vecinales’ (Neighborhood Assemblies) and Asambleas Populares’ (Popular Assemblies).

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272 asambleas luego de los cacerolazos’, 2002). They first met in public spaces, such as emblematic street corners or parks in the neighborhood. Later on, some moved into buildings that were either rented, borrowed or occupied. They quickly organised themselves into ‘commissions’ – employment, health, media – and engaged in a variety of neighbourhood projects. This ranged from setting up community kitchens, promoting microenterprise projects for the unemployed, carrying out vaccination campaigns for the cartoneros,4 providing support to the factories recovered by their workers, or campaigning against evictions of families in precarious housing situations. From the beginning, the Asambleas sought to reach out and build bonds with groups from the lower classes to provide them with support as well as to find new ways of organising together. The media (Calvo 2002; Vales 2002) and the protagonists of these events described them as ‘an encounter between the middle class and the poor’ (Asamblea del Cid 2002). Scholars have also commented on the novelty of these encounters referring to this process as a sort of symbolic border crossing (Grimson 2008). That is, the presence of cartoneros, who make their living through picking waste, in traditionally middle class neighbourhoods, had the effect of reducing middle class anxieties and fears about the ‘poor other’. Some even articulated caring actions towards them, such as separating the garbage from the recyclable material or providing them with a place to sleep and food. These cross-class encounters have also been partially explained as the result of a blurring and erosion of symbolic and physical borders between classes (Adamovsky 2010). Shortly after their birth, however, most of the Asambleas disintegrated or shifted their purpose. By 2005, only a handful of them were still working in the city. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to assess the reasons for the general demise of the Asambleas’ movement or to speculate about the trajectories followed by their members.5 Instead, I want to focus on two of the Asambleas Populares that have remained active since their emergence in 2001 in order to explore their rich experience of working across class difference. In relation to where the encounter across class difference happens, most scholars have looked at public or quasi-public spaces (Brown 2012; Laurier and Philo 2006; Leitner 2012), including micro public spaces (Askins and Pain 2011; Hemming 2011; Lawson and Elwood 2014). The Asambleas under study in this chapter emerged from encounters in public space and their interactions have remained public even though they abandoned the streets long ago and now function

4 Cartoneros are unemployed people who make a living by selling cardboard and other recyclable material that they find in the garbage. They became very visible in the city of Buenos Aires in 2001 and 2002. 5 In relation to the end of the Asambleas’ movement see (Pousadela 2011; Rossi 2005; Svampa and Pandolfi 2004). The impact of the participation in Asambleas reflected on the paths taken by former members is something that I am only beginning to explore.

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in their own buildings.6 Their doors stay open to everyone who wants to collaborate and be a part of the movement. The dynamics of these ‘public communal’ spaces (Fernández 2006) are partly shaped and conditioned by a sometimes ambiguous relation with the state at its different levels. They are autonomous organisations and often take a critical stand towards the state, but in some situations they also depend on the state for resources or services. The literature on ‘encounters’ has paid attention to both casual and brief exchanges (Laurier and Philo 2006; Wilson 2011) along with more sustained encounters (Andersson, Sadgrove and Valentine 2012; Andersson 2011). In the latter case, encounters happen in places where people regularly go to carry out an activity, and therefore, contact happens repeatedly over a longer period of time thereby lasting longer than fleeting encounters in public space. Examples of such places might include campuses, schools, community centers or faith communities. As such, Asambleas Populares constitute a particularly interesting case not only because they engage in long-term encounters with difference but also because difference itself is welcomed. Every person who joins an Asamblea does so voluntarily. And, as my research suggests, almost everyone who does so is motivated by concerns for social justice and with the intention of working across difference. In this regard, they also diverge greatly from integration projects that are engineered to foster meaningful encounters in multicultural contexts (Askins and Pain 2011; Matejskova and Leitner 2011), or from long-term encounters in households mediated by established hierarchies of power (Schuermans 2013). It is necessary to keep this observation in mind in order to understand the nature of the different practices deployed in the two cases under study, as well as the kinds of relationships taking place within them. I chose to focus my research on the Asamblea de Flores and the Asamblea de Plaza Dorrego-San Telmo because they have remained autonomous, horizontal spaces7 since their creation and because of the visibility of their work in their respective neighbourhoods. The Asamblea de Flores is located in a traditionally middle class neighbourhood. It started its meetings in a park but by the end of 2002 it had already occupied an abandoned four-story health clinic along with its contiguous house – all part of the same property. At first, the intention was to put the clinic back to work with the help of the National Movement of Recovered Enterprises8, so as to provide health care for the workers of the recovered factories. This project – described by one member of the Asamblea as ‘monumental’ – was eventually abandoned and the clinic was instead transformed into single-room 6 In both cases they function in a physical space whose legal situation has been more or less regularised. 7 ‘Horizontality’ refers to a form of decision-making and a way of functioning that rejects hierarchies. 8 The MNER (for its initials in Spanish) emerged in 2002 with the purpose of uniting all the recovered enterprises (which includes factories as well as other businesses) and providing them with institutional representation as well as support and advice.

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apartments for people in precarious housing situations. Eventually, a housing cooperative was also created. With the help of donations from shopkeepers in the neighbourhood, the Asamblea was, for a time, able to run a soup kitchen from the house. These days, the soup kitchen is run with a budget provided by the city’s government and mostly focuses on the provision of food for the people living in the former clinic. The Asamblea also carries out a number of other initiatives like a Bachillerato Popular (Popular High School) that people affectionately call Bachi, a gender group, and diverse cultural activities like Bolivian dancing and self-taught acrobatics. Typical attendance at a plenary meeting – which happens once a month – ranges from between forty to sixty people while the number of people involved in the space in different degrees easily exceeds a hundred. The Asamblea de Plaza Dorrego-San Telmo is located in a working class neighborhood undergoing a process of gentrification. Like Asamblea de Flores, it also met in a park at the beginning and it did so for a couple of years until it built its current premises on a small park temporarily ceded by the city’s government. As soon as it was created, the Asamblea started running a soup kitchen in the street, which was later moved into the building. The Olla (Pot), as people call the soup kitchen, has gone through many changes in its composition and goals, but to this day, it provides lunch for over eighty homeless people every Sunday.9 In the past, the Asamblea used to run some microenterprise projects which involved making bread and clothes but none of them continue today. Also, the Asamblea hosts a Literacy, Basic Education and Work Program unit (PAEByT) dependent on the city’s government, and it opens its doors to different cultural collectives providing a space for their activities. As part of its commitment to the recuperation and preservation of collective memory, particularly in relation to the crimes committed during the last dictatorship (1976–1983), the Asamblea is involved in the Work and Consensus Committee of the former clandestine detention centre located in the neighbourhood. The monthly plenary meetings can have up to thirty people while its weekly meetings varies from ten to fifteen people. Interventions in the Olla It is 08.45 on a Sunday morning when I arrive at the Asamblea to participate in the Olla. Carlos, Verónica and Germán are already waiting in a park across the street for Leo and Carolina to open the door. While we wait, we make jokes and chat about what we did the night before. Carlos and Verónica used to live on the streets 9 Not all of the people who come to the Olla live in the streets. Some manage to rent a room in a cheap hostel where they share a bathroom and a kitchen and receive subsidies from the city’s government to this end. For the sake of simplicity I will refer to all of the people who attend the Olla as ‘homeless’ regardless of whether they live in the streets or in a hostel room.

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but both of them have managed to get a subsidy from the city’s government to move into a cheap hostel room. Germán, however, still lives on the streets. When the others arrive and we go into the Asamblea everyone knows exactly what to do. Leo fills the huge pot where the vegetables will be boiled with water. The others grab knives and cutting boards and slice potatoes, carrots, pumpkins and onions for the next hour or so. In the meantime, someone fires the mate10 and puts some music on. A bit later, someone shows up in the window of the kitchen that faces the street and asks if they can come in to help. Walter is homeless and new in the Olla. This is the first time he has helped out. At one point, the noise of so many knives chopping vegetables is such that someone comments, ‘this sounds like a metallurgical factory more than a kitchen!’ We all laugh at the idea and carry on with the work. The Asamblea of Plaza Dorrego has been running the soup kitchen for twelve years. It was first set up in the street in the summer of 2002. At that time, the compañeros of the Asamblea cooked the food in their homes and brought it to a busy street corner on the route that the cartoneros took to go back home after collecting garbage in the city’s downtown. When the Asamblea built its premises in the park, the Olla moved indoors and it has been there ever since. There are three groups that rotate to cook every Sunday, each of which is composed of three to four members of the Asamblea. They also count on the help of several men and women who initially approached the Olla for food but for whom help with food preparation has become a more or less regular activity. As the morning goes by people start queuing outside the Asamblea. Some come with their belongings in plastic bags, some come with children, some come alone. There are people of all ages. Every now and then someone sticks their head through the window and asks us to fill a plastic bottle with water. The movement inside the Asamblea is frantic. Now there are ten people working, some of whom are setting-up the table – some easels with thick planks on top surrounded by plastic chairs. There are no tablecloths nor plates, just some plastic trays and cutlery that will also serve to facilitate ‘take away’ once lunch is over. Others run back and forth between the kitchen and the pantry, clean the toilets, check that the mincemeat does not burn in the pan, set up the small pots that will transport the food to the table and make sure everything is ready. At 12.45, the doors open and nearly ninety people come in and sit around the tables, while others approach the counter of the kitchen and leave the containers in which they will take extra food once all those who are present have eaten. The Olla wasn’t always like this. Over the years, the Olla has not only accommodated the changing needs of the neighbourhood, but it has evolved as new people with new perspectives and experiences continue to join. For instance, in the past the Asamblea used to run the Olla both on Saturdays and Sundays. But the 10 Mate is a popular drink in some parts of South America. It is a type of tea made with the leaves of yerba mate and it is drunk from a gourd with a metal straw. It is usually consumed socially using the same straw and gourd for everyone.

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dynamics on both days were very different and Saturday’s Olla eventually closed, while the people who ran it left. Disagreements about the purpose and meaning of the Olla were at the centre of this fallout. Leo, a member of the Asamblea who is in his early 60s and works in a transportation cooperative explained to me: Leo: We didn’t want to provide only a plate of food. It was never, never, our goal … Sundays’ Olla anyway. It was before. Before it was about giving food and that’s it, there were no … It was a much more limited thing, more … what’s the word? … like social assistance … Mónica: What changed? How did the Asamblea change its approach to the Olla? Leo: We had to change first. Then we changed the Asamblea. We thought we had to change the political stand of the Olla, we believed that the plate of food was not enough … it was enough just to fulfill the calorie intake of part of that day, but it wasn’t enough for us. Mónica: Where does this different approach come from? Leo: It comes from discussing, discussing among ourselves. It comes from the incorporation of new compañeros to the Olla who were living in the streets.11

It is hard to reconstruct the exact process through which the Asamblea decided to change the character of the Olla. People with a long history in social work joined the Asamblea and tried to promote the Olla as a space of belonging for the people in the neighborhood living on the streets, as well as a space for finding collective solutions to individual problems. Guadalupe, a sociologist in her late 20s, makes this clear when she says, It is assuming ownership [of the problems], what I think is that whatever we cannot resolve by our own, we should figure it out collectively, I mean, if one guy cannot get food, okay, then we all have to cook, but it is not just ‘let’s cook together’, it’s ‘hey, the neighborhood also should assume responsibility for the people who live in it or in the city who do not have enough to eat! And it should contribute to it!’

Guadalupe’s comment denotes a sense of social responsibility for the existence of poverty that defies dominant approaches to poverty and calls for action. Authoritative poverty knowledge explains poverty as the result of an individual’s bad choices or lack of appropriate capabilities for engaging with markets (Lawson 11 The interviews were conducted in Spanish and all translations are mine. All the names are pseudonyms. The interviews were conducted between November, 2013 and March, 2014.

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and Middle-Class Poverty Politics Research Group 2012). ‘Assuming ownership’ instead, points to a relational understanding of poverty in which all social actors are implicated in the production and reproduction of poverty. The Olla thus becomes a ‘window to the neighbourhood’, an opportunity to come closer to people living in very marginal situations, to get to know their needs and to find collective solutions to them. Cecilia, a lawyer in her late 20s recalls the story of Verónica: She approached the Asamblea through the Olla, she started coming to lots of activities and ended up asking for help in relation to the case of her boy, who had been taken away [by the Council for the Rights of Girls, Boys and Teenagers of the city of Buenos Aires]. The relationship with the people who live in the streets then, begins in the Olla, they all come through the same door, right? And then, we manage to build a more personal relationship, more like an equal, a relationship of compañeros, it’s no longer like ‘I am the Asamblea and you are … ’ We are all part of the same thing.

Even if all the immediate material problems cannot be solved, the Olla and the Asamblea are thought to be spaces for empowerment. This is clear for Paula, a psychologist in her mid-30s, who says: The Olla does not solve the hunger problem of people who anyway have other resources to resort to […] We all know that the plate of food is an excuse, it’s like […] I believe that this way of seeing it, we all share it. What we want is a different relationship with people; to acknowledge them as subjects with rights.

But the nature of the Olla and Asamblea are more complex than this. At the same time that they ‘help’ to solve peoples’ concrete problems, like the case of Verónica, the Olla functions as a space for organising that aspires to incorporate people for whom it would be hard to have a space to belong otherwise. When that happens, when people who live on the streets become more or less regular members of the Asamblea, it is seen as a positive step for that person and also for the whole group and its dynamics. In this regard, the Olla and Asamblea represent a relational space in which material, everyday practices shape the relationships between the people who participate in it as well as the kind of subjectivities that emerge (Conradson 2003a; 2003b; Darling 2011). The relational nature of the Olla is expressed in Cecilia’s comment: The goal of the Asamblea is to transform that reality, I mean, intervene in the reality of that person who comes to eat, and that is mutual. I mean, in the sense that I intervene in a homeless person’s reality as much as he/she intervenes in mine. It blows your mind!

These ‘interventions’ in the minds of the Asamblea members’ happen through sustained interactions, particularly in the Olla every Sunday. Thus, as Leo

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commented in the earlier quote, the arrival of new compañeros who bring their own experiences, knowledges, values and expectations, transforms the space by disrupting prevalent assumptions, ways of doing and relations between the members of the Asamblea and those who come to the Olla to eat (Conradson 2003a). The example of Antonio is particularly telling. Antonio used to live on the streets and joined the Asamblea as a result of his participation in the Olla. His contribution to changing the character of the Olla is acknowledged by everyone I spoke with. Leo recalls a couple of uncomfortable moments in the Olla, including when the people who ran it decided to stop serving breakfast and only focus on lunch. Part of the reason had to do with the difficulties of keeping nearly eighty people in the Asamblea from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon without violent incidents. The other reason was the exhaustion of the compañeros who had been sustaining the Olla for years. Another incident happened during the epidemic of influenza, at which time the Olla closed its doors and only served food through the window to avoid high concentrations of people in a confined space. Antonio disagreed with both of those decisions. He believed breakfast should continue and that people must sit down at a table to eat. There were intense conversations and Antonio temporarily abandoned the Asamblea. While no one could critique the decision to close the doors of the Asamblea during a flu epidemic, what Antonio did with his insistence on keeping the Asamblea open was to point to something other than the need to eat. Serving the food through the window in plastic trays was not enough to fulfill those other needs that people bring with them when they come to the Olla. In relation to those needs, Paula said, Anyone can come to cook and feel part of us and create affective relationships, then what we try to do is to rebuild that person as a subject, not like a thing or like an object […] for other spaces they are ‘assisted’, they are ‘vagabonds’, you get it? They are only the ‘beneficiaries’ of a program. For us, they are compañeros […]. For me, it’s a health issue, in the sense of subjective recognition, working with people so they can feel subjects of rights, so they can apply for their national IDs, ok? So they can choose where to go for lunch because if someone is mistreated in one place, ‘you don’t have to go there, go somewhere else!’

The appreciation of those situations, which most likely would escape the eye of even the sharpest and most well-intended middle class activist, comes with interacting with those who are in a completely different material and affective situation. This became apparent to me in relation to the ‘Olla’s Magazine’ project proposed by César and Verónica. In a meeting where they were not present, Ana, a long-time member of the Asamblea whom they brought the proposal to, commented on the style César and Verónica wanted to give to the magazine. They were hoping to create something akin to a tourist guide for homeless people. That is, they thought to include ‘where to eat’ and ‘where to sleep’ sections, and also ‘where to go’ and ‘what to do’ segments that would provide information about free or affordable cultural activities. Ana pointed to how, with this decision, they

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reclaimed their right to leisure, to have fun and to enjoy public space: ‘Crazy, eh? Look from where they are looking at it and from where I am!’ It is hard to believe that this would come as a surprise to someone who has extended experience of doing grassroots work. However, it was only visible to Ana once César and Verónica made it explicit. Leo comments, That’s why we try to incorporate people, that’s what we’ve always wanted […] it has helped us a lot, it has opened our heads in so many things, like in how we treat, the approach we have on problems, a variety of things that had to do with their daily lives in the streets, that we want to include it on our Sundays.

Thus, incorporating people, working for and with those who live in very different material conditions but who also hold different values, knowledges and appreciations of the world enriches the discussions and adds deeper layers of complexity to the understanding of problems and actions to be taken. Writing about a drop-in center for asylum seekers in England, Darling has pointed to how it is contingent upon ‘multiple narratives, practices and notions of acceptable generosity coming into continuous contact and negotiation’ (Darling 2011, 415). This is also true for the Olla, as we saw in the case of Antonio. Differences in expectations and assumptions about the meaning and purpose of the Olla led to Antonio’s temporary abandonment of the space but at the same time it forced the activists at the Olla to reflect on his concerns. As Leo puts it, ‘that really helped us much, it opened our eyes to so many things’. Learning privilege I met Marta on a hot summer afternoon in the Asamblea de Flores. Marta is a white, middle-aged and middle class woman. She is a housewife married to an engineer and has two children. We sat on one of the patios of the building on the way to the clinic and, as we talked, people kept passing by and greeting Marta. We also got interrupted several times by kids living in the clinic who were playing on the adjacent patio. They kept coming to get some of the snacks that Marta had brought to our meeting. Marta is a teacher in the Bachillerato Popular, but she first approached it as a student. She had not graduated from high school. Even though she tried to do it as an adult, she never seemed to find a place where she could fit-in. As a result, she chose to join the Bachillerato Popular in order to gain her high-school diploma. However, the day she went to register at the school she was uncomfortable, feeling that the place did not meet her expectations of a school environment, having been based on the occupancy of a building, It was really hard for me to understand the meaning of this place […] My father was a bank clerk and my mother a teacher […] so it was really hard for me to

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understand the idea of ‘occupying’ this space, and I asked to myself ‘what am I doing between occupiers?’

‘Occupying’ a house or any other building has become a common practice in Buenos Aires in the last thirty years (Elías 2005) in the face of the lack of affordable houses for low income populations (Cravino et al. 2002). Overall, the middle class has reacted defensively to this phenomenon, putting in motion a rhetorical strategy that first, sees the poor as being out-of-place in ‘modern’ Buenos Aires, and later, identifies the usually dark-skinned poor as an illegal immigrant from a neighbouring country. This works to deprive the poor of their right to inhabit urban space (Guano 2004), and in part explains Marta’s initial discomfort at encountering this space of occupation. In part, this also draws on a series of values and norms about the ‘self-made middle class’ that are ingrained in Argentinian society. Marta comments that she was initially skeptical of the occupied space of the Asamblea because, … from where I am in terms of the life I have, [poverty] it’s not visible! […] it is not visible because of this position that ‘I work my ass off to have a roof over my head, a house, so others should do the same! No social security, no nothing!’ You see? There is no such a thing as a right [to a house]. You make your own rights!

As with all the Bachilleratos Populares, the school in the Asamblea works on the premise that we all have knowledges related to our own experiences and positionalities that are valid and that sharing them with others enriches the collective. This does not mean that there is no structure but rather, as Camila, a teacher in her mid-twenties puts it; Beyond the contents that we consider the students should know, we pay attention to how relationships are established here, to make sure the students know they are not only students because we are all equal in this place. And that they can change the way they see themselves and relate to the rest, that they understand their voices occupy a space here.

Unlike ‘formal’ high schools, it only takes three years to get the degree and the curriculum is very flexible. Most of the time, teachers and students establish the content of the courses together, while class attendance is not supervised and there are no sanctions for not doing homework or for misconduct. As such, the Bachilleratos Populares attract a diverse population of adults who could not finish their studies due to work, and also young people who did not fit within the rigid structure of regular educational institutions. Therefore, there is an important diversity in terms of age and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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The fact that the Asamblea functions in an occupied space and operates through horizontal networks also shapes the dynamics of the Bachillerato.12 For instance, Marta recalled one class in which they had an intense conversation about the occupation, which found her on the side of the legal owners of the property. However, after the discussion, in which there were confrontational opinions, she reflected on the importance of having been able to see, ‘the two trays of the justice scale […] and realizing that both sides were right, but the struggle of this people, the people living in the clinic was much more valid, the owners had bankrupted the clinic and laid off their workers without pay!’ The act of ‘seeing’, of being able ‘to see’ something, maybe for the first time, comes up repeatedly in conversations with members of the Asambleas. They recognise it as the result of having engaged with people they would not have come into contact with if it were not for the fact that they all share the space of the Asamblea. As in the case of Marta, it is an ongoing process of negotiating the meaning of the space they inhabit along with the way they relate to each other. Learning from other’s experiences and lives prompts critical reflection about their own identities and histories (Wilson 2014), which enhances the possibility for coexistence and creates affective bonds by working alongside people whom they might not have acknowledged in the past. For instance, Sandra, a housewife in her late thirties and also a student at the Bachi, started frequenting the Asamblea because she had a friend who invited her to participate in the gender group. In a paper she had to write for class she chose to research life in juvenile detention centres, a reality that some of her peers in the Bachillerato had experienced. Regarding that experience, she commented, … maybe in a different situation, you’d look at them and think ‘I better cross the street’, you follow me? But here you learn to realize here … to realize they are children who are … totally unprotected … unprotected! And I tell you again, this place … I believe it gives them a hug […] [the Asamblea] teaches you to see beyond what you usually see … in the sense that we tend to worry about our lives, our problems, our small surrounding and … you see there are other things …

Far from being a naïve recognition of the presence and misfortune of those in poverty, these interactions enable a better understanding of vulnerable situations that might not have been so visible in the past, as in the case of Marta’s understanding of poverty. At the same time, interactions with difference also allow for the acknowledgment of people’s class privilege and pave the way for a shift in their subjectivities (Conradson 2003a; Darling 2011). Working in the Olla has proved this to Ana too,

12

Recently the Asamblea was awarded the deeds for part of the property.

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… we always tell them [the people who come to the Olla] that we have a view from a place of so much privilege … that will never be the same … we will never be, I mean, we all learn from the other, and then you decompress in the sense that … I don’t know how to put it, but it changes you a lot, a lot.

Most of the middle-class people who work in the Asambleas do it because they are already challenged and mobilised by a concern for social justice. To some extent, the structural causes of poverty and its relation to their own class privilege is something they grapple with. But even in the cases in which acknowledging privilege is coupled with a commitment to action, sustained work and engagement with people in marginal situations necessarily implies adjustments in perceptions and ideas about what needs to be done and how. For instance, Ana had a very hard time when she started working at the Olla because she could not help herself from feeling compassion and suffering for the situation and struggles of the homeless who came to the Olla, I went from that [laughs], when everything seemed the same, everything seemed the same pain, I lived everything with the same intensity, to start distinguishing: ‘ok, this problem is not the same as this one’ or … learning a lot of things … most of all to be able to transform and collaborate in this sense, in the sense of transforming things [my emphasis]. And finding the meaning of it all. Because I wasn’t even sure why I started at the Olla … and it was for that. Ultimately, what we want is to find it the way out of a reality that we don’t agree with.

In Ana’s account, what started as a desire to ‘do good’ and demonstrate a sense of responsibility toward others (Darling 2011), was gradually given a different meaning thanks to her work in the Olla. Ana’s homogenising view of the problems and misfortunes of the people who came to eat belied a will to ‘help needy others’ that might not have the resources to take care of themselves. Far from being a response to ‘dutiful citizenship’ (Cloke, Johnsen and May 2007), transforming things goes beyond fulfilling needs and ‘doing good’ in order to engage with changing the circumstances in which those needs emerged in the first place. Recognising and acting upon that reality places Ana, her compañeros of the Asamblea, and the people who attend the Olla in relation to one another as part of a web of interdependencies (Lawson 2007) and political responsibilities that binds society together (Massey 2004). Conclusion Through the two case studies, this chapter has focused on the interactions between middle class people and those in very disadvantageous situations as they work together in a shared activity – the soup kitchen in the Asamblea de Plaza DorregoSan Telmo and the education program in Asamblea de Flores. The Asambleas

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are political spaces that seek to embrace diversity and encourage work across class divides, although they are not always free from tensions. Through regular encounters over a long period of time, middle class activists and participants became more aware of their class privilege and questioned their class identities and values as a result. These stories offer a number of important insights into theories of how prejudice can be overcome (or reproduced). First, working together in a long-term shared project like the Olla enabled a gradual processes of awareness among its middle class participants (Wilson 2014). When the Olla was set up, more than ten years ago, it mostly worked to fulfil the pressing need for food in the neighbourhood. However, as time went by, the urgency of the food situation decreased and gave way to a more ‘relaxed’ environment and dynamic. This facilitated opportunities for activists to have more positive interactions with the homeless and to create a space that minimised difference (Johnsen, Cloke and May 2005). Subsequently, some of the homeless that attended the Olla in order to eat also started participating more actively in the cooking and, eventually, in the work of the Asamblea too. For Leo, this was a key factor in changing their approach to the Olla because the incorporation of new compañeros like Antonio enriched the discussions with different experiences and points of view. Matejskova and Leitner (2011) have already stressed the importance of people working together for sustained periods in order to increase empathy. I agree with their assertion and I propose that we should also be aware of the different temporalities of encounters and how they progressively intervene in ‘habitual everyday practices’ (Valentine and Sadgrove 2012). We can see this clearly through the case of Ana. Her inability to discriminate between different degrees of problems when she first arrived changed over time as she learned that not all poor people’s problems were the same. And yet, years later when César and Verónica brought to her the idea of the Olla’s magazine she was surprised at the choice of things they wanted to include. In reflecting on their desire to include leisure activities and details of public space in the magazine, Ana was able to consider how César and Verónica’s positionalities differed markedly from her own, and how those differences served to shape their expectations of the Asamblea and those they met there. Her example illustrates how awareness and change come gradually through sustained encounters, each of which seems to bring a new perception of difference. It also highlights the difficulties of ‘seeing’ and ‘learning difference’ even for people who are already committed to working on social change and breaking down stereotypes and barriers of class. The space of the Olla provides a suitable site for tracing gradual change given its repetitive nature (Wilson 2014). As such, engaging in long-term ethnographic work that tracks unfolding, multiple moments of encounter experienced by one person can contribute much to our understanding of how preconceptions and values are challenged. Secondly, much of the work on encounters has been focused on either casual, everyday encounters in urban space or on projects that are deliberately engineered

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to try and engender collaboration across social-cultural difference. I propose that rather than focusing on either one, we can try to think about how the two become intertwined through the everyday practices of the people involved. People approach the Asambleas for different reasons. Ana approached the Asamblea because she wanted to do something but was not sure what or why. Leo came with a long story of activism and made a conscious decision to join the political project of the Asamblea. But other people got involved to fulfil a more individualistic need. Marta initially wanted to get her high-school diploma but having received it, decided to stay and teach in the Bachi and Sandra was motivated as a result of her friendship with an existing participant. In this sense, Lawson and Elwood (2014) argue that the same space might enable very different kinds of encounter simultaneously. All encounters are shaped by people’s positionality in relation to their class, race and gender, to which I would also add their preconceptions about that space. I want to further this argument by proposing that we also need to pay attention to how these spaces are constantly changing. We should think about spaces of encounter themselves, including the Asambleas, as fluid, dynamic and open. They are continually being produced and changed by the encounters they enable and as such will continue to evolve as new moments and modes of encounter emerge. Acknowledgments The research presented in this chapter was funded by a fellowship from the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies and by the Graduate School Boeing International Fellowship. The author would also like to thank Stephen Young and Perla Zusman for their comments on earlier versions of this chapter and to the editors of this book for their insightful suggestions. References Adamovsky, E. (2010), Historia de la clase media Argentina. Apogeo y decadencia de una ilusión, 1919–2003 (Buenos Aires: Planeta). Allport, G.W. (1954), The Nature of Prejudice (Cambridge, Mass.: AddisonWesley Pub. Co). Amin, A. (2002), ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity’, Environment and Planning A 34(6), 959–980. Andersson, J., Sadgrove, J. and Valentine, G. (2012), ‘Consuming campus: geographies of encounter at a British university’, Social and Cultural Geography 13(5), 501–515. Asamblea del Cid. (2002), Piquete y Cacerola, la lucha es una sola. Buenos Aires. Askins, K. and Pain, R. (2011), ‘Contact zones: participation, materiality, and the messiness of interaction’, Environment and Planning D 29(5), 803–821.

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Auyero, J. (2002), La protesta: retratos de la beligerancia popular en la Argentina democrática (Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires). Brown, K.M. (2012), ‘Sharing public space across difference: attunement and the contested burdens of choreographing encounter’, Social and Cultural Geography 13(7), 801–820. Calvo, P. (2002), ‘La popular y la platea, todos mojados por la misma lluvia’, Clarín 20 January 2002, 13. Cloke, P., Johnsen, S. and May, J. (2007), ‘Ethical citizenship? Volunteers and the ethics of providing services for homeless people’, Geoforum 38(6), 1089–1101. Conradson, D. (2003a), ‘Spaces of care in the city: the place of a community dropin centre’, Social and Cultural Geography 4(4), 507–525. Conradson, D. (2003b), ‘Doing organisational space: practices of voluntary welfare in the city’, Environment and Planning A 35(11), 1975–1992. Cravino, M.C., Fernández Wagner, R. and Varela, O. (2002), ‘Notas sobre la política habitacional en el Área Metropolitana de Buenos Aires en los años 90’, in Andrenacci, L. (ed.), Cuestión Social y Política Social en el Gran Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Al Margen), 107–124. Darling, J. (2011), ‘Giving space: Care, generosity and belonging in a UK asylum drop-in centre’, Geoforum 42(4), 408–417. Dinerstein, A.C. (2010), ‘Autonomy in Latin America: between resistance and integration. Echoes from the Piqueteros experience’, Community Development Journal 45(3), 356–366. Elías, J. (2005), ‘El proceso de las casas tomadas en la ciudad de Buenos Aires’, Arquitextos, [online] available at: http://www.vitruvius.com.br/revistas/read/ arquitextos/05.057/504>, accessed 30th March 2014. Fernández, A.M. (2006), Polı́ tica y subjetividad: asambleas barriales y fábricas recuperadas (Buenos Aires: Tinta Limón Ediciones). Grimson, A. (2008), ‘The making of new urban borders: neoliberalism and protest in Buenos Aires’, Antipode 40(4), 504–512. Guano, E. (2004), ‘The denial of citizenship: “barbaric” Buenos Aires and the middle-class imaginary’, City and Society 16(1), 69–97. Hemming, P.J. (2011), ‘Meaningful encounters? Religion and social cohesion in the English primary school’, Social and Cultural Geography 12(1), 63–81. Johnsen, S., Cloke, P. and May, J. (2005), ‘Day centres for homeless people: spaces of care or fear?’, Social and Cultural Geography 6(6), 787–811. Laurier, E. and Philo, C. (2006), ‘Cold shoulders and napkins handed: gestures of responsibility’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 31(2), 193–207. Lawson, V. (2007), ‘Geographies of care and responsibility’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97(1), 1–11. Lawson, V. and Elwood, S. (2014), ‘Encountering poverty: space, class, and poverty politics’, Antipode 46(1), 209–228.

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Lawson, V. and The Middle Class Poverty Politics Research Group. (2012), ‘Decentering poverty studies: middle class alliances and the social construction of poverty’, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33, 1–19. Leitner, H. (2012), ‘Spaces of encounters: immigration, race, class, and the politics of belonging in small-town America’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(4), 828–846. Massey, D. (2004), ‘Geographies of responsibility’, Geografiska Annaler Series B 86(1), 5–18. Matejskova, T. and Leitner, H. (2011), ‘Urban encounters with difference: the contact hypothesis and immigrant integration projects in eastern Berlin’, Social and Cultural Geography 12(7), 717–741. McDowell, L. (2006), ‘Reconfigurations of gender and class relations: class differences, class condescension and the changing place of class relations’, Antipode 38(4), 825–849. McDowell, L. (2008), ‘The new economy, class condescension and caring labour: changing formations of class and gender’, NORA: Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies 16(3), 150–165. La Nación. (2002), ‘Nacieron 272 asambleas luego de los cacerolazos’, La Nación [online] 25 March, available at: , accessed 11 December 2012. Pousadela, I.M. (2011), Entre la deliberación política y la terapia de grupo la experiencia de las asambleas barriales-populares en la Argentina de la crisis (Buenos Aires: CLACSO). Pratt, G. (1998), ‘Grids of difference: place and identity formation’, in Fincher, R. and Jacobs, J. (eds), Cities of Difference (Guildford: Guilford Press), 26–48. Pratt, G. and Hanson, S. (1994), ‘Geography and the construction of difference’, Gender, Place and Culture 1(1), 5–29. Rossi, F.M. (2005), ‘Aparición, auge y declinación de un movimiento social: Las asambleas vecinales y populares de Buenos Aires, 2001–2003’, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 78, 67–88. Schuermans, N. (2013), ‘Ambivalent geographies of encounter inside and around the fortified homes of middle class Whites in Cape Town’, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 28, 679–688. Seoane, J.A. (2002), ‘Argentina: la configuración de las disputas sociales ante la crisis’, Observatorio Social de América Latina (Argentina) 7, 37–43. Svampa, M. and Corral, D. (2006), ‘Political mobilization in neighborhood assemblies: the cases of Villa Crespo and Palermo’, in Epstein, E. and PionBerlin, D. (eds), Broken Promises? The Argentine Crisis and Argentine Democracy (Lanham: Lexington Books), 117–139. Svampa, M. and Pandolfi, C. (2004), ‘Las vías de la criminalización de la protesta en Argentina’, Observatorio Social de América Latina (Argentina) 14, 285–296.

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Valentine, G. (2008), ‘Living with difference: reflections on geographies of encounter’, Progress in Human Geography 32(3), 323–337. Valentine, G. and Sadgrove, J. (2012), ‘Lived difference: a narrative account of spatiotemporal processes of social differentiation’, Environment and Planning A 44(9), 2049–2063. Vales, L. (2002), ‘Piquete y cacerola, la lucha es una sola’, Página 12 [online] 29th January 2002, available at: , accessed 20 December 2012. Wilson, H.F. (2011), ‘Passing propinquities in the multicultural city: the everyday encounters of bus passengering’, Environment and Planning A 43(3), 634–649. Wilson, H.F. (2014), ‘Multicultural learning: parent encounters with difference in a Birmingham primary school’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 39(1), 102–114.

Chapter 11

Encountering Suspicion: Preemptive Security and the Urban Field of Suspects Stephanie Simon

The inspiration for this chapter came while walking in Boston, USA, when a homeland security agent and a police officer stopped me for taking photographs near a federal building. I was walking around the building because I was frustrated, as a researcher, with the perpetual lack of access to, and candour of, US security practitioners. I was rather dumbly contemplating my ‘ethnography of closed doors’ (Belcher and Martin 2013) and taking photographs when I encountered these security personnel. The men who stopped me, a Boston police officer and a man wearing a shirt with a ‘Homeland Security’ logo, asked what I was photographing and why. They asked a series of probing questions to my responses while the man in the Homeland Security shirt took my camera and looked through the images. They eventually allowed me to walk away with my photos intact. The encounter was a moment of crystallisation; it materialised a security relation in urban space, relations that are often buried in secrecy and unaccountability. Encounters materialise that which often remains obscured; in this case, the points of production of preemptive security in urban space. They reveal the degree to which urban socio-spatial control focuses on in situ and momentary negotiations, often outside of established legal and institutional checks on the ‘reasonableness’ of police and security agents’ judgements and behaviour. Thus, urban encounters with suspicion are a crucial way in which control is pliably integrated into the very circulations of the city and, as this chapter will argue, play a contradictory and important role in foreclosing and maintaining some circulations of urban life. My own encounter is just one example of the remarkably frequent phenomenon of security personnel stopping, questioning, detaining and arresting photographers in urban public space in the US and UK, largely without legal justification. The practice has been dubbed the ‘war on photography’ and has become so widespread that one can find scores of examples documented in the media, on online forums, on websites such as ‘Photography is Not a Crime’ and amongst groups like ‘I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist’ (see Manning 2010; Simon 2012). Many of these encounters have much more troubling endings than my own. Photographers frequently cite experiences of arrest or detainment. For example, Duane Kerzic was arrested in 2008 by Amtrak police in New York’s Penn Station for taking photographs of a train for an Amtrak sponsored photography contest. After demanding he delete his photos and using police dogs to sniff his camera bag,

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the police left him handcuffed to a wall in a locked holding cell and subsequently cited him for criminal trespass (Dwyer 2010). Focusing on photographer-security encounters in the US where there are very few instances in which photography is legally restricted, this chapter analyses the ‘war on photography’ as a case that illuminates the productivity of suspicious urban encounters. Using online forum and news media descriptions of security-photographer encounters from 2004 to 2013 and interviews conducted with professional photographers found in these forums, this chapter analyses how urban relations of suspicion, control, and futurity are negotiated in encounters with police and security. These encounters are taking place in a climate of preemptive security where imaginations about possible future threats are brought into the present through security actions. In these moments of encounter, the uncertainties and indeterminacies of urban life are rendered suspicious and acted upon by security personnel. This chapter focuses on how the elastic nature of suspicion materialises in security encounters and how this elasticity forms around particular threat imaginations and suspect communities. During photographer-security encounters, security personnel often make vague appeals to counter-terrorism, sometimes even citing non-existent ‘post 9/11 laws’ prohibiting photography. In these moments, the encounters enact speculative futures and demonstrate how preemptive performativity intensifies and generalises fields of suspicion, enabling countless encounters with ‘security’ in everyday spaces (Amoore and de Goede 2008; de Goede and Simon 2013). In effect, photographers have become widely regarded as a ‘suspect community’. One of the more revealing aspects in this regard is the degree to which these encounters are dispersed, taking place in disparate locations and with disparate authorities – transport workers, fare collectors, police, homeland security personnel – that all cite similar non-existent laws evoking terrorism (Simon 2012). While the discretionary powers and ‘situational exigencies’ of street-level policing (Mastrofski, 2004, 102) have been extensively reported in criminology literature, this paper is concerned with the co-mingling of security logics and urban space, which bring the photographer on the street into a relationship with broadly conceived ideas about international terrorism and security. Street level policing and transnational security ambitions are not often connected within urban geography, criminology and security literatures. This has, at times, led to a partitioning of ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 9/11 security practices or the separation of foreign relations and domestic enforcement – practices that are often intertwined in city spaces (Coleman 2009; Herbert 2009). This chapter sits at the intersection of urban and political geography literatures in order to highlight the role of space as a security actor and the seepage of transnational, speculative security logics into everyday urban environments. The security encounter is one moment in which security takes place in the city. Just as urban policing encounters render relations of racial, national, religious, economic, and social difference visible and reveal the differential policing of urban lifeworlds, the security encounter offers a window onto the imbrication of broad transnational security imaginations and relations

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present in the everyday spaces of the metropoles of the ‘war on terror’. These sorts of encounters ‘provide a critical insight into the everyday sociospatial constitution of power – not despite but because of their banality’ (Secor 2006, 42). Encountering suspicion Suspicion is an ambiguous notion that pervades encounters with police and security actors. In the US, it is at once a legal term that carries certain ‘objective’ parameters for establishing a standard of proof that suspicion is warranted, and yet at the same time, it is an inescapably subjective determination that comes to be as it is practiced and invoked in encounters. That is, suspicion is an inherently subjective, vague, ephemeral phenomenon that is also imbued with legal authority and the power of an objective gloss. Thus, moment-to-moment determinations of suspicion and affective relations of encounter have incredible scope for actively shaping how urban space is experienced and navigated (Puar 2007; Swanton 2010; Wilson 2013). A great deal of debate surrounds the determination of ‘reasonable suspicion’ in encounters with police and security agents in urban space. For example, ‘stop-and-search’ in the UK and ‘stop-and-frisk’ in New York City give police significant latitude to stop, search or frisk persons without justifying their suspicions in standard measures. Both measures of encounter have drawn significant attention and legal review, particularly in light of their overtly discriminatory practice in contemporary and historical contexts (Brown 2013; Yesufu 2013). In the US, racial profiling in traffic-stop encounters is so common that the offence of ‘Driving While Black’ has become a part of everyday parlance (Harris 1997). Similarly, recent legal measures for expanding local immigration enforcement in the US have focused attention on overt discrimination in encounters where a person’s legal status is under suspicion. Arizona’s notorious Senate Bill 1070 emboldens police to initiate interrogatory encounters in order to establish a person’s legal status based on suspicions rooted in race, colour, or national origin (Williams 2011). These examples shed light on the ways in which judgements of suspicion frame urban encounters with police and security officers and how the very idea of ‘suspicion’ and the parameters for determining what is suspicious, are actively negotiated in particular times and places. In short, they shed light on how the process of social differentiation takes place precisely through relations of encounter (Swanton 2010). Security-photography encounters reveal how ephemeral, preemptive security ambitions, which are inherently spectral and speculative, are negotiated through relations of suspicion – much more so than the letter of the law. Despite its legal gloss, there is no fundamental objectivity in judgements of ‘reasonable’ suspicion; these determinations are fundamentally contextual. This has been argued by feminist legal scholars who detail the entrenched power relations in the presumed ‘point of viewlessness’ of the law (Raigrodski 2008). In orthodox jurisprudence, ‘reasonableness’ is equated with an objective determination, and while subjectivity

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is dismissed as unreasonable, paradoxically, the ‘particular subjective viewpoints of those in power are validated by the legal system’ (ibid., 157; see also Burnett 1994; Wilson 2008). In the security-photographer encounter, reasonableness is thought to be determined by ‘those in power’ in the very moment of encounter. For example, speaking on the phenomenon of photographers being stopped without legal cause, Inspector Robert Tucker, head of the Philadelphia police department’s Domestic Preparedness Division states: Would we like them not to photograph sensitive infrastructures? I would, it would make our job a lot easier, but you know what, there’s some beautiful photographs and we understand that. But with that understanding know that if we should get a 911 call – that an officer will respond and ask reasonable questions and, you know what, if you have reasonable answers there’ll be a very positive interaction (Rose 2005, emphasis added).

This assumption of reasonableness is not born out in the many cases of preemptive security-photographer encounters. In fact, the degree of unreasonableness, the arbitrariness, and absurdity of the encounters underscores the degree to which suspicion can be crafted in idiosyncratic ways. These encounters are better characterised as more elastic than procedural. Since public photography is not currently illegal, the flexibility and ambiguity of encounters opens the possibility for intervening upon and evaluating the photographer and her future intentions without criminalising the act. Suspicion is always undergirded by subjective judgements influenced by the imagined threats of the day, whether it be black men in urban space, migrants, or the potential future terrorist. That is, ‘key suspect figures’ or ‘suspect communities’ emerge in relation to particular moments of threat construction (Burman 2010). In a contemporary context, photographers in urban space have become a suspect community. Countless encounters with police and security agents make visible current assumptions about urban threat and risk and the degree to which it is possible to intervene in everyday circulations within public space well outside the parameters of ‘reasonable’ suspicions. It should come as no surprise, then, that suspicious urban encounters often emerge in confusing, bizarre, discriminatory and exasperating ways, with little legal grounding. This is a common refrain in photographer-security encounters. Overwhelmingly, photographers report instances in which police or security agents cite non-existent laws to justify the stops. One photographer in New York writes: ‘I’ve found that most subway police officers think that photography is already illegal, and there’s no way to convince them otherwise. So I’ve taken to carrying a copy of the law with me’ (Haber 2004). The shaky ground of suspicious urban encounters are rendered even more unstable in preemptive contexts. The profusion of warrantless, extra-legal practices that characterise the ‘war on terror’ has reshaped relations pertaining to civil liberties, privacy, reasonable suspicion and legal recourse. Logics of futurity, such as preemption, frame much of this security work (Amoore and de

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Goede 2008; Anderson 2010b; Aradau and van Munster 2007; Massumi 2007). In a preemptive mode, far-off future possibilities and expansive imaginations of future threats shape security actions in the present (Salter 2008). Vague and often groundless future imaginaries become justifications for present suspicions and interventions: ‘anticipatory action’ is enabled in order to work upon these imaginations of the future (Anderson 2010a). This style of reasoning dramatically expands the spatial field of suspicion and potential security interventions as it can fold multiple futures into present spaces. In this context, a kind of permeated suspicion intensifies security work with imaginative attempts to presently address ‘what has not happened and may never happen’ (Massumi 2007). One photographer I interviewed in Boston was stopped in a metro station. When he asked why he had to stop shooting, the fare collector who stopped him said, ‘Helloooo 9/11!’ Another was told to stop photographing a train by a security guard who cited ‘a Homeland Security law’. Photographer Michelle was similarly detained by Washington DC police officers and told that ‘in times like these’ they are worried about people taking photographs. She reported that, ‘the word ‘terrorism’ came up more than a few times’.1 These casual invocations of exceptional times in reference to such banal activities evidence the degree to which the vigilant cultural politics of the ‘war on terror’ have seeped into everyday, mundane acts and spaces (Amoore 2007; Amoore and de Goede 2008). In a preemptive security context, Jef Huysmans emphasizes the importance of ‘little security nothings’, or mundane micro-practices of security, which so often ‘do the immense work of making and circulating insecurities’ (2011, 380). As such, it is clear that the performativity of mundane security encounters are significant in a preemptive context where extremely speculative threats are only brought into being through dispersed and pervasive practices. While there are significant ways in which temporal and spatial fields of suspicion have been refashioned in a post-9/11 context, elements of futurity have long been implicated in suspicious urban encounters. Even though the US legal framework for interventions is supposed to be rooted in ‘historical facts’, or the events leading up to a stop, there is no shortage of evidence that pre 9/11 efforts such as ‘proactive policing’ and ‘broken window’ logics significantly expanded the degree to which punitive interventions are enabled in the name of future possibilities (Gibson 2003; Herbert and Brown 2006; Guthrie Ferguson 2012). Across different historical contexts, suspicion is speculative because it is rooted in hunches, beliefs, and guesswork, about the past and the future. What has changed is the degree to which speculative futures enable and permeate suspicious encounters. In the photographer stops, it is not that criminal activity has already occurred or might be underway, but that it might materialise at some point in the future. Thus in a context in which all are asked to ‘watch out’ for and report suspicious activity in everyday spaces like airports, city streets, and metros, where we might ‘see something and say something’, speculative, terrifying futures 1 See http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5210466036/in/pool-dcphotorights.

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are brought into the current moment (Anderson 2010a). Here, the encounter is a moment where security actors attempt to render imagined, catastrophic futures actionable in the present. Steeped as they are in doubt and intuition, suspicions are always relations defined by uncertainty. The extremely speculative mode of a preemptive climate exposes the degree to which uncertain grounds for suspicion can be stretched to embolden security encounters in everyday life. Maurice Blanchot writes: Every individual carries in himself a set of reflections, of intentions, that is to say reticences, that commit him to an oblique existence … The suspect is that fleeting presence that does not allow recognition, and, through the part always held back that he figures forth, tends not only to interfere with, but to bring into accusation, the workings of the State … Hence the everyday must be thought as the suspect (and the oblique) that always escapes the clear decision of the law, even when the law seeks, by suspicion, to track down every indeterminate manner of being (1987, 12–3, emphasis added).

The suspect is that which escapes recognition, the fleeting, unclear, and indeterminate, which, in fact, characterises every individual and the ‘everyday’ itself. Blanchot argues that this ordinary ambiguity, this ‘part always held back’, is accusatory to the ‘workings of the State’ and that suspicion is the very means for rooting it out. Photographer-security encounters pop up, dispersed and disjointed, from those who look through suspicious lenses at the uncertainties of everyday urban life. The task of regulating contingency, and the infinite combinations of persons and situations that could appear before the street-level security practitioner, ensure that suspicion is never a stable practice but a relation made over and again in countless encounters. Yet suspicious encounters are not truly original as they draw upon preexisting dispositions, nor are they truly isolated because they embolden the feedback between threat perceptions and security actions and create ‘suspect communities’ in the city. Now, I turn to the particular, everyday field of uncertainty, where these encounters take form and take place. The city suspicious: circulation and uncertainty Professional photographer Camilo José Vergara, who published a photography book on the New York subway, described an encounter that he had with police after photographing pigeons flying through a subway station in Brooklyn. Two police officers questioned Vergera about what he was doing after supposedly receiving a report of suspicious activity. He said, ‘Well, taking pictures of pigeons here’ (Chan 2005). Apparently, ‘That didn’t sound very believable’. Another person waiting for a train began taking photographs of the encounter between Vergara and the police. In Vergara’s retelling, this ‘annoyed’ the officers, ‘Right after they were done with me, they told me, “We’re going after him”’ (ibid.). Beyond the absurdity

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of taking photographs of pigeons as grounds for suspicion, the encounter gives a sense of the endless, incessant field of suspicions that can emerge from urban space – from one mobile suspect figure to the next and the next. Here, the ‘vigilant visualities’ of the ‘war on terror’ (Amoore 2007) become a part of the everyday experience and circulations of urban space. The emergent, circulatory space of the city is not simply the location of the encounter, the circulatory city is itself a suspect figure and plays a key contextual role in how suspicions come to be determined. This is what Foucault refers to as ‘the specific space of security’ (2007, 20). Apparatuses of security mark a certain spatiality of power. While the spatiality of discipline could be roughly ascribed to the institution and sovereignty to territory, Foucault writes that apparatuses of security, while not replacing either of the former, are focused on: ‘allowing circulations to take place … in such a way that the inherent dangers of this circulation are cancelled out’ (2007, 65). Tracing the idea of the town in early industrial France, Foucault details the ways in which circulations form the material givens of urban life. Through a security lens, urban space is seen as a series of uncertain, unfolding circulations that cannot be ultimately known or restricted – in Blanchot’s terms, it is suspect to the State; in Foucault’s terms, it is both suspect and essentially what is to be maintained. In this sense, apparatuses of security, which, again, do not exclude sovereign or disciplinary moments, focus upon the realities of the city, on its emergent relations and happenings, in ways that might encourage what are seen as desirable flows and hindering those deemed undesirable. Countless moments of decision upon the undesirable engender suspicious encounters and feed back into determinations of the suspicious itself. The US Supreme Court has judged that reasonable suspicion and probable cause are ‘fluid concepts’ that, ‘take their substantive content from the particular contexts in which the standards are being assessed’ (Supreme Court Debates 2006, 195, emphasis added). Suspicions, even those held to certain standards of proof in the law, are always rooted in contextual, place-based judgments about what is ‘in place and out of place’ (Cresswell 1996; cf. Newsome 2003). Context makes suspicions what they are, they give suspicions their ‘substantive content’. If suspicion takes shape in and through understandings of place, it is worth asking – what are the ‘particular contexts’ that give rise to the preemptive photographer-security encounter? What spatiality of suspicion gives rise to this phenomenon? Photographer-security encounters occur in a variety of places, but they are predominantly urban, often occurring around transport spaces, sites of infrastructure, government buildings, stadiums, city streets, law enforcement offices, and even popular tourist areas. In short, these encounters take place in everyday spaces of urban public life. While security is certainly not only an urban phenomenon, there is something in particular about the unknowability of the everyday life of cities that animates threat imaginations. Drawing on Blanchot’s notion of the uncertainty of the everyday, Jenny Burman writes, ‘The fearsome invisibility, passability, fraudulence or general untrustworthiness of suspects

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multiply in big cities, where suspects melt into the chaotic streets’ (2010, 207). The act of taking a photo – something that has been tenuously and anecdotally linked to terrorist plotting – becomes a moment from which security actors are emboldened to intervene on everyday urban circulations and materialize the latent suspicions of the city’s boundless uncertainties. The ‘particular context’ of the photographer-security encounter, then, is the ‘space in which a series of uncertain elements unfold’ (Foucault 2007, 20). Security is directed at constantly moving targets. The process of urban sociospatial control, thus, is defined by indefiniteness, where movements on city streets are subject to infinite potential for arrest but also an unrelenting capacity to keep moving. The vagueness of the encounter disrupts circulations with subjective suspect judgements encoded in the law, even as they can reside outside of it. It is no aberration, then, that suspicious encounters can often take place outside the letter of the law (‘Helloooo 9/11’) and that the subjective nature of suspicion results in overwhelming numbers of stops rooted in discriminatory imaginations of suspect communities. Parallels can be drawn to street-level police work, where one can never assume a one-to-one mapping between official procedures and the actual conduct of police work (Herbert 1997). It is not simply the case, then, that all of urban space is blanketed in rigid controls and restrictions inevitably encountered at every turn. The ‘State’ does not actually ‘track down every indeterminate manner of being’ (Blanchot 1987, 13). It is the momentary nature of suspicious encounters, perhaps even over and above their legal contours, that perform security functions; security functions that have as their goal to maintain the circulations of urban life but in a way that encourages the ‘good’ and discourages the ‘bad’. In this way, suspicious encounters have both momentary and prolonged effects on suspect communities’ use of and access to public space. They materialize suspicious relations while still remaining flexible and potential. This outlines an expansive spatial and temporal field of suspicion, which involves the continual work of potentially intervening upon the uncertain becoming of urban space. The uncertain circulation of the city is doubled in the circulatory nature of suspicion, which does not reside in particular bodies or predetermined judgments, rather it circulates between bodies and materialises in moments of encounter when suspicious judgments ‘stick’. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s arguments that ‘emotions move between bodies’ rather than residing in fixed forms (2004, 117), several authors have developed this idea of affective circulation in reference to racialised moments of encounter and judgment in the ‘war on terror’. For example, Dan Swanton (2010) writes about how racially charged judgments of ‘becoming terrorists’ take place in moments of encounter: loose racial summaries distributed across bodies, things, and spaces became the basis for perception, judgment, and action. Suicide bombing, Islamism, state of emergency, cultural difference, al Qaeda, segregation, and the `war on terror’, stick promiscuously to elements that included … drawn curtains, rucksacks,

Encountering Suspicion: Preemptive Security and the Urban Field of Suspects 195 designer stubble, accent, brown skin, cobbled streets, a hire car, the Qur’an, etc. in processes of differentiation (2335).

In the security-photographer encounter, ‘summaries’ of elements like ‘war on terror’, exceptional times, attack planning, and vulnerable cities can stick to elements of photographers’ appearances and circumstances. Jasbir Puar similarly uses this language of circulating judgments that can ‘‘stick’ to bodies that ‘could be’ terrorists’ (2007, 186) and connects it to the temporality of a preemptive stance. She writes: ‘the real danger is not that he will attack, but that he will pass by, the imminent attack unknown in terms of when, where, how, or if’ and as such the security stance of ‘preempting altogether the conditions of possibility for your attack, much less the attack’ (ibid., 184–5). Thus, preemptive suspicion is circulatory in both a spatial and temporal sense: in the ‘passing by’ of unknowns in urban space and in the anticipatory stance that projects forward into the future and engenders action in the present. The moment-to-moment enactment of suspicious encounters, their slippage between bodies, things and spaces, is actually a part of what makes them productive mechanisms of control. They might be isolated to particular moments, as when photographers are questioned and allowed to move on. Or they might spill out into arrests, detainments, and legal battles. Traditionally, it is thought that the parameters of suspicion are negotiated in lawsuits challenging the ‘reasonableness’ of particular stops based on their context, thus establishing legal boundaries and precedents that frame future encounters and legal proceedings. However, security-photographer encounters reveal the absolutely fundamental ofthe-moment import of the encounter. When legal challenges have been brought to the stops and arrests of photographers, the cases are almost always thrown out or settled early precisely because there is no legal basis for the stops. This means that challenging the practice on a broader level has thus far proven difficult because, if there are no prosecutions, no legal precedent can be challenged in the courts. Further, even when institutions like metro authorities and the Department of Homeland Security2 have issued memoranda to their workers clarifying that photography is not prohibited in the spaces where they work, the stops continue in violation of these guidelines. Effectively, the practice continues on, largely unimpeded in moments of encounter. What this means is that the encounter is the primary site in which suspicion is negotiated on a moment-to-moment basis. In either case, if the stops are isolated to the moment or are prolonged in legal battle, there are multiple potential effects of encountering suspicion at their points of production – sending messages about belonging and exclusion, policing who is in place and out of place, producing furtive subjects, filtering urban circulations, and pushing a vision of the present that is haunted by future catastrophe. These effects are propagated precisely through 2 See http://www.photoattorney.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Photographing-theExterior-of-Federal-Buildings.pdf

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the temporary, ad hoc, unaccountable moments of intervention. This means that fleeting events of suspicious encounter play a significant role in the way people are constrained or emboldened to move through and occupy urban space. Framed in terms of suspicions rooted in the past, present and future, the encounter is often the event where these negotiations over access to public space take place. And it is precisely their fleeting and multiplying nature that makes them so difficult to grasp and contest. Again, the preemptive moment demonstrates an intensification rather than a rewriting of this power relation. In an expansive preemptive mode, in which extremely speculative future potentialities enable interventions in the present, the ‘space in which a series of uncertain elements unfold’ is intensified (Foucault 2007, 20). Official discourses would have us believe that the indeterminate is now even more so, and that an expanded field of suspicion is reasonable and necessary. Scandals over preemptive programs, such as the most recent NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance revelations, have illuminated the ways in which these practices test the legal boundaries of reasonable suspicion. One legal scholar, Fabio Arcila, even issued a ‘call to arms’ for reconsidering the role of suspicion in US law due to, amongst other reasons, the ‘reality of modern urban life … and security concerns in the post-9/11 world’ (2010, 1279). Arcila argues that the world has become increasingly more complex precisely because of urbanisation, technological advances, and ‘post 9/11 security concerns’ and, essentially, that life is more suspicious now; that ‘in this new world’ reasonableness can exist even ‘in the absence of suspicion’ (ibid., 1327). He acknowledges that traditional boundaries of suspicion are often disregarded in a preventative, post 9/11 context. His suggestion is that the law should change to meet this expanded field of suspicion and, often, warrantless intervention. This argument demonstrates the ways in which suspicion as a relation of control gets remade in particular contexts – in this case, the post 9/11, urban realm is contrasted with the ‘simpler world’ in which the US Constitution was drafted. In response, I would argue that there was no moment in which suspicious interventions were more clear or more certain. Rather, what changes across time is the degree to which flexible suspicions are allowed to frame interventions and on what suspect frames are emboldened and enabled in particular times and spaces. Arguments such as Arcila’s demonstrate the disturbing degree to which preemptive logics enable extremely speculative and future-oriented suspicions to form the basis for intervening in present circumstances; arguments that are rooted in the supposed uncertainties of urban life and embolden unchecked powers to assess and define suspicion in the name of imagined futures. Materialising preemptive suspicion This chapter has argued that the photographer-security encounter is one moment in which the elastic suspicions of preemptive security are negotiated in urban space, which is regarded to be a field of uncertain circulations that are both

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suspicious and desirable. Thus, the urban security encounter works precisely through its momentary and flexible appearances. Their fleeting nature both halts circulations and allows things to keep moving and enables the future-oriented threat imaginations and suspicions of preemption to be endured, without having them seriously scrutinised in legal procedure. On the one hand, this suggests that these encounters are unaccountable moments that escape contestation and further engrain security logics in the spaces of everyday life. On the other hand, these encounters are moments that render contemporary security relations visible; logics and practices that are often elusive and secretive. It is through these flexible and contradictory strategies that ‘nominally liberal democracies’ such as the US actually practice security: ‘it is those impromptu and provisional practices that afford the state its effectiveness and that demand methodical attention to the selective openings and closures of nominally liberal states’ (Belcher and Martin 2013, 409; see also Bigo and Tsoukala 2008). Attention to these moments allows access to the ‘peopled’ and ‘prosaic’ security state rather than a reified state of evenly distributed sovereignty. Attention to the ‘heterogeneous, constructed, porous, uneven, processual and relational character’ of states, ‘reveals its geographical unevenness’ (Painter 2006, 754; see also Power and Campbell 2010). Thus, the urban security encounter is one moment where we can interrogate the ‘domestic geopolitics’ that Mat Coleman calls for, where we might locate security in its ‘increasingly indistinct practices and spaces’ (2009, 907). These ‘increasingly indistinct practices and spaces’, where everyday life and transnational security agendas bleed into one another, are the spatio-temporal field of preemptive security practice. Because preemptive security acts are orientated toward vague, speculative futures, they are often difficult to pin down and locate within institutional sites or traditional moments of accountability (de Goede and Simon 2013). One thing that the photographer-security encounter does is materialise and render preemptive security ambitions visible. They are events of relation in which the boundaries of suspicion are revealed and negotiated in the spaces of everyday life. What these negotiations reveal is that there is not a fully sutured and pre-formed security state, but ambiguous, tense, and incomplete preemptive atmospheres and ambitions. While this suggests a potentially transformative moment in which urban security encounters could emerge differently, they also point to the more discouraging sense that the suspicious encounter is powerful precisely because of its momentary, flexible nature. In many cases these photography encounters are at once absurd yet serious as they reveal the pliable and often unaccountable practices that impact the way urban circulations take shape and make moment-to-moment decisions about access to public space. Thus, this chapter has sought to show how suspicious encounters serve as points of materialisation and visibility where power relationships are negotiated in the everyday circulation of urban spaces. While urban encounters with difference might enable moments of openness, it is also the case that urban encounters foreclose access, behaviors, and possibilities. They punctuate and

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intervene upon everyday paths and, in effect, change the ways in which urban circulation takes shape. In this sense we can draw connections between the photographer-security encounter and suspicious urban encounters more generally, which shows definitive points of continuity between the politics of ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 9/11 urban space. This generative relation is echoed in other kinds of policing encounters, such as those managing the tensions between private controls in public space. I find instructive the experience of the urban theorist Marshal Berman who had his own security encounter while standing on a sidewalk in New York’s Times Square. He writes: I was standing and doing something I’ve done often through the past couple of years: sketching and taking notes on the people and the signs. As I was noting the details of the LET THE NEW AGE BEGIN sign, I was rudely disturbed by a man wearing a plastic vest marked SECURITY, a black man around forty years old, who told me I was not allowed to stand in front of the building. I was taken aback: What? I noted there were three men standing in front of the building, all large middle-aged men in brown suits talking on cell phones. I asked, were they, too, forbidden to stand in front of the building? The guard shrugged and looked at me sadly: Why was I making his job hard? I said I was writing a book on Times Square, and taking notes on what was there; where was I supposed to it if not here, at the Square’s core? He clearly wasn’t prepared for encounters like this. First, he suggested ‘in the street’. As we observed the midday traffic rushing by, he seemed to abandon that idea. He pointed to what looked like a pillar used by construction men, and said I could stand against or behind it; I replied that there I wouldn’t be able to see the things whose presence I was trying to record. Again he shrugged and looked sad. Look, he had his orders; if I didn’t leave, I would be ‘forcibly removed’ (2006, 222).

This encounter radiates a certain instructive melancholy. The observed sadness and tiredness of the guard – a private security worker tasked with policing the sidewalks of a building of tenants that can afford the rents of Times Square – and Berman’s morose retelling reflect the obvious absurdity and futility of the enterprise. Berman’s personal account points to the class and race relations of the encounter – he notes the guard’s race, intimates his low-wage position in plastic vest compared to the men in suits whose presence is tolerated. In this case, Berman was instructed to keep moving, to rejoin the circulation of the city as his position of stopping, taking stock, yet not participating in the business of the building was judged ‘out of place’. It is through these in-the-moment details that the relations of access, power, and foreclosure take shape. The particularities of the encounter are the points at which the policing and negotiation of urban access and foreclosure are made visible. In this case, the guard’s justification is not an appeal to some potential future of terrorism, but to the more familiar struggles in US cities over access to public

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space in a privatised urban landscape. In this way, suspicious encounters that appeal to vague futures link up with long-standing questions about access to urban public space and point to continuities between the ways urban space is policed and controlled across different threat imaginaries. In both contexts, what becomes clear is that the contingency of the city and the twinned contingency of the encounter produce ad hoc suspects and enduring suspect communities; enable and foreclose circulation, and materialise performative threat imaginations in the spaces of everyday life. The fraught relation between urban circulation and suspicion, where circulation is both desired and feared, mean that security encounters are often enacted in tenuous, contradictory flashes that unevenly yet pervasively enact relations of control. As we move through the contingent, circulatory city, then, we may find that security springs up, punctuating the everyday. On the other hand, we may not – like the countless others that take photographs without encountering suspicion. References Ahmed, S. (2004), ‘Affective economies’, Social Text 22(2), 117–39. Amoore, L. (2007), ‘Vigilant visualities: the watchful politics of the war on terror’, SecurityDialogue 38, 215–232. Amoore, L. and de Goede, M. (2008), ‘Transactions after 9/11: the banal face of the preemptive strike’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 33(2), 173–185. Anderson, B. (2010a), ‘Preemption, precaution, preparedness: anticipatory action and future geographies’, Progress in Human Geography 34, 777–798. Anderson, B. (2010b), ‘Security and the future: anticipating the event of terror’, Geoforum 41, 227–235. Aradau, C. and van Munster, R. (2007), ‘Governing terrorism through risk: taking precautions, (un)knowing the future’, European Journal of International Relations 13(1), 89–115. Arcila, F. (2010), ‘The death of suspicion’, William and Mary Law Review 51(4), 1275–1341. Belcher, O. and Martin, L. (2013), ‘Ethnographies of closed doors: conceptualising openness and closure in US immigration and military institutions’, Area 45(4), 403–410. Berman, M. (2006), On the Town: One Hundred Years of Spectacle in Times Square (New York: Random House). Bigo, D. and Tsoukala, A. (eds) (2008), Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal Practices of Liberal Regimes after 9/11 (New York: Routledge). Blanchot, M. (1987), ‘Everyday speech’, Yale French Studies 73, 12–20. Brown, O. (2013), ‘The legal murder of Trayvon Martin and New York City stopand-frisk law: America’s war against black males rages on’, Western Journal of Black Studies 37(4), 258–271.

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Burman, J. (2010), ‘Suspects in the city: Browning the ‘not-quite’ Canadian citizen’, Cultural Studies 24(2), 200–213. Chan, S. (2005), ‘Want shots like this? Get a permit’, New York Times, January 7th 2005. Coleman, M. (2009), ‘What counts as the politics and practice of security, and where? Devolution and immigrant insecurity after 9/11’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99(5), 904–913. Cresswell, T. (1996), In Place~Out of Place: Geography, Ideology, and Transgression (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press). Dwyer, J. (2010), ‘Picture this, and risk arrest’, The New York Times, 28 July 2010, A15. Foucault, M. (2007), Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977–1978, trans. G. Burchell (New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Gibson, T.A. (2003), Securing the Spectacular City: The Politics of Revitalization and Homelessness in Downtown Seattle (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). de Goede, M. and Simon, S. (2013), ‘Governing future radicals in Europe’, Antipode 45(4), 315–335. Guthrie Ferguson, A. (2012), ‘Predictive policing and reasonable suspicion’, Emory Law Journal 62(2), 259–325. Haber, M. (2004), ‘Forbidden photos, anyone?’, The Village Voice, June 1st 2004. Harris, D. (1997), ‘‘Driving while black’ and all other traffic offenses: the Supreme Court and pretextual traffic stops’, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 87(2), 544–583. Herbert, S. (1997), Policing Space (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Herbert, S. (2009), ‘Contemporary geographies of exclusion II: lessons from Iowa’, Progress in Human Geography 33(6), 825–832. Herbert, S. and Brown, E. (2006), ‘Conceptions of space and crime in the punitive neoliberal city’, Antipode 38(4), 755–777. Huysmans, J. (2011), ‘What’s in an act? On security speech acts and little security nothings’, Security Dialogue 42(4–5), 371–383. Manning, M.L. (2010), ‘Less than picture perfect: the legal relationship between photographers’ rights and law enforcement’, Tennessee Law Review 78(1), 105–162. Massumi, B. (2007), ‘Potential politics and the primacy of preemption’, Theory and Event 10(2), no pagination. Mastrofski, S. (2004), ‘Controlling street-level police discretion’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 593, 100–118. Newsome, Y.D. (2002), ‘Border patrol: the U.S. Customs Service and the racial profiling of African American women’, Journal of African American Studies 7(3), 31–57. Painter, J. (2006), ‘Prosaic geographies of stateness’, Political Geography 25, 752–774. Power, M. and Campbell, D. (2010), The state of critical geopolitics’, Political Geography 29, 243–246.

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Puar, J.K. (2007), Terrorist Assemblages (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press). Raigrodski, D. (2008), ‘Reasonableness and objectivity: a feminist discourse of the Fourth Amendment’, Texas Journal of Women and the Law 17, 153–226. Rose, J. (2005), ‘Photographers becoming security concerns’, Morning Edition, National Public Radio, 16 June 2005. Salter, M. (2008), ‘Risk and imagination in the War on Terror’, in Amoore, L. and de Goede, M. (eds), Risk and the War on Terror (New York: Routledge), 233–246. Secor, A.J. (2006), ‘“An unrecognizable condition has arrived”: law, violence, and the state of exception’, in Gregory, D. and Pred, A. (eds), Violent Geographies: Fear, Terror, and Political Violence (New York: Routledge), 37–53. Simon, S. (2012), ‘Suspicious encounters: ordinary preemption and the securitization of photography’, Security Dialogue 43(2), 157–173. Swanton, D. (2010), ‘Sorting bodies: race, affect, and everyday multiculture in a mill town in northern England’, Environment and Planning A 42, 2332–2350. Williams, I.D. (2011), ‘Arizona Senate Bill 1070: state sanctioned racial profiling?’, Journal of the Legal Profession 36(1), 269–284. Wilson, M. (2008), ‘The return of reasonableness: saving the Fourth Amendment from the Supreme Court’, Case Western Reserve Law Review 59(1), 1–60. Wilson, H.F. (2013), ‘Learning to think differently: diversity training and the ‘good encounter’, Geoforum 45, 73–82. Yesufu, S. (2013), ‘Discriminatory use of police stop-and-search powers in London, UK’, International Journal of Police Science & Management 15(4), 281–293.

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Chapter 12

Encountering Havana: Texts, Aesthetics and Documentary Encounters Helen F. Wilson

What was once considered ‘decadent’ is now ‘even more grandiose in its state of decay’ (Bruno 2003, 305). Describing Havana’s settling rust, expanding mildew and peeling architectural layers, Bruno depicts a city that continuously arises from its own ruins. Having visited Havana in a quest to engage the images that she had ‘encountered in political discourse, literary rendition [and] visual representation’, Bruno’s Memoirs of a Visual Culture portray a city that promises the ‘thrill of exploration’ whilst retaining a ‘utopian texture’ (304). This chapter reflects on what it means to encounter the city through images and discourse. In so doing, it asks how cities are engaged at a distance and what implications this has for how we think about encounters more broadly. Whilst Bruno’s urban travelogue details the joy, melancholia and peculiar beauty that she experienced as part of her personal journey to the city, her account is a familiar depiction of a city that has long ‘captured the imagination’ (Birkenmaier and Whitfield 2011, 1). Travel guides to Havana are full of evocative descriptions of its crumbling architecture, its neoclassical blocks and colonial buildings. Cigars, potholes, Hemingway bars and classic American cars are central to its image, alongside a lingering nostalgia for its revolutionary past and icons – the ideals of which have been seemingly ‘trivialised’ by their mass dissemination for tourists (Suárez 2015, 2; see also Babb 2010). Whilst much tourist literature focuses on Havana’s history, there is an equal fascination with its state of transition and with the sense that the city is somehow on the precipice of radical change (Gorney 2012). As this chapter argues, the fascination with Havana’s temporalities and the ‘extended moment of uncertainty’ (Quiroga 2005) in which it is said to exist, offers a valuable way into thinking about both the temporality of encounters and encounters with different temporalities. In recognising that some cities have the capacity to ‘capture the imagination’ (Birkenmaier and Whitfield 2011, 1) – to haunt cultural and political imaginings and fuel analytic and aesthetic reactions to urban processes (Ladd 1997; Otero 2012; Suárez 2015) – this chapter feeds into work concerning the different mediums through which people encounter the urban (Donald 1999; Preston and Simpson-Housley 1994; Shapiro 2010; Quindlen 2004). As an example, fiction can be an important way in which people ‘experience, encounter and identify’ with the city and thus asking how cities are (re)produced through fiction is of political

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import (Shapiro (2010, 24). As a case in point, Thomas’ work on literary encounters with Prague (2010, 7) describes a city that can be ‘aptly compared to a multi-layered manuscript on which numerous writers have left their trace without completely effacing the presence of their predecessors’. Like Havana, which has similarly been described as a literary city of layers (Quiroga 2005; Skvirsky 2013), Prague is presented as a palimpsest – a city that is constantly rewritten or revised, in which ‘history and imagination, memory and forgetting have been impossible to disentangle’ (Thomas 2010, 2). Literary productions of Havana not only deliver ‘aesthetic and theoretical imaginings’ of the city, which produce narratives of its social, cultural, political and economic transformations, but they regularly serve as a ‘synecdoche’ for Cuba more broadly (Suárez 2015, 2; Dopico 2002; Otero 2012). In addition, encounters with Havana through discourse, rendition and representation, blur ‘image and experience, history and memory [and] local and foreign interpretations’ (Suárez 2015, 2) in such a way as to shape and precondition future encounters with the city by creating expectations of (particular forms of) contact. In addition to offering an opportunity for encountering the city, novels, films and other cultural productions regularly ‘yield a politics of aesthetics that, like the city itself, privileges the encounter’ (Shapiro 2010, 22). In so doing, we not only see how the casual encounter is recognised as ‘the signature event in city life’ (1) but we also see an interest in visualising the very contingency that lies at the heart of urban micropolitics (Shapiro 2010, 24). Taking these observations forward, this chapter examines how Havana is encountered through images and documentation but also how encounters are presented as central to the city’s making. To do so, the chapter begins with a brief overview of the political and material transitions that have shaped cultural imaginations of Havana. It then moves to outline the recurrent theme of ‘enchantment’ that runs through many documentary encounters with the city, focusing in particular on the aestheticisation of its ruinous landscape. Building on this reflection, the chapter turns to considerations of time and to concerns that the city has been somehow ‘suspended’ in popular geographical imaginations. Finally, the chapter concludes by considering what implications these readings of the city have for how we think about urban encounters more broadly. Havana – a city of transition Having been a dependent colony of Spain until 1898 and then experiencing political domination by the USA during a ‘pseudo-Republican’ period between 1902 and 1959 (Colantonio and Potter 2006), the Socialist Revolution saw yet another significant transformation. To this point, Havana had been one of the most important Latin American cities of the twentieth century and a key tourist destination (Lightfoot 2002; Quintana 2011). Yet from 1959 onwards, Havana suffered from a set of policies that were distinctly ‘anti-urban’ (Edge et. al 2006).

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Premised on the understanding that Havana represented the ‘excesses of pleasure’ (Bobes 2011, 23) and had become a ‘parasitic’ city on the national body of Cuba (Scarpaci 2000, 724), government policy focused on the redistribution of resources as a means to address regional inequalities, spatial concentration and Havana’s relatively unchallenged history of urban primacy. As a result of the government’s concern with ‘ruralising towns and urbanising the countryside’ (Colantonio and Potter 2006a, 66), the city and its infrastructure suffered substantial underinvestment, leading to the exacerbation of local environmental problems and what some have described as a level of urban destruction ‘rarely seen anywhere except perhaps during times of war’ (Quintana 2011, 106). When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 Cuba lost its favourable trade agreements and economic security, the US tightened its economic sanctions and the country entered ‘a Special Period’1 that demanded significant institutional and economic reforms. Tourism was to be the key ‘tool’ for the revolution’s survival (Colantonio and Potter 2006; Scarpaci and Portela 2009) and was ironically considered a resource for ‘furthering the imperatives of the socialist project’ (Hill 2007, 68). Following the radical rethink of the country’s relationship with tourism, Havana has once again become a ‘tourist city’ (Colantonio and Potter 2006b; Smith 2001). After years of underinvestment in maintenance, preservation and urban heritage, conservation projects across the city have carved out an urban landscape that has been designed with the international tourist in mind. Although neglected before and after the revolution, Old Havana (Habana Vieja) has been a UNESCO recognised heritage site since 1982 (Scarpaci and Portela 2009). However, it was following the well-documented collapse of Colegio Santo Angel in 1993 – an eighteenth-century merchants house in Plaza Vieja – that the city’s relationship with its built heritage altered (Colantonio and Potter 2006a). Faced with the possibility of losing its heritage status, The City Historian’s Office was tasked with systematically renovating Old Havana, leading to the prioritisation of its key plazas – Armas, Catedral and Vieja – along with its Spanish colonial architecture (Scarpaci and Portela, 2009). This has had the effect, as Hill (2007) has argued, of fixing part of Habana Vieja to a particular moment in history and of dismissing and removing other traces of the city’s history that failed to fit. In short, ‘conservationists are doing the work of cultivating a local landscape that meets the expectation of what tourists come to see – an authentic colonial plaza from the 19thC’ (Hill 2007, 73). It is regularly acknowledged that the anti-urban stance adopted after the revolution was also paradoxically responsible for the city’s protection, 1 As Quiroga (2005, 2) notes, ‘Período especial en tiempos de paz’ roughly translated as ‘The special period in times of peace’ is considered to be a ‘euphemistic term that sought to give a name to a situation that was never anticipated in the long march towards egalitarianism and social progress’. Marked by austerity measures, the economy was to operate under wartime conditions of rationing and provision.

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Figure 12.1 Colonial architecture, Plaza Vieja, Havana Source: Author’s photograph.

given that much of it remained untouched by modern planning as a result (Aldarondo 2013; Suárez 2015). It is also the ruins of the city that continue to attract and fascinate tourists, artists and academics alike. As Suárez (2015, 7) argues, the renovation work that has been so central to the city’s transformation into a ‘tourist paradise’ has ‘propelled’ a selection of key sites into a ‘present that erases the financial hardships that still afflict the city’. At the same time, as tourism has become more important and the island’s dual economy has risen, the city has subsequently been characterised by increasingly discordant ‘representational logics’. As Binkley (2009) has argued, it is a city in which there exists a strange coincidence of consumer pleasure on the one hand and the presence of the state on the other, with its messages of paternalism, collective sacrifice and care (Babb 2011; Scarpaci 2014). It has been argued that this pull between two different narratives has not only exposed the ‘cracks’ in the ‘socialist edifice’ (Krol 2013), but has laid the grounds for a multitude of paradoxes, contradictions and ‘visual ironies’ that have become central to Havana’s imaginaries (Otero 2012, 150). It is with these visual ironies that the chapter precedes. For many, the shortage of Cuban images in the thirty years that preceded the Special Period has made Havana’s ‘aesthetic and sensual fetishization’ more extreme (Dopico 2002, 451). Indeed, Dopico goes as far as to suggest that ‘Havana has become synonymous with the photograph’, which reflects the city’s fashionable status as a city of exception and of representation (ibid.). It is on this basis that I now reflect on how such aesthetic fetishization might shape encounters with the city.

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Enchantment and the heightening of aesthetic experience They drove by three-storey stone houses transformed by the Revolution into a far more colourful backdrop of ruin and decay, marble colonnades refaced with whatever colour was available – green, ultramarine, chartreuse. Not just ordinary green, either, but a vibrant spectrum: sea, lime, palm and verdigris. Houses are as blue as powdered turquoise, pools of water, peeling sky, the upper levels enlivened by balconies of ornate iron work embellished by canary cages, florid roosters, hanging bicycles (Cruz Smith, Habana Bay 2007, 16).

As this reference to Havana’s faded grandeur would seem to suggest, there is nothing ordinary about the city – not even the colour. This short excerpt, taken from Cruz Smith’s Habana Bay, describes the journey of Arkady and Rufo, a former inspector for the Moscow Militsiya and a Cuban interpreter from the Russian embassy, as they make their way across Havana following the recovery of a corpse in Havana Bay. Despite the corrosive effects of sea salt, tropical rains and the ‘cumulative deficit of maintenance’ (Coyula 2011, 40), the decaying stone houses are described here as simultaneously vibrant, embellished, ornate and enlivened. This description is characteristic of the city’s apparently ‘bewildering contradictions’ – as one of both resiliency and collapse – and is typical of the imagery that has emerged during the Special Period.

Figure 12.2 Classic American cars in front of ruins Source: Author’s photograph.

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All forms of encounter are arguably about enchantment in one way or another – about small moments of hesitation that demand that one thinks about the world differently (Bennett 2001, 3). As Bennett suggests (2001, 4), ‘to be enchanted, is to be struck by the extraordinary that lives amid the familiar and the everyday’ and thus enchantment involves an encounter with something that you ‘are not fully prepared to engage’ (5). Such an interest in the unexpected – in the small moments or instances in which something is broken open – should be taken as an interest in how ‘the life of everyday life’ is enacted (Anderson 2006, 735; 2014) and can be seen in the descriptions of shock, rupture, surprise and animation that characterise much of the scholarly work on encounter (see Wilson 2016). It is worth quoting Bennett (2001, 5) at length here: Contained within this surprise state are (1) a pleasurable feeling of being charmed by the novel and as yet unprocessed encounter and (2) a more unheimlich (uncanny) feeling of being disrupted or torn out of one’s default sensory-psychic-intellectual disposition. The overall effect of enchantment is a mood of fullness, plenitude, or liveliness, a sense of having one’s nerves or circulation or concentration powers turned up or recharged (original emphasis).

The sense, described here, of having been disrupted from one’s usual ‘sensorypsychic-intellectual disposition’ does not always amount to a pleasurable experience. Indeed, the uncanny is a prominent feature of the images encountered in discourses and representations of Havana’s ruins. These have provoked both political criticism and aesthetic desire, whilst at the same time disclosing the impoverished living conditions that are faced by the city’s residents (Suárez 2015, 15). Before reflecting more fully on the city’s ruinous landscape, I want to focus on the notion of the ‘extraordinary’ and how this relates to aesthetic encounter. The past decade has seen an interest in developing new techniques for grasping contingency and forms of embodied knowledge (Anderson and Harrison 2010). Pyyry’s (2014) concern with learning through encounters with the city, argues for the need to make the familiar unfamiliar, to re-enchant the everyday spaces of the city as a means of fostering one’s ‘ethical sensitivity’ to the world (5). Her concern with looking at the world ‘anew’ and with encouraging a ‘childlike excitement about life’ (Bennett 2001 cited in Pyyry 2014, 2) through the heightening of sensuous or aesthetic experience is centred on a concern for those spaces of the city that are routine, habitual and regularly engaged without contemplation. Developing a series of ‘photo-walks’ for young people to act as forms of creative encounter with their spaces of ‘hanging out’, she details how the practice of walking and taking photos invites a questioning of what is ‘going on’ and thus acts as a form of learning that deepens understanding of ‘taken-for-granted practices and places’ (11). This practice might be placed within a wider geographical concern for recognising the ‘efficacy of the sensuous’ and for ‘grasping’ different forms of

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knowledge by rendering the self more open to other possibilities (Woodyer and Geoghegan 2013, 199). The process of questioning that Pyyry (2014) encourages thus recognises the forms of attention that are ‘imbricated’ in encounters (Woodyer and Geoghegan 2013, 205). However, whilst the kinds of ‘artful cultivation’ that concern Pyyry (2014), tend to deal with the mundane and familiar in order to recognise the extraordinary, encounters with images of Havana already promise a heightened sensuous and aesthetic experience. Havana is increasingly defined by its ‘metropolitan energy’ (Bruno 2003), by its salsa, mamba and the ‘hypnotizing’ mix of drums and dance that emanate from its clubs, squares and streets. Described as the cultural metropolis of the Caribbean, its streets are likened to ‘kaleidoscopic theatres’ whilst the city’s ‘frenetic action’ promises an arresting, multi-sensuous experience that presses on visitors and residents alike (McAuslan and Norman 2010; Wilson 2015). References to Havana’s dream-like qualities, its ability to ‘cast its spell’, its ghostly presences and the sense of a lingering past, all prepare the visitor for an encounter with a city that is far from mundane. The sensual encounters that are promised by Havana might be said to provoke an awareness of the ‘sensory deprivation inherent in contemporary cities’ elsewhere (Edensor 2007, 217), demonstrating how cities are always already read through a comparative lens (Ward 2010). As Edensor (2007, 217) argues, places that are ‘wildly sensual and disordered’, that produce ‘intense olfactory geographies’ and a ‘changing symphony of diverse pitches, volumes and tones’ interrupt the distanced apprehension that is so common to regulated urban spaces in the west. The arresting sensuous experiences described by travel guides, documentary films and memoirs are presented in sharp contrast to the sensual familiarity and predictability of regulated and smooth urban spaces elsewhere. As such, in noting how the city is celebrated and widely marketed to would-be visitors and foreign markets, we can see how expectations of exotic encounter are created. To take this idea forward, I want to focus on Havana’s ruins, which have been credited with giving Havana its somewhat ‘fashionable status’ (Dopico 2002). An interest in the city’s ruins has been marked by an ‘aesthetic voyeurism’ (472) that has offered up opportunities for encounter with new and competing imaginaries. By situating such aesthetic voyeurism within the context of work on material remains, the next section examines the ambiguous potential of encounters before leading into a reflection on how they disrupt temporalities. Encounters with ruins Whilst the city crumbles, it also seems to levitate in pictures. Quiroga (2005, 97)

Whilst much is made of Havana’s metropolitan energy and its dramatic soundscape, its celebrated aesthetic experience has been frequently underlined by a romanticisation of its ruins and the promise of arresting encounters with the city’s materiality (McAuslan and Norman 2010). In recent years, work on ruin

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and material legacies, has highlighted the potential that encounters with ‘material remains’ have for animating marginalised stories of the past and for disrupting linear temporalities of the city (Swanton 2012, 265; DeSilvey and Edensor 2013; Edensor 2005; Fraser 2012; Wilson 2013). For example, taking inspiration from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project (1999),2 Swanton (2012) develops afterimages – or impressions – of Dortmund’s now defunct steel industry to evoke alternative and ‘unruly’ memories of the post-industrial city by attending to its abandoned industrial structures. These afterimages not only challenge the selective enactments of the past that have been staged by city visionaries and boosterism, but also work to challenge normative understandings of aesthetic value. Arguing that the city’s past had been ‘fossilised’ through heritage tourism, which has had the effect of producing a false coherency and of concealing the trauma and destruction that necessarily accompanies the advance of capitalism (see also Huyssen 2003), Swanton demonstrates how encounters with the contingency of architecture can be ‘politically instructive’ (2012, 269). Through this reference to the politics of encounter, Swanton highlights how the destruction and violence of capitalism is laid bare in such a way as to force a reflection on the unravelling of lives and to make such an unravelling a political issue. Like Edensor (2008; 2007), this interest in material remains – in twisted structures, concrete pits, splintering wood and corroded steel – is an interest in attending to the neglected and marginalised histories of cities in a way that provokes, disrupts and questions. Unlike the ruins of Havana, the ruinous landscapes of Dortmund fit typical conceptualisations of modern ruins, which have tended to render them liminal, useless or disturbing – as ‘eyesores’ and sites of ‘corruption’. These conceptualisations thus posit ruins as somehow outside of the mediated spaces of everyday life (van der Hoorn 2009). Overlooked, precisely because of their perceived lack of value, these ruins are a contemporary phenomenon of the postindustrial city – regularly understood by scholars as a reproach of modernity and a reminder of the devastating effects of de-industrialisation (DeSilvey 2010). As such, Dortmund’s ruins are afforded a very different status in the geographical imagination to the material ruins of Havana. Indeed, as Skvirsky (2013, 430) argues, Havana’s ruins are unique in that rather than reflecting the reproach of modernity, they are instead considered a ‘sign of an unfinished or sidetracked modernity’ and so have regularly become the preferred indication of the failure of Cuban socialism (ibid.). For Skvirsky (2013), the sense of a ‘sidetracked’ modernity is the first of two conditions that make accounts of Havana’s ruins ‘peculiar’. The second is their inhabitation. Whilst Dortmund’s post-industrial ruins exist on the margins, it is difficult to ignore Havana’s ruins, for the entire city is afflicted (Aldarondo 2 Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project (2002) sought to collect the forgotten and neglected fragments and traces of everyday Parisian life in the later half of the nineteenth century as a means to consciously reject normative ways of experiencing and seeing the city.

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2013). Ruins are regularly understood to have undergone an ‘ontological transformation’ from functioning objects to something that is lacking in use value and so the inhabitation of Havana’s ruins poses a challenge to such conventional understandings (ibid., 178). This not only makes their aestheticisation deeply problematic and of significant import to the city’s ongoing political and economic development, but when the city is read ‘through the trope of the ruin’, it is also what provokes a sense of the ‘uncanny’ (Skvirsky 2013, 429). Such an uncomfortably strange feeling provides a clearer illustration of the ambiguous potential and experience of enchantment – that sense of having been ‘torn out of one’s default sensory-psychic-intellectual disposition’ by an encounter that is experienced viscerally (Bennett 2001, 5). Claudio Edinger’s Old Havana (1998) – a photographic collection that is presented as a record of the plight of Habaneros during the Special Period – is notable as an example of dystopian voyeurism that deliberately stages unsettling encounters with decay (Dopico 2002). As such, it is illustrative of the disconcerting essence of the urban ‘uncanny’. Marking an interest in the dark spaces of the city – its interiors and gloomy streets – Edinger’s portraits of Cubans bathe them in intense colours of green and yellow to create an eerie contrast with the darkness of the ruins in which they are positioned. The overall effect is the reproduction of Havana ‘as a theatre of the uncanny’ (Dopico 2002, 472) – one that unnerves, haunts and captures attention. The promise of arresting encounters with Havana’s ruins allows a ‘revelling’ in the beauty of decay and a voyeurism that permits a ‘politically disinterested position’ (Aldarondo, 2013, 179)3. For Quiroga (2005, 81), it was during the 1990s that Cuba first entered the world’s ‘market for images’ as a country where ‘poverty could always be rendered in aesthetic terms’. Too often, he argues, the capture of decay in single photographic shots of the city has laid the grounds for depoliticising effects – to allow viewers to apprehend the ruins and poverty of the city as a ‘metaphor for something’ rather than as the result of government policy (82). To make his case, Quiroga references a range of volumes that emerged during the 1990s at a time when social hardships were at their worst and when the Cuban government was consciously pursuing tourism. This includes Juliet Barclay’s Havana. Portrait of a City (1993), which combined photographs of ‘romantic’ ruins with images of the few sites where renovation had been completed4. 3 For a city with a similar scale of ruination and one that has evoked an equal fascination with the aesthetics of ruinous landscapes, we might also look to Detroit (Marchand and Meffre 2010; Millington 2013). 4 As Quiroga (2005) notes, there is no palpable sense of the poverty and struggles that gripped the city during these years, nor any real engagement with the politics that shaped it. Instead, a forward to the volume by the Historian of the City of Havana presents it as a new profile of the city for the English and Spanish-speaking world, whilst the blurb describes it as a corrective to the author’s ‘encounters with an infuriating dearth of information on Havana in English’ (Barclay 1994, np).

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In contrast to Barclay’s streets, which were absent of people, Wim Wenders’ documentary film, Buena Vista Social Club, combined montage shots of the city with biographical narratives of the Buena Vista musicians, who reached worldwide fame following the release of their Grammy-winning album in 1997. The special attention given to ‘romantic architecture’ and ruined colonial streets in combination with rusted cars, revolutionary slogans and happy Habaneros, produced a consciously nostalgic account of the city that was geared towards foreign markets (Oberacker 2008; Rodríguez-Mangual 2008). As the film moves through Havana’s streets, there is little reference to political crisis, but rather an emphasis on stereotypical iconography and an attention to vibrancy, colour and rhythm, which stages an aestheticised encounter with the city that is presented as somehow ‘authentic’. Unsurprisingly, the film attracted criticism for its repetition of ‘visual clichés’ (Dopico 2002; Quiroga 2005). The ruins and decay of Havana have a very different history and context to those so regularly aestheticised in cities like Detroit, yet they tell a similar story about the ‘reproducibility of imaginative geographies’ (Millington 2013, 292). Despite their empirical differences, in the case of both cities would-be visitors have been encouraged to go now before money arrives and their ‘unusual’ beauty is lost forever (Suárez 2015, 2). In Havana’s case, this is a recommendation that has featured prominently in travel documentation for over 30 years, giving some indication of just how long Havana has been discursively fixed on the ‘brink’ of radical transformation5. It is a concern that can be seen in Buena Vista Social Club, which has been likened to traditions of ‘salvage ethnography’ in its concern for preserving the ‘fading histories’ of the city’s built environment and of Buena Vista’s musicians (Rodríguez-Mangual 2008). Such a concern with radical transformation is also intensified by the ambiguity of the city’s ruins which, caught between ‘being’ and ‘unbecoming’ (Fraser 2012, 149), occupy a position of precarious potentiality and contingency. As Fraser (2012) argues, ‘in their ambiguity as notwhat-they-were, but not-yet-gone, [ruins] offer an experience to the visitor, which is seldom found elsewhere’ (ibid.), and it is this contingency and possibility that (re)produces the appeal of Havana’s ruins. In locating the unusual beauty of Havana in the ruins of the past whilst envisioning a future that might transform them beyond recognition, the ability to encounter and engage the present is regularly limited. This is a problem that has long been recognised in work on societies apparently in transition. For Millington (2013), part of the challenge faced is in how we might think about ‘ruined’ cities as being inherently ‘ordinary’ (Robinson 2006) to better address the ongoing daily life of the city and its ‘active processes of inhabitation, repair and renewal’ (Aldarondo 2013, 227; del Real and Scarpaci 2011). As such, having focused on encounters with material remains as a way of addressing aesthetics, politics and 5 At the time of going to press, the 2014 announcement of a ‘historic breakthrough’ for US-Cuba relations and plans to restore the US embassy in Havana, have further intensified such narratives (Deibert 2015).

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the heightening of experience, I now focus on the question of time as one that is central to understanding encounters with Havana. Time As Birkenmaier and Whitfield (2011, 4) suggest, ‘between the legacy of its layered pasts and the expansive possibilities for its future, the city of Havana seems at present suspended in time’. At least, this, they argue, is certainly how the tourist industry has continued to present it. As Quiroga (2005) has noted, for anybody with an investment in Cuba, it would be difficult to ignore the pervasive descriptions that posit the country as ‘out of time, on a time of its own’, or simply ‘stuck in time’. Time, Quiroga argues, has been shaped and ‘distorted’ by collective memory and memorialisation with the aid of photography, stories, recorded music and film. For Bobes (2011) such propensity to memorialisation has made Havana a ‘memory city’, or a ‘non-place’ and at risk of becoming ‘a living museum’ (Scarpaci 2001). This again presents a rather unusual reading of ruins, for as Skvirsky (2013, 430) notes, ruinous landscapes are regularly a poignant reminder of time’s passage (see also Edensor 2005). That Havana’s ruins are so regularly linked to a sense of stasis alters the appeal through which ruins are usually encountered. It would certainly seem that the ruins of Havana are caught in the gaze of numerous writers. As Álvarez-Tabío Albo (2011, 151 author’s emphasis) argues, such writers evoke ‘a feeling of nostalgia, loss or emptiness, the look of what could have been but never was: a rebellion, a breakdown, a discord’. As such they present ‘a permanent disjuncture with the inadequacy of the present’ and utilise the ruins of the city as a metaphor for the ‘frustration of destiny’, whether that be personal, familial or national. For Quintana (2011, 116), this manifestation of nostalgia can only be of value if it is used ‘as the cultural platform’ from which the present might be delineated and the future visualised. For the most part however, this feeling of loss or ‘fantastical romance’ is regularly coupled with accounts of trauma and the sense that a trajectory of memory has been somehow broken (Otero 2012, 149). For Goldman (2008), dealing with the unfilled desires or frustrated destinies of Habaneros is a necessary pursuit if the tendency to romanticise the city and its ruins are to be countered. One film that engages in such a pursuit is Fernando Pérez’s Suite Habana (2003).6 Goldman commends a melancholic film, which, despite celebrating the quotidian life of Havana, underscores the desires that it cannot fulfill. Focused on a 24-hour period and with an emphasis on the use of montage, fragments and sound, Perez’s film has been placed within the ‘city symphony’ tradition (Skvirsky 2013).7 However, unlike many in this genre, which 6 Fernando Pérez is a Cuban filmmaker. 7 This tradition, which has tended to focus on a day in the life of a city in order to capture the dynamism of modernity and its machines, rhythms, interactions, work and

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have a tendency to anonymise city inhabitants, Suite Habana focuses on the daily activities, encounters and intimate lives of thirteen of the city’s residents.8 The film presents not only the varied life of the city, but both an active and productive society that stands in contrast with the passivity that is often evoked by reading the city through its ruins (Skvirsky 2013). As such, the film not only challenges the romanticisation of ruins, but also the tendency to focus on the ruins to the neglect of all else. Importantly, through their activities it is the residents of Havana that produce the rhythmic soundscape for this ‘visual poem to the city’ (Quiroga 2005, 107). The film depicts a city of frenetic energy, cacophonic sounds, tangled infrastructure and pulsating crowds, which has the effect, to borrow Bennett’s words, of ‘turning up one’s nerves or concentration powers’ (Bennett 2001, 5). These short bursts of energy are juxtaposed with depictions of difficult goodbyes at the airport, the toil of construction work, familial relations and the labour of informal economies, which are accompanied by a mournful musical score. Whilst Skvirsky (2013) places emphasis on the film’s portrayal of self-realisation, it is the nostalgia for a time when ‘better futures seemed possible’ (437) that weighs heavily on the viewer. Like so many other nostalgic accounts, there is a ‘psychic trauma’ and a collective malaise that inflects the film’s portrayal of daily life (Goldman 2008, 85). Stagnation, decay and deterioration are its central themes, which, when taken together, produce what Goldman calls a ‘poetics of lack’ (ibid.). This is compounded during the final two minutes, when the dreams of each character are revealed. It concludes with Amanda Gautier, a retired textile worker who gets by on selling peanuts. The film finishes with the line ‘she dreams no more’. Suite Habana certainly supports scholarly work that has highlighted the dangers of romanticising the ingenuity of Habaneros (Aldarondo 2013). This much-celebrated ‘spirit of survival’ can be seen in the Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide to Cuba, which, in its welcome to the country notes three things; its mildewed magnificence, its certain romance and its spirit of survival. As it explains: Cuba’s romance isn’t of the candlelit, dinner-for-two variety. Here in a country of few material possessions, life can be raw, in your face and rough around the edges. But, the austerity is only half the story. Cuba is crammed with innumerable impossible-to-buy riches. Ponder the Latin Lotharios holding court on Havana’s Malecón, the ingenious DIY-merchants fine-tuning their hybridised Russian-American cars, or the old ladies in rollers conjuring culinary miracles out of nothing. leisure (Donald 1999; Shapiro 2010), is perhaps best encapsulated by Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927). 8 The focus on city residents across a 24 hour period, is a device similarly deployed in the recent film ‘7 Data in Havana’. Described as offering a ‘snapshot’ of an iconic and ‘eclectic’ city, it is made up of 7 short chapters each directed by a different filmmaker (http://www.7daysinhavana.com).

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The ‘rawness’ of ordinary life described here is undeniably present in Perez’s symphony and other similar discourses and documentaries that have emerged during the Special Period. For instance, the novels of Pedro Juan Gutiérrez – and the Dirty Havana Trilogy in particular – have been praised for their ‘realism’ (Lawless 2011; Quiroga 2005) and fragmentary accounts of squalor and corruption, and thus for offering alternatives to the images sought after by tourists. In contrast, however, the Lonely Planet’s romanticisation of ‘survival’ through the invitation to ponder the creation of ‘culinary miracles out of nothing’ sets out expectations of encounter that allow the visitor to be charmed by poverty (Aldarondo 2013). These enchanted encounters (Dürr 2012) stand in stark contrast with the disenchantment that Quirago (2005, 22) claims ‘haunts the survivors of a nation that is, to this date, severed’ and for which ‘melancholia has become the most crucial element’ for apprehending the current situation of the city. In this regard, the fragmentary nature of Suite Habana, in its use of montage and its focus on brief encounters, challenges the codification and reading of Havana through romantic images, but also challenges the tendency for unitary narratives. This, for such an iconic city of cultural and political imagination, is an important message. Conclusion A long history of writing has recognised the significance of encounters to the formation of urban social life. However, whilst recognising that encounters are what make the urban a place of ‘permanent disequilibrium’ (Lefebvre 1996, 129), this chapter marks a departure from writing that predominantly focuses on the city as a space within which contact occurs. Whilst documentary accounts of Havana visualise the encounters that make urban life, this chapter has placed emphasis on encounters with the city. As I have argued, documentary encounters and artistic responses to Havana’s contradictions are what shape cultural imaginations, expectations and future encounters and as such, provide a valuable case through which to reflect on conceptualisations of encounter more broadly. Recognising that encounters are not defined by physical proximity does two things. First, it forces a reflection on the other qualities that make encounters distinctive. As outlined in the introduction to this collection, encounters are about difference. In this case, encounters with Havana are rendered extraordinary, depicting a city that is claimed to be like no other and offering experiences that stand in sharp contrast to the familiar sensuality of other cities. The encounters described are also about the ‘erotic appeal of underprivileged urban districts’ (Dürr, 2012: 340) and the transgression of economic and social boundaries. Encounters are moments of rupture and surprise that disrupt dispositions. The pensive melancholia affected by Suite Habana, the sense of the uncanny produced by encounters with Havana’s inhabited ruins and the charm of encountering Havana’s aesthetics are all felt and experienced as moments of transgression.

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Because of the association with rupture and the unexpected, encounters can play a role in critiquing normal social orders (Stevens 2007). Whilst these forms of encounter might be ‘politically instructive’ in that they challenge normative discourses and forms of regulation, there is caution to be had in recognising the contextual politics of encounter. Whilst Pyyry’s call for an enchantment that looks upon the world ‘anew’ meets recent calls within geography to recognise how enchantment might progress geographical thought and praxis (Woodyer and Geoghegan 2013), the enchantment that has been associated with Havana’s material ruins has, in many cases, had depoliticising effects. The aesthetic encounters promised by travel guides and photo collections have enabled a wonderment of ruin that has simultaneously romanticised hardship. Second, to focus on encounters with images is to necessarily demand a critical reflection on the mediation of encounters. As Quiroga (2005) has argued, Cuban history and memory are not written from and within the island alone. Rather, ‘the media archive … has been collapsed into the dreams and projections, hopes and resolutions of broad segments of Western and Third World imaginaries’ (3). The tourist gaze is always about an encounter between producers and consumers and thus about the production of practical ontologies (Babb 2011; Gibson 2010). In the case of Havana, this is a gaze that has particular resonance. Documentation aimed at would-be tourists promises enchanted encounters with a ‘land of miracles’ (Smith 2001), ingenuous Habaneros and captivating architecture, whilst the cinematic techniques of Suite Habana are intended to counter the depoliticising aestheticisation of Havana’s ruins by communicating a melancholy account of unfulfilled dreams. At the same time, Gutiérrez’s fictional accounts of the city foreground encounters with moral decomposition and squalor to bring an alternative perspective to the ‘rawness’ described in tourist literature. When cities can be figured, as Shapiro (2010, 24) argues, by composing encounters between artistic texts and conceptual frames, asking how these encounters ‘illuminate aspects of the actual encounters that constitute the micropolitics of urban life worlds’ is of critical importance. Finally, I want to finish with a reflection on temporality. So much of the writing on Havana depicts a place that is unlike any other. It is presented as existing in a different time, as a contrast to the regulated urban spaces of elsewhere and is considered to hold an inimitable quality that is at risk of disappearing. To some extent then, much of the writing on Havana focuses on encounters with the past – or with an object, idea or quality that will soon disappear. This of course feeds into a rich body of work that has traced how the past is encountered through monuments, memorials and material remains (Ladd 1997). Yet as Ahmed (2002, 559) reminds us, ‘it is through attending to the multiplicity of the pasts […] through the traces they leave in the encounters we have in the present, that we can open up the promise of the ‘not yet’’. Questions of memory and nostalgia can take encounters in novel directions. Whilst memory is always directed towards the past and directed towards an idea, memory is ‘called up by an attention to the present and the future’ (ibid.), an attention that Bergson (1991) described as an

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‘attention to life’. It is this attention to Havana’s present that is key to engaging the ‘ordinary city’. References Ahmed, S. (2002), ‘This other and other others’, Economy and Society, 31, 558–572. Aldarondo, C.I. (2013), The Documentary Encounter: Memory, Materiality, and Performance in Contemporary Visual Culture (Unpublished dissertation. Minnesota: University of Minnesota). Álvarez-Tabío Albo, E. (2011), ‘The City in Midair,’ in A. Birkenmaier and E. Whitfield (eds), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989. (Durham: Duke University Press), 149–172. Anderson, B. (2006), ‘Becoming and being hopeful: towards a theory of affect’, Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 24, 733–752. Anderson, B. and Harrison, P. (eds) (2012), Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing). Babb, F.E. (2011), ‘Che, Chevys, and Hemingway’s Daiquiris: Cuban Tourism in a Time of Globalisation’, Bulletin of Latin American Research 30, 50–63. Barclay, J. and Charles, M. (2003), Havana: Portrait of a City (London: Sterling Publishing Company). Benjamin, W. (2002), The Arcades Project (Cambridge: Harvard University Press). Bennett, J. (2001), The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Bergson H. (1991), Matter and Memory (New York: Zone Books). Binkley, S. (2009), ‘Inventado: between transnational consumption and the gardening state in Havana’s urban spectacle’, Cultural Studies↔ Critical Methodologies 9, 321–344. Birkenmaier, A. and Whitfield, E. (2011), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press). Bobes, V. (2011), ‘Visits to a non-place: Havana and its representation(s)’, in A. Birkenmaier and E. Whitfield (eds), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press), 15–30. Bruno, G. (2003) ‘Havana: memoirs of material culture’, Journal of Visual Culture 2, 303–324. Colantonio, A. and Potter, R.B. (2006a), ‘Havana’, Cities 23, 63–78. Colantonio, A. and Potter, R.B. (2006b), Urban Tourism and Development in the Socialist State: Havana during the ‘Special Period’ (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing). Coyula, M. (2011), ‘The bitter trinquennium and the dystopian city: autopsy of a utopia’, in Birkenmaier, A. and Whitfield, E. (eds), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press), 31–52. Cruz Smith, M. (2007), Havana Bay (London: Pan Macmillan).

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Deibert, M. (2015), ‘Havana: one of the world’s great cities on the brink of a fraught transition’, The Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/ cities/2015/jun/17/havana-city-brink-change. Del Real, P. and Scarpaci, J. (2011), ‘Barbacoas: Havana’s new inward frontier’ in A. Birkenmaier and E. Whitfield (eds), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press), 53–72. DeSilvey, C. (2010), ‘Memory in motion: soundings from Milltown Montana’, Social & Cultural Geography 11, 491–510. DeSilvey, C. and Edensor, T. (2013), ‘Reckoning with ruins’, Progress in Human Geography, 37, 465–485. Dopico, A. (2002), ‘Picturing Havana: history, vision, and the scramble for Cuba’, Nepantla: Views from South 3, 451–493. Donald, J. (1999), Imagining the Modern City (Minneapolis: Minnesota Press). Dürr, E. (2012), ‘Urban poverty, spatial representation and mobility: touring a slum in Mexico’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36, 706–724. Edensor, T. (2005), ‘The ghosts of industrial ruins: ordering and disordering memory in excessive space’, Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 23, 829–849. Edensor, T. (2007), ‘Sensing the ruin’, The Senses and Society 2, 217–232. Edensor, T. (2008), ‘Mundane hauntings: commuting through the phantasmagoric working-class spaces of Manchester, England’, Cultural Geographies 15, 313–333. Edge, K., Scarpaci, J. and Woofter, H. (2006), ‘Mapping and designing Havana: Republican, socialist and global spaces’, Cities 23, 85–98. Edinger, C. (1998), Old Havana (Dewi Lewis Publishing). Fraser, E. (2012), ‘Urban exploration as adventure tourism’ in H. Andrews and L. Roberts (eds), Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experience and Spaces In-between (London: Routledge), 136–151. Gibson, C. (2009), ‘Geographies of tourism: (un)ethical encounters’ Progress in Human Geography 34, 521–527. Goldman, D.E. (2008), ‘Urban desires: melancholia and Fernando Pérez’s portrayal of Havana’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 85, 867–882. Gorney, C. (2012), ‘Cuba’s New Now’, in National Geographic (Washington D.C: National Geographic Society), November, 28–59. Gutiérrez, P.J. (2002), Dirty Havana Trilogy: A Novel in Stories (London: HarperCollins). Hill, M. (2007), ‘Reimagining Old Havana’, in Sassen, S. (eds) Deciphering the Global: Its Scales, Spaces and Subjects (London: Routledge), 59–78. Huyssen, A. (2003), Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (California: Stanford University Press). Krol, N. (2013), ‘The literary City of Havana and the restoration of culture in the writing of Abilio Estévez’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 90, 835–852.

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Ladd, B. (1997), The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape (London: University of Chicago Press). Lawless, C. (2011), ‘Urban performance pieces in fragmented form: a reading of Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and Antonio José Ponte’, in A. Birkenmaier and E. Whitfield. (eds) Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press), 187–208. Lefebvre, H. (1996), Writings on Cities. Trans and eds, E. Kofman and E. Lebas (Oxford: Blackwell). Lightfoot, C. (2002), Havana: A Cultural and Literary Companion (Oxford: Interlink Books). McAuslan, F. and Norman, M. (2010), The Rough Guide to Cuba (London: Rough Guides). Marchand, Y. and Meffre, R. (2010), The Ruins of Detroit (Steidl). Millington, N. (2013), ‘Post‐Industrial imaginaries: Nature, representation and ruin in Detroit, Michigan’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37, 279–296. Oberacker, J.S. (2008), ‘Affecting the embargo: displacing politics in the Buena Vista Social Club’, Popular Communication 6, 53–67. Otero, S. (2012), ‘The ruins of Havana: representations of memory, religion, and gender’, Atlantic Studies 9, 143–163. Preston, P. and Simpson-Housley, P. (2002), Writing the City: Eden, Babylon and the New Jerusalem (London: Routledge). Pyyry, N. (2014), ‘Learning with the city via enchantment: photo-walks as creative encounters’, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1–14. Quindlen, A. (2004), Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City (Washington D.C.: National Geographic Directions). Quintana, N. (2011), ‘Havana and its landscapes: a vision for future reconstruction of Cuban cities’ in A. Birkenmaier and E. Whitfield (eds), Havana Beyond the Ruins: Cultural Mappings After 1989 (Durham: Duke University Press), 106–118. Quiroga, J. (2005), Cuban Palimpsests (Minneapolis: Minnesota Press). Robinson, J. (2006), Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development (London: Routledge). Rodríguez-Mangual, E.M. (2008), ‘Fictual factions: on the emergence of a documentary style in recent Cuban films’, Screen 49, 298–315. Sainsbury, B. and Waterson, L. (2011), Cuba (China: Lonely Planet Publications). Scarpaci, J. (2000), ‘Winners and losers in restoring Old Havana’, Cuba in Transition 10, 289–298. Scarpaci, J L. (2014), ‘Material and cultural consumption in Cuba: new reference groups in the new millennium’, Journal of Cultural Geography 31, 257–279. Scarpaci, J.L. and A.H. Portela. (2009), Cuban Landscapes: Heritage, Memory, and Place (New York: Guilford Press). Shapiro, M.J. (2010), The Time of the City (Routledge: London).

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Skvirsky, S. A. (2013), ‘The postcolonial city symphony film and the “ruins” of Suite Habana’, Social Identities 19, 423–439. Smith, S. (2001), The Land of Miracles: A Journey through Modern Cuba (London: Abacus). Suárez, L.M. (2015), ‘Ruin memory: Havana beyond the revolution’, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 1–18. Stevens, Q. (2007), The Ludic City: Exploring the Potential of Public Spaces (London: Routledge). Swanton, D. (2012), ‘Afterimages of Steel Dortmund’, Space and Culture 15, 264–282. Thomas, A. (2010), Prague Palimpsest: Writing, Memory, and the City (London: University of Chicago Press). Van Der Hoorn, M. l. (2009), Indispensable Eyesores: An Anthropology of Undesired Buildings (Oxford: Berghahn Books). Ward, K. (2010), ‘Towards a relational comparative approach to the study of cities’, Progress in Human Geography 34, 471–487. Wilson, H.F. (2013), ‘Post-socialist cities and urban studies: Transformation and continuity in Eurasia’, Urban Studies 50, 3463–3471. Wilson, H.F. (2015), ‘Sonic geographies, soundwalks and more-thanrepresentational methods’, in M. Bull and L. Back (eds), The Auditory Culture Reader, 2nd Edition (London: Bloomsbury), 163–172. Wilson, H.F. (2016), ‘On geography and encounter’. Progress in Human Geography. Woodyer, T. and Geoghegan, H. (2013), ‘(Re)enchanting geography? The nature of being critical and the character of critique in human geography’, Progress in Human Geography 37, 195–214.

Chapter 13

Deadly and Lively Encounters Jeffrey Hou

In a fateful and fatal morning on April 12, 2015, police officers in Baltimore, Maryland ‘made eye contact’ with Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man in the street near a public housing project (Davidson 2015). According to the police account, Gray was taken into custody after a short chase, and was charged with carrying a knife. He was placed in a police van shortly after his arrest, but within about an hour he was taken to a university hospital, in a coma. Diagnosed with a severe spinal injury, he underwent extensive surgery but died on April 19, 2015, a week after the arrest. This incident in Baltimore ignited massive protests against police brutality in the city. Faced with the so-called ‘worst rioting’ in the United States for years, the National Guard were called in, and thousands of police were deployed (Simpson and Strobel 2015). A state of emergency was declared in the city.1 The event in Baltimore came on the heel of widespread public outcry in the United States after a series of widely publicised incidents involving police killings of unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, North Charleston, South Carolina, and more. On social media, college campuses, and in local communities, activists and movements such as Black Lives Matter are raising awareness of the system of racism and injustice against Black bodies, a system that sees, according to Black Lives Matter, a black man, woman, or child murdered by police or vigilante law enforcement every 28 hours.2 One can suspect that most of these incidents happened as a result of street encounters, similar to the one in Baltimore. As protests and demonstrations swept across the country, different forms of street encounters were made possible as people of different social and ethnic backgrounds marched together to demand justice and equality. Parallel to the organised protests against anti-Black racism, a different kind of movement is spreading across the U.S. and other parts of the world, and what that shares, in part, is the same stage; the street. After decades of domination by automobiles, the streets of American cities are increasingly being rediscovered and reconstructed as playful, social spaces – spaces of conviviality and spontaneous interactions among strangers. In San Francisco, the popularity of Park(ing) 1 See http://emergency.baltimorecity.gov/PublicInformation/PressReleases/tabid/3127/ articleType/ArticleView/articleId/3036/Mayor-Rawlings-Blake-Declares-State-ofEmergency-for-Baltimore.aspx. Accessed 1 July 2015. 2 See http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/. Accessed 30 June 2015.

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Day – the appropriation of street parking for temporary open space – led to the city’s Pavement to Park program, which facilitates the planning and building of ‘parklets’ on street right-of-ways throughout the city. In New York City, the Department of Transportation undertook the epic pedestrianisation of Times Square, using cheerful beach chairs and street painting. In Seattle, communitybased organisations have turned alleyways into neighbourhood social spaces. The city’s Public Space Program under the Department of Transportation has recently rolled out a program for ‘streetery’ – which allows restaurants and cafes to convert on-street parking spots for outdoor seating. Even in Los Angeles, the quintessential auto-oriented American city, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has adopted a Complete Streets policy, designed to make streets more accessible for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, motorists, and others. The juxtaposition and unfortunate contrast between the two movements speaks to the state of encounters in the United States today – a society brimming with changing social values but yet with sustained structural barriers and biases. While the meeting of strangers is celebrated and sought after as a convivial act, a large segment of our society continues to be profiled, criminalised, and discriminated against in neighbourhoods and public spaces. While it is important to note that conviviality and inclusiveness are certainly welcomed and desirable in cities and communities (in fact, I have participated in quite a few projects of this kind myself), it is also highly problematic and disingenuous if spaces of conviviality and inclusiveness are curtailed and segregated by class and race. The city cannot be a truly convivial place while some communities continue to be ghettoised (if not displaced), and while fear of the Other and of each other (both the police and the policed) continues to shape our everyday, liminal and visceral experiences. Encounters of differences and fear Fear of encountering the Other is one of the main themes that appears in this collection. In Schuermans’ account, fear of others is determined by long-held assumptions of race and social class that run deep in the consciousness and subconsciousness of Cape Town’s residents, decades after Apartheid was lifted. At the same time, Simon’s chapter examines a very different sort of fear – the institutionalised and State-sanctioned fear of terrorism and suspicious activities in the world of hyper-security and omni-surveillance after 9/11. Meanwhile, the fear evident in Wise’s case is of losing one’s longstanding identity and place when faced with an influx of new immigrant businesses, as perceived by old-timers in the neighbourhood. Fears of these kinds, both imagined and real, prevent and shape our encounters with strangers. Fears can be institutionalised as in the case of photographersecurity encounters. They can be deeply ingrained and reproduced by media and societal norms as in the case of Cape Town. Fears can lead to tensions and distrust

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as in the case of Ashfield. Yet cases such as Ashfield are not unique. In fact, they echo observations made by others in North America. For example, Talen (2006) and Krase (2002) observe that as immigrants leapfrog or move to the suburbs, so have the racial and ethnic lines that commonly divide the inner city. In the face of these sustained and newly emerged social and cultural barriers, how can fear of others be better understood and overcome? How can encounters with difference be facilitated and engendered in the face of today’s urban conditions? Cases from this volume offer a few ways forward. For example, to bridge the differences between immigrant shop owners and local residents in Ashfield, Amanda Wise demonstrates how a series of interventions that provided vehicles for intercultural encounters, can begin to facilitate mutual understanding and appreciation. Similarly, O’Kelly’s focus on an informal community in Vila Nova, Brazil, highlights how participatory art interventions can serve as a space for social encounters between actors of different backgrounds. Whilst he argues that, ‘Art practices produce situations in which otherness and forms of improvisation that would not otherwise be apparent are given legitimacy’ (this volume), this claim might be made of a range of creative attempts at intervening in the play and politics of urban encounters as seen in this collection. Finally, Farías’ case of the Asambleas Populares that emerged in Buenos Aires, reveals an instance in which causal, everyday encounters in urban space intertwine with ‘projects that are deliberately engineered to try and engender collaboration across social-cultural difference’ (this volume). Although the movement as a whole has withered since, these encounters and sustained relationships between social actors represent the substantive outcomes of the remaining assemblies. Bridging socio-cultural differences in this manner, has also been a focus of my own work and collaboration with others. In an article comparing community processes in Matsudo, Japan and Seattle, Isami Kinoshita and I examined the importance of informal social interactions that complement formal processes in navigating and overcoming social and cultural differences in communities, particularly between old-timers and newcomers (Hou and Kinoshita 2007). Furthermore, in my edited book Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (Hou 2013a), a cross-disciplinary group of contributors examine how places and placemaking serve as vehicles for cross-cultural encounters and how they engender mutual understanding. Like those covered in Encountering the City, these places included streetscapes, restaurants, stores, schools, libraries, housing complexes, community gardens, and other everyday spaces. The placemaking activities occurred through festivals, meals, concerts, and other everyday activities (see Chang and Foo 2013; Lin Roberts 2013; Zambonelli 2013), as well as organised workshops, meetings, and media projects (see Cahill 2013; Hou 2013b; Rishbeth 2013; Rios 2013). Echoing Ash Amin’s (2002) notions of ‘micro publics’ and ‘sites of banal transgression’ as well as Wise’s (2009) notion of ‘quotidian transversality’, I argue for the need to support everyday sites of interaction (Hou 2013a). More specifically, I suggest the need for creating safer spaces and times (not unlike many

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of the interventions into urban life that we encounter across this collection), in which cultural barriers (perceived or real) can be temporarily suspended, enabling boundaries to become porous between different cultural groups and practices. A key insight from Transcultural Cities is to highlight the importance of developing a medium for understanding across difference, and to appreciate the significant role of transcultural agents who can ‘negotiate different knowledge and value systems, engage in iterative, cross-cultural translation, and facilitate co-adaptation of culture and place’ (Hou 2013a, 12). Bringing such an insight into conversation with Encountering the City, we might note how transcultural agents of this form are active in a number of the cases examined here – most notably by Farías (this volume), Wise (this volume), and in a less progressive sense in Schuermans (this volume). The importance of such agents, and the interventions they help to shape, may be in turning conflicts into opportunities. Indeed, as Wilson and Darling point out in their introduction, a concern with urban encounters denotes both radical potential for transformation and radical contingency, as encounters are not inherently progressive or positive. Thus as I argued in Transcultural Cities, there is a political and methodological need to look to ‘instances where differences in cultural values and practices are illuminated, providing opportunities for transcultural learning and exchange’ (Hou 2013a, 13). As this collection illustrates, encounters may offer one entry point into such moments of exchange, but by no means the only one. Facilitating and turning encounters with difference into opportunities for community building and cross-cultural learning in this way, has already been a focus of several municipal programs around the world. Seattle’s P-Patch Community Gardening Program, for example, facilitates and partners with others to run market gardening, youth gardening, and community food-security programs with a focus on serving low-income, immigrant populations, and youth. In Vienna, Austria, the ‘Simply Multiple’ program brings resources and people of different backgrounds together through temporary sharing and uses of vacant spaces throughout the city, including both public and private properties. In Edmonton, Canada, the city’s Community Services Department has introduced an Abundant Communities Initiative that trains so-called ‘Block Connectors’ who put people together with others with whom they have something in common but no previous connections (Macdonald 2015). This popular program is being implemented in at least 12 neighborhoods in the city that represent widely different demographic, income and educational backgrounds (ibid.). In Taipei, after being criticised for discriminating against Muslim migrant workers who gather in large numbers at Taipei Station (a public space) during Ramadan, the Taiwan Railways authority organised volunteers and staff to help facilitate the event at the station in 2014 (Cheng 2014). Whilst these interventions have been notable yet inconsistent, faced with the challenges of everyday diversity, planning scholars and practitioners have suggested the need for new methods and knowledge in planning for, and with, difference. For instance, Sandercock (1998, 16) has long argued that planners need to develop

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‘a multicultural literacy more attuned to cultural diversity, and to redefine and reposition planning according to these new understandings’. Similarly, Qadeer (1997, 493) has also noted that ‘the scope and procedure of citizen involvement in the planning process … [has] to be modified to accommodate multicultural policies’ (see Burayidi 2000; Umemoto 2001). More recently, Francis (2011, 436) has proposed the concept of ‘mixed-life places’ as settings ‘that support a diversity of people, experiences, and meanings’. Unlike mixed-use projects that serve as ‘a veil or mask for other agendas such as land speculation and gentrification’ (Francis 2011, 435), mixed-life places exhibit the ingredients and qualities of public spaces ‘that are at once diverse, democratic, inclusive, and memorable’ (ibid., 433). Such progressive discussions within planning indicate the potential for a more holistic approach to urban design and planning that takes seriously the diversity of urban life (Burayidi 2000). However, there is still scope for such approaches to better learn from forms of prosaic intercultural contact and negotiation, with all their attendant successes and failures, even while acknowledging that urban life will always exceed even the most holistic models of planning. (En)countering the structure of oppression In her book Mongrel Cities, Leonie Sandercock (2003, 4) described cities and regions of the twenty-first century as ‘multiethnic, multiracial, multiple’. She further argued, however that ‘the multicultural city/region is perceived by many as more of a threat than opportunity. … It’s a complicated experiencing of fear of ‘the Other’ alongside fear of losing one’s job, fear of a whole way of life being eroded, fear of change itself’ (Sandercock 2003, 4). The cases gathered in this volume suggest many ways to bridge diverse differences and overcome fear, particularly at the neighbourhood and community level. As such, this book contributes significantly to a growing body of knowledge around the practice of navigating the barriers that overshadow contemporary encounters of difference. But, as Wilson and Darling suggest, there is more to be done. To consider such work, we must return to the case of Freddie Gray. As we set out to further interrogate contemporary encounters with difference, we must also take on the structures of social and economic oppression that dictate the norms of encounters in the most impoverished and disenfranchised sectors of our society. In our effort to engender lively encounters of the everyday, we must also confront the structures that produce deadly encounters that occur all too frequently. Such structures of oppression are not unique to the American context. They include not only racial discrimination and violence but also political oppression and the evictions and displacements that result from conflicts, urbanisation, redevelopment, privatisation, gentrification, austerity, and a growing list of neoliberal practices in cities and regions around the world (Sassen 2014). In urban centers from San Francisco to Shanghai, working communities have been

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bulldozed and/or displaced by forces of development and gentrification. Diverse communities have been reduced to homogenous cityscapes that further reduce diverse encounters. In major cities in Europe, immigrant and refugee communities continue to be socially, institutionally, and spatially marginalised, producing enclaves of disenfranchised communities. In Gaza and the West Bank, everyday experiences of communities are shaped by conflicts, occupation, and the policy of settlement. Addressing these challenges requires efforts far beyond promoting and facilitating lively encounters at the neighborhood and community level. It requires organised efforts and networks to counter and overturn the dominant structures of social, economic, and institutionalised oppression. It is through such efforts that the city can truly become a site for political transformation and a place for lively encounters of difference. The role that encounters themselves may play in producing and sustaining such networks of urban dissent and creative contestation is very much open to discussion. Encountering the City might thus be read as a starting point for thinking through the place of encounters within the politics of living with difference and transforming cities. References Amin, A. (2002), ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity’, Environment and Planning A 34(6), 959–980. Burayidi, M.A. (2000), ‘Tracking the planning profession: from monistic planning to holistic planning for a multicultural society’, in Burayidi, M.A. (ed.), Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society (Westport, CT: Praeger), 37–51. Cahill, C. (2013), ‘The road less traveled: transcultural community building’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 193–206. Chang, S.E., and Foo, Y. (2013), ‘Listening to transcultural voices, watching out for trans-Asian places: Kampung Kanthan in transition’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 104–117. Cheng, M-S. (2014), ‘Facing migrant festivals with an openness, kudos to Taiwan Rail’, Business Today 921. Accessed 30 June 2015, available at: http://www. businesstoday.com.tw/article-content-80392-109772. Davidson, A. (2015), ‘Freddie Gray’s death becomes a murder case’, New Yorker, May 1. Accessed 30 June 2015, available at: http://www.newyorker.com/news/ amy-davidson/freddie-grays-death-becomes-a-murder-case. Hou, J., and Kinoshita, I. (2007), ‘Bridging community differences through informal processes: reexamining participatory planning in Seattle and Matsudo’, Journal of Planning Education and Planning 26(3), 301–313. Hou, J. (ed.), (2013a), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge).

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Hou, J. (2013b), ‘Transcultural participation: designing with immigrant communities in Seattle’s International District’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 222–236. Krase, J. (2002), ‘Navigating ethnic vernacular landscapes then and now’, Journal and Architectural and Planning Research 19(4), 271–281. Lin Roberts, J. (2013), ‘The Sin Oh Dan Street Lion Dance Competition: a temporary space for cross-cultural understanding’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 62–74. Macdonald, A. (2015), ‘Making strangers into neighbors. Transforming Edmonton: stories about bringing our city vision to life’, Accessed 30 June 2015, available at: http://transformingedmonton.ca/making-strangers-into-neighbours/. Qadeer, M.A. (1997), ‘Pluralistic planning for multicultural cities: the Canadian practice’, Journal of the American Planning Association 63(4), 481–494. Rios, M. (2013), ‘From a neighborhood of strangers to a community of fate: the village at Market Creek Plaza’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: BorderCrossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 164–176. Rishbeth, C. (2013), ‘Everyday places that connect disparate homelands: remembering through the city’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: BorderCrossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 118–132. Sandercock, L. (1998), Making the Invisible Visible: A Multicultural Planning History (Berkeley: University of California Press). Sandercock, L. (2003), Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities in the 21st Century (London: Continuum). Sassen, S. (2014), Explusions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Simpson, I., and Strobel, W. (2015), ‘Thousands of police descend on Baltimore to enforce curfew after riots’, Reuters, April 28. Accessed 30 June 2015, available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/28/us-usa-police-baltimore-idUSK BN0NI1N720150428. Talen, E. (2006), ‘Design that enable diversity: the complications of a planning ideal’, Journal of Planning Literature 20(3), 233–249. Zambonelli, V. (2013), ‘Brazilian restaurants and the transcultural making of place in Tokyo, Japan’, in Hou, J. (ed.), Transcultural Cities: Border-Crossing and Placemaking (London and New York: Routledge), 34–46.

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Chapter 14

Encountering What Is (Not) There Colin McFarlane

This book provides not only a much needed conceptual reflection, from different theoretical standpoints, of what an encounter is, but a thoughtful interrogation of what encounter might offer to discussions of urban politics and the promotion of a stronger urban commons. In this latter sense, the book left me with a sense of qualified optimism. In a moment when much of what we hear about the prospects for a better urban future is pessimistic, and in which creative progressive projects are struggling to find ways forward, this is a very welcome chord to strike. This is not to say that the book strays away from the urban challenges of our time, whether in the form of reinvigorated neoliberal orderings, deep and growing social and spatial inequalities, or the apparent growth of a cynical politics of blame, prejudice and segregation, that are connected to economy, race, class, gender, and so on. We hear, for example in Schuermans chapter on Cape Town, about the ongoing structurings of race that not only reduces the propensity for encounters with difference in the South African city, but actively separates people through a logic of fear that (dis)connects bodies and cities in perverse ways. Or, to take a different but not unconnected example, we hear too about an urban world evermore patterned by suspicion and securitisation, as Simon narrates in the context of post 9/11 ‘security encounters’. The book left me with a qualified optimism because despite the large and small acts of oppression, exploitation and exclusion that are ubiquitous througout cities, there is an urban commons always pressing on and finding new connections. This resides in large part in the potential of encounters with difference. The collection achieves this qualified optimism by showing time and again that if we care about fostering an urban commons of diverse groups and individuals that share spaces and resources, then we need to deal with the city that is already there (Amin 2015; Magnusson 2011). Nowhere in the book is there the retreat to the comfort zone of ‘if only’ that we sometimes see in urban theory. For, if attention is focused on encounter as a relation of difference, then the ground for building a more progressive urbanism is always set against the messy multiplicity of agendas, power plays, and struggles that make up so much of the currents of urban life. This means recognising, as Wise puts it in relation to neighbourhood interventions, that encounters are always already ‘fully loaded’, freighted with all kinds of affective and emotive ties, memories, expectations and habits. These are shaped as much by personal experience as by national debates and city politics. It also means recognizing that translocal spaces of solidarity that connect different

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groups – as Mörtenböck and Mooshammer show in their study of street vendors, trade unions, activists and researchers – can only emerge in the context of often laborious negotiations around changing threats, legal complexities, economic fluctuations, and multiple demands. It means, as Mick O’Kelly shows in relation to informal settings in São Paulo, that using encounters to develop the political and social potential of urban art and to catalyse new imaginaries and knowledges, requires a grounding in forms of know-how and experience that are already there (McFarlane 2011; Darling 2009). As Tarmo Pikner shows, creating spaces of being together demands that we transgress the cacoons that so often limit the city of encounter and possibility. It demands a recognition that even where likeminded progressive urbanites come together in a shared political task, tensions around class and other social vectors will continue to shape the nature of social formations. As Farías demonstrates in Buenos Aires, these are often only worked through, if at all, with careful and gradual work over time. In dealing with the city that is already there, the book also confronts the changing nature of encounters and the expanding ways in which researchers understand them. Just as cities, the political, and the commons are always in flux, always changing with the processes that shape them and with the battles that are fought around them (Amin and Thrift 2013), so too is the nature of urban encounter. To understand the city of encounter and to carve out more progressive futures, we need a wider canvas than we’ve become accustomed to. As such, one key contribution of the book is to insist on the importance of the non-human, in a variety of forms, to both the nature and politics of urban encounter. For example, we are presented with a city that accommodates interspecies collaboration and conflict and which recognises the ways in which, as Hovorka shows, animals enter into the remaking of social and economic relations such as those around gender and livelihood. Swanton similarly warns of the risk of missing the multiplicity of urban encounters if we concern ourselves only with the human. Is the urban experience not more often, Swanton argues, composed of encounters with all sorts of other things – architecture, infrastructures, technologies, nonhuman bodies, ubiquitous advertising, sound, smell, atmospheres, memories, and so on? This is not to say that this more expansive urban world of encountering difference is universal in how it is produced and received. As de Witte emphasises in her study of the religious soundscapes of Accra, the ways in which different kinds of encounter resonate is anchored in part by cultural, political and historical contexts. And, as Wilson argues in relation to images of Havana, the ways in which the visual has often been used to promote a particular account of place may itself serve to both shape how encounters with the city are understood, and to identify particular kinds of encounter as, allegedly at least, central to the nature of that city. The challenge of understanding urban encounters – understanding both the city through encounters and the political potential of encounters – is then a challenge of listening to and addressing the city that is already there. Yet, it’s also important to say that another thread that runs through the book reminds us that encounters are also about what is not there. Here, the role of expectation, memory and previous

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experience, all enable, constrain and shape those encounters with difference that play an important role in the life and politics of cities. And here, in closing, let me briefly add a personal reflection on a recent encounter with something that wasn’t there, and which was all the more powerful precisely because if its absence. Growing up in Pollok, a council estate in south Glasgow, I had a vague awareness of the value and challenges of urban encounter. We lived on the third floor of a four-storey housing block, on a street of tenement flats that to my eyes seemed to stretch on forever, across the road from the school I attended and the church we went to. We played in the open grass in front of the flats, or in the school, and most of the shops we went to were just a short walk away. We chatted to friends and neighbours at the entrance to the building and looked on (often suspiciously I guess) at strangers who passed by, especially if they were around our age, wondering if they attended the rival school at the bottom of the hill. There were always people around and things going on, and while it was possible for people to opt out of the comings and goings of the estate, most people knew a little, if not a lot, about each other. Here, everyday life, in ways reminiscent of Jane Jacobs’ (1961) arguments, created a loose sense of community, sociality and safety, and we saw quite a broad range of life and ways of living in that small space. Encounters with difference would occasionally serve to disrupt that sense of space, but more often than not they served to reinforce it. However, in suggesting this, I would not want to romanticise Pollok, for it was also a poor and under-serviced neighbourhood, where people sometimes struggled to put proper food on the table, where there was alcoholism, conflict, a sometimes hostile atmosphere to difference, and occasionally violence. It is important to highlight that in growing up there you had to know how to negotiate daily life: to know when to be outside and when not to be, who to avoid and who to be seen with – everyday habits and calculations that could be the difference between finding yourself in a spot of trouble or avoiding it. A couple of years ago I went back to the old place, but when I got there I was greeted with a surprise. Our building was gone. The street had been demolished. I thought back to rumours of how the blocks had subsidence and the street might be knocked down, but all of those bricks and mortar and life had never realistically seemed temporary to me. But there in this encounter, not with the density of the street I had anticipated but with its other (emptiness), the brute fact was inescapable: instead of a four-storey block of flats, there was nothing. Or, not quite nothing: more of a gap, an absent presence, a space with a deep echo of a once lived cacophony of routine and event. I looked at the spot in the middle of the air where we once lived, in what would have been three floors up, dumbstruck by this empty rectangle where I once slept, opened Christmas presents, fought with my brother, did my homework. All that vibrant density – friends, homes, neighbours, areas where I played, memories that were so deeply ingrained – no longer had a territory. Encounters, as Wilson and Darling write in their Introduction, are about difference, and can be disruptive in different sorts of ways. They are not always

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with something or someone, but can – as was the case for me – be an encounter with absence. This was an encounter with an urban site and a new present that was also an encounter with the past. Here, the encounter with difference emerges not as a marker of social distinction but as a form of social urbanism now eviscerated – an encounter not just with something or someone different, but with a difference that is experienced as a rupture. In this context, space and time are far from fixed or linear. To understand this kind of encounter, we need a more topological conception of the urban experience that is attuned to both the city that is there, and the city that isn’t. And here too there is a politics: a politics of what the city as a space of encounter once was and might be, and about who gets to be part of that story. The encounter I describe here is a rather stark one, but as this book shows, encounters in the city are often formed in a play of multiple presences and absences, heres and theres, then and nows, presents and futures. And of course, such an encounter rarely leaves you. It stays with you, disturbing the memories of what that place once was, while provoking ways of thinking about how cities change and for whom. It is, like so many examples in this book, at once personal and political. Encounters are ‘events of relation that take place across multiple temporalities and durations, producing and folding-in different temporalities and rhythms’ (Wilson and Darling, this volume). Time and again in this volume the contributors push us to think of encounters as topologically complex, and as such they reveal not just the nature of encounter as a relation of difference but as an empirical and conceptual lens through which the city itself is revealed to us. This is the city that is always in the process of being made and unmade and always spatially and temporally relational. As such, it is the city that frequently disturbs and exceeds the certainties and imaginaries we often form about what it is and what we can anticipate from it. References Amin, A. (2015), ‘Animated space’, Public Culture 27(1), 239–258. Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2013), Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left (Durham: Duke University Press). Darling, J. (2010), ‘“Just being there” … ethics, experimentation and the cultivation of care’, in Anderson, B. and Harrison, P. (eds), Taking Place: Nonrepresentational Theories and Geography (Farnham: Ashgate), 241–260. Jacobs, J. (1961), The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House). McFarlane, C. (2011), Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell). Magnusson, W. (2011), Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City (London: Routledge).

Index

absence 5–6, 230–1 Accra 133–47 aesthetics 50–1, 203–17; politics of 204 affect 5, 7, 41, 79–84, 115, 119–20, 123, 136, 145, 147 affective relations 180, 189 Agamben, Giorgio 54 agency 7, 154, 157–66; animal 63–6, 73–4 Ahmed, Sara 4, 99–101, 106–7, 127, 194, 216 Allport, Gordon 4, 117, 169; see also contact hypothesis alternative economies 48 ambiguity 190–2, 212 Amin, Ash 2–4, 12, 27, 38–41, 79–80, 83, 91, 99–100, 116–17, 127, 223–4 animal geographies 63–6 animal towns 65, 67 anniversary culture 83–7, 91–3 anthropocentric bias 64 apartheid 97–9, 102–5; legacy of 101, 106–7 architecture 45–6, 52–3, 57, 157, 161, 210 Arizona 48, 189 art: living 88, 91–3; public 38–41 art installations 82–3, 93 art tactics 151–66 Ashfield, Sydney 27–38 Assambleas 169–83 assimilation 116 atmospheres 5, 82–3, 94, 118–19 atmospheric politics 81–2, 87, 94 automobility 105; see also taxis Back, Les 114, 127–8 Baltimore 221 Bangkok 45–51 becoming 10, 81, 153, 164–6, 194; political 7 being-together 79–80, 94

belonging 25–41, 66, 175, 195; cultural 50–1; lack of 32; local 32; sense of 25–6, 80 Benjamin, Walter 5, 119, 210; Arcades Project 210 Bennett, Jane 10, 208–11, 214; see also vital materialisms Black Lives Matter 221 Blanchot, Maurice 192–4 borders/boundaries 8, 67–70, 90–1, 100, 106, 136, 154, 195–7, 224; border-crossing 169–71 Boston 187, 191 Botswana 67–73 Bricologe 152–3, 161 Britishness 91–2, 123 Buena Vista Social Club 212–13 Buenos Aires 169–83 Cape Town 97–9, 101–7, 229 care 25, 41, 72, 206; gestures of 26–7; spaces of 41, 91 celebration of diversity 32 chickens 67–73 Chinatown 32–4, 39 churches: Charismatic-Pentecostal 134–46; Mega 137–9 circulatory city 193, 199 citizen: good 12; urban 11–12 citizenship 26, 32, 78, 141–2, 181 civility 3, 12, 25, 107 class 10, 36, 50–1, 58, 98, 103–7, 123, 169–83, 222 class privilege 181–2, 198 coexistence 26–7, 37, 81–3, 180 community 3, 25–41, 50, 158–60, 188–90, 222–6, 231; cohesion 27, 41; gardening 224 conflict 3, 10, 53, 115, 169, 224–6, 230–1; inter-religious 134–42, 147

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consumption 46–8 contact: policies 35; theory/hypothesis 4, 17, 117, 169 (see also Allport, Gordon); zones 84, 99, 107, 124–7 contingency 79, 152–4, 199, 204, 208, 210, 222; regulation of 192 conviviality 222; politics of 10 cosmopolitan turn 117 counter-terrorism 188 creative cities 49 crime 98–9, 101–7, 187; fear of 98, 101–7 criminalisation 103, 222 Critical Mass 85 Cuban Revolution 204–6 cultures of currentness 83–6, 91–3 Debord, Guy 6, 115–18 decay 203–7, 211–14 De Certeau, Michel 152–4, 157, 161 deities 135, 144–7 Deleuze, Gilles 152–61 desegregation 98, 106–7 desire 15, 118, 142, 152–3, 156–61, 208, 213–15 Detroit 144, 211–12 diaspora 123; Chinese 28 differentiation, processes of 100–1, 115–28, 189, 195 discomfort 4, 30–2, 99, 107, 123, 179 discrimination 124–6, 189–94, 225 displacement 30, 225 domestic life 121–4 drifting/dérive 114–15 embodiment 1, 14–15, 30–2, 40, 63, 99–100, 104, 115–18, 145, 208 emotional geographies 99 empathy 12, 182 empowerment 40, 68–74, 176 enchantment 207–13, 215–17 enclaves 4, 106, 156, 226 enclave urbanism 4, 107 encounters: aesthetic 208–12; conceptualisation of 9–12; contingency of 5, 79, 93, 199, 224; cross-class 98, 103–4, 106–7,

169–83; economic 53; embodied 99, 104, 115, 145; enchanted 215–16; etymology of 9–10; exoticised 209; face-to-face 15, 99–100; fearful 97–107; fleeting/ momentary 10–11, 126, 172, 187, 194–7; imaginary 14, 99, 104–7; interracial 97–107; interrogatory 189–90; interspecies 63–74; managed 170; meaningful 30–3, 105–7, 172; mediated 115, 127; more-than-human 114–16, 118–29; multicultural 41; ontology of 2; photographer-security 188–99; politics of 7–9, 94, 210, 216; religious 133–47; secular-sacred 147; spiritual 141–5; staged 3, 99–101, 106; strange 3, 99–101, 106; street 121–4, 221–2; suspicious 187–99; sustained 172, 182; transformative potential of 65, 229; violent 105, 139–42 ethnography 112–14, 121, 182, 187, 212; see also thick description European Capital of Culture 80, 88 everyday multiculturalism/multiculture 5, 26–7, 41, 128 exclusion 26, 31–4, 155, 195, 229; symbolic 32–4 experimentation 87 familiarity 16, 127, 209 fear 4, 14, 98–107, 118, 123, 171, 222–5; see also crime, fear of Ferguson 221 fiction 203–4 finance economies 45 Foam-city 81 food security 69–72, 224 food sharing 158, 176–7 fortified homes 98, 105–7 Foucault, Michel 193–7 Freedom Square, Tallinn 83–94 friendship 30–1, 48, 183, 231 futurity 6, 11, 190–1, 196 Gaborone 64–74 gated communities 98, 105

Index gender roles 72 gentrification 46–9, 173, 225–6 Glasgow 231 glocal identity 50–1 go-along interviews 121 Goffman, Erving 3, 31, 115–16 governmental rationality 54 grey spaces 53 Guattari, Felix 152–61 habit 27, 101, 117, 182, 208 Hall, Stuart 116 Haraway, Donna 64 Havana 203–17 heritage 32–3, 135–41, 146, 205, 210 High Street 25–35 Holy Spirit, the 141–7 Homeland Security 187–8, 191, 195 homeless/homelessness 173–8, 181–2 homeliness 115, 123 Homowo 135–9, 145–6 housing cooperative 173 human-animal relations 63–5 imaginative geographies 14, 105, 112, 123, 125–7, 212, 222 immateriality 6, 39, 120, 123–8, 146 improvisation 151–66 informal: economy 53–7, 151; urbanism 45–65, 151 informality 45–6, 52–8, 156–7; political economy of 57–9 insurgent spaces 6 integration projects 172 intellectual property rights 55 interventions 34–41; art 38–40, 151, 154, 164; neighbourhood 25, 176–7, 229; pedagogical 40; symbolic 27 intimacy 4, 87–93; intercultural 125; inter-ethnic 124–7 invisible cities 137, 145–6 Isin, Engin 7–8 isolation 30, 41, 81, 90–3 Jacobs, Jane 3, 26, 231 judgement 115, 187–90 juvenile detention centers 180–1

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Keighley 111–16, 118–28 language 28–30, 38, 118, 122, 143; barriers 30, 38 Law, John 120 learning 12, 72, 178–82, 208, 224 Lefebvre, Henri 3, 215 libraries 27, 154 livestock 63–7, 73 living together 41, 90–4, 82, 127 living with difference 1, 4, 12, 114–17, 120, 226 Los Angeles 222 markets/marketplaces 13, 30, 45–62, 116, 134; black markets 52–6; flea markets 47; hipster markets 46–9; night markets 49–51 Massey, Doreen 2, 26, 79, 116, 181 material cultures 121–4 materiality 2, 5–7, 91, 114–20, 209; materialist imagination 123, 128 media 27, 60, 102–3, 126, 138–9, 171, 187–8, 221–2 memorialisation 11, 80, 91–4, 213 memory 5, 11, 30, 204, 213–16, 230, 232; collective 83–5, 173, 213; sites of 36 Mexico City 55, 58 micro-publics 26–7, 116, 223–4 mingling 4, 36, 63–7, 73–4, 97 minor practices 152, 155, 157–60 modernity 3, 67, 138, 146, 210; secular modernity 3, 67, 138, 146, 210 monuments 6, 89, 83–5, 91–3, 216 moral panic 115, 123 moral peril 144 morals 5, 25, 31, 34, 216; breach of 31–2 more-than-human geographies 1, 7, 10, 15, 111–28, 146 more-than-representation 5–7, 136; see also non-representational geographies multiculturalism/multiculture 5, 36–41, 92, 114–29, 172, 225; sensuous 118–19; see also everyday multiculturalism

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nationalism 91–3, 138–42; paranoid 41; see also Britishness nationality 33 National Security Agency 196 negotiations 2–3, 46, 58, 116–17, 127, 133–6, 146–7, 154, 160–6, 170, 178, 196–8, 225 Neighbourhood Watch 101–3; momentary 187 New York Subway 192–3 nightscapes 144–5 9/11 191–4; post 9/11 laws and security practices 188, 191–2, 196–8, 222 noisemaking 134–40, 145–6 non-human 10, 39, 114, 123, 127, 230; animals 10, 63–74, 230 non-representational theory/geographies 2 North Korea 53–4 nostalgia 25–8, 30, 34–6, 123, 203, 212–16; white 28 Notorious Markets List 56 object 2011 87–93 occupation 7, 179–81 olfactory geographies 209 ordinary cities 212, 217 othering 212, 217 out-of-place 114–21, 127–8 palimpsest 6, 204 parallel lives 117, 126–8 Passeggiata 50 personal space 100–1, 104–7 photo-walks 208 Pile, Steve 6 place: attachment 27–8, 41; identity 25–7, 34–6, 39–40; making 35, 40, 145, 223 plaza 36, 205–6 police/policing 139–40, 187–94, 221–2; brutality 221 policy mobility 9 polis 81–3 political resistance 58, 160–4 post-secular 135 poverty 67–9, 98, 104–7, 141–2, 175–81, 211, 215

prejudice 4, 10, 103, 106–7, 116–17, 170, 182 pride 58 private space 90–1, 156 privilege 102–7, 178–82 protest 85, 144, 170, 221 psychogeography 6, 114–21, 126–8 public privacy 90–1 public(s): counter- 58–9; transnational 59–60 public space 3–4, 27, 33, 38–43, 80–94, 99, 106, 136–9, 164, 171–2, 178, 187–99, 222, 225; access to 194–9 public transport 5, 97, 105, 222; see also New York Subway quotidian transversality 223 race 25, 41, 97–107, 115, 118–28; criminalisation of 103–7 racial categorisations/profiling 99–103, 189 racialisation 106–7, 101–3, 114, 118, 120–7, 194–5 racialised histories 40 racism/racist 25–7, 30–5, 41, 100–4, 123–5, 221, 225–6; anti-Black racism 221–2; see also Black Lives Matter; violence, racist reciprocity 27, 31, 34, 161 recognition 3, 31, 34, 40, 50, 99–102, 127, 177, 192 religion 59, 123, 133–47; charismatic pentecostalism 134–47; ga traditional 140–7, 134–5 resistance, acts of 164–6 retirement home 38 rhythms 6, 11, 14, 82–3, 90–4, 134, 142, 212–14, 232 right to the city 7, 135 Rot Fai Market 49–51 Roy, Ananya 57 ruins 203–17 rules of conduct 3, 31 rumour 11, 14, 103, 107, 123, 231 ruptures 9, 16, 87, 91, 155, 208, 215–16, 232

Index sacred space 136–7, 141–7 Sandercock, Leonie 225 San Francisco 221–2 São Paulo 137, 156–7 Seattle 222–6 secularism 135, 146–7; see also post-secular security/securitization 1, 4, 98, 101–7, 229, 222; preemptive 187–99 segregation 25, 97–9, 106–7, 116–17, 126–8, 194, 222, 229; see also desegregation; gated communities; parallel lives self-organisation 53–8, 153 Sennett, Richard 4 sensous experience 7, 208–9 Simmel, Georg 3, 5 simultaneity 83–4, 87 Sinclair, Iain 119 Situationists/Situationist International 6–7, 114–19 Sloterdjik, Peter 79–94 social constructionism 118 social movements 7, 169–70 socio-natures 64–5 solidarity 25, 38, 57, 89–91, 229 sonic geographies 133–4, 209, 214 soundscape 120, 133–47 soup kitchen 173–8, 181 South Africa 97–9, 101–7 Soviet era 47, 84–5 space, production of 54 Spähren 81–3 special 301; report 55–7 stereotypes 11, 98, 101–3, 106–7, 170, 182 Stevens, Quentin 6 Stewart, Kathleen 84, 119, 128 stories 107, 112–15, 121–7; personal 35 strangers 3–4, 26–7, 90–3, 99–107, 116–19, 141–4, 147, 222 StreetNet International 59 streetscape 28–35, 223 street vending 44, 59 structures of feeling 114–15, 118–21, 128 super-diversity 27–8

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surrealism 119 surveillance 56, 196, 222 suspicion 4, 101–3, 106–7, 123–7, 187–99; racialised suspicion 98, 101–3, 126 Sydney 25–44 tactics 151–66; see also de Certeau, Michel Taipei 224 Tallinn 79–94 taxis 124–7, 138 temporality/temporalities 6, 9–11, 80–94, 182, 203, 209–10, 216, 232 terrain 79–81, 92–3 terrorism/terrorists 101, 116, 187–99, 222; see also 9/11; war on terror thick description 119–20 Thrift, Nigel 2–4, 79–80, 83–4, 87 throwntogetherness 2–3, 116–18 time 213–17 Times Square 198, 222 time-work 6 Torre David Office Tower 52 touch, politics of 7, 99–101, 104–7 Trafalgar Square 91–3 transcendental 135–7 transspecies urban theory 64–5, 73–4 uncanny 208, 211, 215 Urban Commons 25–7, 40–1, 229–30 urban design 4, 11, 38–40, 87, 225 urban food systems 66 urban imaginaries 87, 128 urbanisation 45, 196, 225 urban planning 156–7, 160, 224–5 urban play 6 urban transitions 84, 203–6, 212 Valentine, Gill 1, 4, 27, 98, 117, 169 Venezuela 52 Vienna 224 Vila Nova 153–66 violence 104–7, 112, 127, 134–42, 231; racist 125–6, 225; sexual 104–6, 126

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vision, politics of 99, 101–5 vital materialisms 10 vulnerability 67, 100–7; white 102

whiteness/white identity 26–41, 97–8, 102–7, 125 Williams, Raymond 115 Wolch, Jennifer 63–5

war on photography 187–8 war on terror 189–95; see also 9/11 Welcome Shops 27–32

Young, Iris Marion 3, 26 Zoopolis 65