Seeing Like a City

#CfP for "Seeing Like a City / Seeing the City Through", the RN37 V Midterm #Conference at the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research @GSZ_HU @Humboldt_Uni 05.-07.10.2022; deadline 06.05.2022 #anthropological #panels



Seeing Like a City / Seeing the City Through

Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Urban citizenship implies a fragmentation of claims that affects rights to the city as universal, all‐inclusive ideals: we see a trend towards a diversification of interests, a weakening and separation of movements, and competition about resources rather than more solidarities within groups working as collectives on the pathway to a livable and more just city. Such urban citizenship is always in conversation with modes of governance, which vary greatly among Europe. Different modes of governance always require categorizations on various scales. Starting from the central argument of James Scott Seeing Like a State (1999) that any government means categorization, and any categorization fails to acknowledge the metis of locally embedded practices, knowledges, and ways of seeing and doing things, especially on and from the urban margins, this conference seeks to sociologically address this tension. The ‘City’ as a set of local state institutions imagines, regulates, categorizes, classifies, and intervenes in the urban and shapes citizenship and belonging. Second, however, the city cannot be made nor planned and will always be, as AbdouMaliq Simone formulated in For the City Yet to Come (2004), in the making through practices and logics outside of the view of the state which defy standards and categories. Everyday tactics see people through in their daily lives and see through the city: finding new ways to get things done under constantly changing urban conditions. Yet city politics must draw boundaries and categorize, as any political decision implies a categorization. How can ‘seeing like a City’ and ‘seeing the City through’ be brought together in new ways, given the current transformations of our cities? This frames the program of the fifth RN37-ESA Midterm-Conference in Berlin, hosted by the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research at Humboldt University Berlin, in collaboration with the Sektion Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie of the German Society of Sociology (DGS) and various Berlin-based urban scholars.

Please note three panels by the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, HU Berlin:

5. Beyond the public/civic divide? How PCPs transform urban actors
18. Seeing the City through multispecies perspectives: Mobilizing nature to the city and the city to beyond
20. Seeing like a Smart City-Maker: Reimagining Cities through Instruments and Practices

Call for paper abstract submissions
Abstract proposals should be submitted by May 6, 2022 through the following link:

Please note that:

  • A full copy of the paper is not requested (neither before nor after the conference).
  • Abstracts sent by e-mail cannot be accepted.
  • Abstracts should not exceed 250 words and must be submitted in English
  • Authors will be asked to select just one session to submit their abstract.
  • Each person may submit only one abstract for the conference as first author, regardless of the session. In case of multiple submissions, only the abstract submitted first will be considered for review.
  • Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the panel chairs.
  • Accepted authors/co-authors have to register as participants if they want to present their paper at the conference and appear in the Book of Abstracts.
  • ESA membership is not mandatory, but members benefit from reduced conference fees!
  • Most panels will follow a traditional format based on an open call for abstracts and equal time for each presentation (expectedly 15-20 minutes, in time slots of 90 minutes). Nonetheless, some sessions will be based on other formats (see the description of each panel).
  • You can contact the panel chair(s) for further info or the conference organising committee (rn37.esa(at)

Important deadlines
March 18, 2022: Opening of the Call for Submission of Individual Abstracts.
May 6, 2022: Closure of the Call for Individual Abstracts.
June 6, 2022: Notification to Abstract authors.
June 6-July 4, 2022: Early-bird rate registration for individual participants and registration for panel chairs.
July 5-July 20, 2022: Full Rate registration for individual participants.
October 5-7, 2022: Midterm Conference of the ESA RN37- Urban Sociology.


Nähere Informationen

rn37.esa[ at ]