More people than ever are living in cities, but many cities are shrinking rather than growing. Between global megalopolises lie provincial cities and empty villages abandoned by capital, people, and the state. These are places where the city does not reach, where few people go, and where monsters reside.
On the basis of empirical research on the emptying of Latvian “settlements of the urban type” and the filling up of English provincial towns, the lecture will examine life beyond the global city. What is it like to live amidst empty houses, and how are such lives to be governed? Why is immigration more controversial in provincial towns than in global cities? It is from the perspective of such places that the city emerges as a particular – and increasingly inaccessible – configuration of infrastructure, services, sociality, and values.
Dace Dzenovska is an Associate Professor of Anthropology of Migration at the University of Oxford. She is the author of two books:Departure and Emptiness in the Latvian Countryside andSchool of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia. Dzenovska left Latvia on the cusp of the fall of the Soviet Union to pursue an academic career in the United States. Her academic trajectory – from Latvia to the United States, back to Latvia, and finally to the UK – mirrors her research interests in political liberalism, migration, and life in left-behind places.
The lecture will take place within the framework of the international conference Urban Inequalities vs. Urban Inclusion: Migration, Identity and Public Space organized by the Higher School of Economics Institute for Social Policy and Strelka KB, a center for urban anthropology, and Oxfam.
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