Monday, July 9, 2018

Plenary Presentation, ITAM 2018, University of Liverpool, 5 July 2018

Presentation: The Production of Location: Imagineering Atmospheres
PPT on SlideShare HERE
The eighth ITAM conference aim is to continue the network’s exploration of new ideas and debates sprung from the intersection between tourism industries and practices and those that broadly relate to the fields of media and communication. In this vein, the conference will aim to provide a forum where, taking their lead from Rodanthi Tzanelli’s concept of ‘global sign industries’ (2007) interdisciplinary research conversations gather pace around what are increasingly convergent fields of study and practice. While trends in scholarship on tourism and media are often reflective of discreet disciplinary dispositions, particularly those linked to perspectives in marketing and business, the necessarily open and ‘undisciplined’ terrain that defines the critical landscapes of the relationship between various forms of media and tourism today demands a similarly open and undisciplined approach to keep pace with what is an ever-shifting and multi-stranded field of study.
The overarching theme of this conference is the production of location and we invite contributions that critically addresses questions of cultural brokerage in media tourism whilst continuing to warmly welcome submissions from the inter- and cross-disciplinary traffic that informs the research on media and tourism and addresses a range of topics pertinent to both areas.  
Rodanthi's presentation connects to her forthcoming monograph:
Cinematic Tourist Mobilities and the Plight of Development: On Atmospheres, Affects and Environments
It is said that movies have encroached upon social realities, creating tourism enclaves based on distortions of history and heritage, or simulations that disregard both. What localities and nation-states value is discarded, suppressed or modified beyond recognition in these neoliberal markets, flattening out human experience, destroying natural habitats in the name of development, and putting the future of whole ecosystems at risk. Without discarding such developmental risks, Tzanelli stresses that en route to any beneficial or eco-destructive development, film tourist industries co-produce atmospheres of place and culture with tourist/film fans, local activists and nation-states. This perspectival shift from vague takes on neoliberal expansion/destruction to relational production of popular culture, heritage and identity first occurs in non-representational regimes of affect and emotion. Indeed, the affective potential of post-industrial atmospheres of cinematically-inspired tourism informs both creative labour in tourism and locally-driven cultures of protest against overtourism and environmental destruction. As a result, the allegedly unilateral industry-driven ‘design’ of location stands at a crossroads between political structures, systems of capitalist development and resurgent localised agency. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

No more patching up: Russia’s anaestheticization and the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Russia: a sinking diplomatic ship? 

At first, my commentary may not seem to be relevant to the following FIFA World Cup’s problems, but I can assure you that its premises are. I grew up in a world of seamstresses, who always complained about the quality of modern fabrics: you cannot create a dress from a piece of cloth that will surely come apart at the first sign of a stretch, can you? What’s more, why should you try to make anything beautiful in the first place if it is set out to actually fail by its nature? Such routine whinging has its toll in a crafty universe: in addition to skill, the pursuit of ideal, durable items requires persistence and optimism, regardless of whether you make them for your loved ones or a client. Every time I read about Russian mega-event development, the image of a badly damaged fabric, full of patching and quilting comes to mind, and with this an atmosphere of pessimism and blaming others follows my thinking. Undoubtedly, producing durable social clothing of this calibre for a vast country is a complicated business an outsider cannot always grasp, so validating reports about domestic complaints and misdemeanours is preferred. For example, it is easy to resort to generic claims that Russian citizens are happy to turn a blind eye to the numerous controversies in which Father Putin’s homeland is currently involved, specifically in sports and generally in politics, but this may be wrong. Personally, I refuse to view the country’s people en masse as adiáforoi, indifferent in their social mores, when I am aware of the multiple ways the state silences them. I do not have to look very far now to explain why, when a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in plain daylight, at the heart of the UK.

According to Bauman, adiaphorization is when in both systems and processes become split off from any consideration of morality and the society in which this happens adopts a style of social indifference, which is imbued by the spirit of these adjustments (people become indifferent to what is going on around them). Such indifference is a spin-off of dehumanisation that the system itself promotes. In surveillance, this may refer to the way data doubles are created, which results in processing, categorization, and social sorting. Indeed, ‘the piecemail data double tends to be trusted more than the person, who prefers to tell their own tale’ (Bauman and Lyon 2013: 8). This is a powerful thesis, which can be mobilised in observations on the ways the Russian state functions in its attempts to curb any type of civic disobedience or deviation from the norm: difference and transgression of social and cultural, or phenotypical and sexual ‘types’ are sorted and categorised as abject or problematic, so that they are eliminated with the use of physical or symbolic violence. However, I would argue that the true damage inflicted upon society is not the loss of moral compass as such – morality is a very malleable category in the first place, so, unless we are universal moralists, we should take with a pinch of salt any attempts to fix moral coding, which can vary across human cultures.

Without dismissing the issue of morality, I want to reposition the problem of loss, so as to consider the socially agreed upon aesthetic disposition a society has towards the world, which allows it to create and maintain its place in it without affecting or damaging that of others. Aesthetic dispositions include (relationally formed and thus constantly adjusted) moral rules, but are not confined to them. Generally, aesthetic dispositions organise the ways we perceive reality and act upon what we perceive as real, ugly, unfair or unjust. For this reason only, I proffer an alternative term to that of Bauman’s, anaesthetisization, to encapsulate the ways a collectively agreed function of reality-sorting at large is erased from a society's activities, thus triggering processes of political and cultural disintegration that interested external observers or insiders inhabiting the border are in a better position to detect. Simply put, by focusing on the phenomenon of anaesthetisization, instead of adiaphorization, we are allowed to map the ways, including causal trajectories, by which a society comes apart at its seams, because it has lost its ‘aesthetic glue’.

Back to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as external observers, we can detect a series of symptoms of anaestheticisization, which have been registered in the form of domestic and international controversies: two conspicuous ones involve discussions about racism in Russian football and the discrimination against LGBT people in wider Russian society, which resulted in the voting of an internationally contested anti-LGBT law in the context of Russia’s selection for the World Cup. Another includes Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has prompted calls for the tournament to be moved, particularly following the annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine. A third symptom points to our very own Skripal poisoning case with a gas agent, which has been allegedly connected to Russian ‘initiatives’ on foreign soil. Of these issues, the question of racism in Russian sport and the notorious 2015 allegations and criminal investigations of corruption, including a Swiss inquiry into the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup, were directly linked to Russia’s selection for the World Cup as a venue. However, I list all these ‘controversies’ under the loss (an) of aesthetics, because they all point to Russia’s official withdrawal of aesthetic conduct: first, the presence of racism in fan rituals, often led by Nazi organisations, and racial abuse of black football players, removes the principle of cultural inclusion from Russian aesthetics (one may argue that its replaces it with another aesthetics, but here I want to focus on differences between claims and realities). The institutionalization of LGBT hatred functions along the same lines – indeed, secondly, such sexual anaestheticization matches the display of rampant state militarism in the case of intervention in Eastern Ukraine. Finally, the cases of the denied Skripal poisoning and sports corruption, point to the withdrawal of the aesthetics of transparency, honesty and collaboration, which are supposed to define both domestic justice and international peace-keeping.

In my latest book (Tzanelli 2017), I note that often critical responses to the state of domestic affairs in hosting mega-event countries comes not from the strongholds of surveillance and domestic policing (what I call the ‘economy of the artifice’), but the symbolic and terrestrial sites temporarily inhabited by the mega-event’s ‘aesthetic imagineers’, who work on creating long-lasting legacies for their host cities and countries. This ‘economy of the imagination’ is highly performative and excels at producing architectural stories for the host, but can also be critical of its conduct in the world, especially when its members are not just artists and architects, but also resurgent policy makers living and working between art-worlds and political-cultural worlds. Such aesthetic imagineers can be foreign professionals, who insert themselves into ceremonial formations, including artistic and sports protocols, but they are often native professionals, who have spent time abroad and become accustomed to moving across and between different cultural-aesthetic domains in the world. The suggestion I put forward was not that ‘economies of imagination’ merely enable international mobilities of finance and labour, but that they produce cosmopolitan standards based on peace, fair exchange of ideas and justice, from which hosts and guests can benefit. It seems to me that Russia is in desperate need of such seamstresses at the moment, who can select the right fabric for its ailing society. Most of us would agree that yet another patch to its Cinderella-like garment will neither attract favourable international attention, nor induce feelings of solidarity at home.


Bauman, Z. & Lyon, D. (2013). Liquid surveillance. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Tzanelli, R. (2017) Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination: Creating Atmospheres for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Abingdon: Routledge.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Brexit and the need for a new urban eco-aesthetics in the UK

Recently, while I was reading Perdita Phillips’ (2015) musings over the unresolved relationship between sustainability and eco-aesthetics, I began to consider the implications of the UK’s exclusion from the European Capital of Culture – a competition that bears for the victorious bidder the promise of economic development, cultural prestige and global networking. European cultural bids have increasingly been connected to notions of urban resilience, ecological responsibility and cultural sustainability, so her work is not to be dismissed by interdisciplinary researchers. Phillips’ (2015: 55-56) starting point is not different from that of most scholars exploring the vocabulary of sustainability: the term’s three pillars of economic, social and environmental well-being can be represented unequally in policy-making decisions. This is so, because actions that are named ‘sustainable’ are not scrutinised for their efficacy in terms of degree or quality. Finally, despite the promise to distribute benefits across different spheres (natural and/or cultural), economics provides the master narrative of development shadowing them.

Phillips is, of course, specifically interested in the development of sustainable artistic practice, which would comprise a small part of the European Capital of Culture venture. However, her work provides valuable insight into the aesthetic basis of any such venture as a more-than-economic or anthropocentric system of growth, which has to constantly adapt to the flows of life. Vitalism as the philosophy of connectivity between humans and non-humans runs through her thesis – a point worth bearing in mind, regardless of my focus on human action in this reflective piece. Our perspective in everyday life, Phillips suggests, has to be adaptive, fluid and flexible according to appropriate spatiotemporal scale. This means that the (our) development of resilience in crises of any kind invites experimenting, embracing interrelatedness and making connections, hence treating dark presents and futures as challenges to supersede, not attraction points to reproduce or ends in themselves. She terms the latter a particular form of ‘zombie environmentalism’ revelling in the apocalyptic without future, an attitude that decouples us from ethical action and endorses discourses of post-sustainability. If these observations invite connections to contemporary politics in the ‘developed world’, it is because the connections are already there and active.

Phillips’ reflections render themselves immediately applicable to an urban eco-aesthetics in the UK in the context of a yet-to-be-completed Brexit deal. By ‘aesthetics’ I do not refer to fixed notions of beauty and justice (the ancient Greek or Kantian aesthetics), but an interaction through which one gives oneself up as a viewer so that the interlocutor may live. The prefix ‘eco’ suggests that the aesthetics of communication with others, in which beauty comes to life, has to be placed within an ecological framework, a symbolic space in which we feel ‘at home’ (eco from oikos or house/home) and we can also be hospitable to others. Simply put, an urban eco-aesthetics opens up the space of interaction to those who would not normally be involved in the production of the city as a living space. This does not merely involve its disenfranchised residents, but also those living in other urban enclaves and cities, as well as the cities’ material properties, which the neoliberal logic of competition cast as ‘enemies’. In this new logic of generosity, human beings, material structures and inanimate things have rights to an active urban space (see also Fraser 2005). Unfortunately, it is precisely this conceptualisation of ‘the right to the city’ that comes under threat by contemporary political re-alignments, which were wrought upon us by irresponsible actions and a xenophobic turn inwards and away from others. Simply put again, Brexit chauvinism and the project of neoliberal urban development (part and parcel of the European Capital of Culture ‘contract’, no doubt) mirror each other, when it comes to the practice (the ‘how’) of (dis)connecting with others.

 Think of the EU as a complex system comprising bureaucratic, economic and cultural components, and then view the UK as one of its twenty-odd sub-systemic strands en route to haphazard autonomy: what the latter strives to achieve is a sustainable re-arrangement of itself, while also adjusting its European and global liaisons. Think of UK cities as even smaller subs-systems within the UK, striving to adapt their relationships with other cities within and without the UK. So far, most economic and cultural prognostications suggest that UK cities will be hit rather hard by the country’s secession from the European Union. The European Commission’s confirmation that a British city cannot hold the lucrative title of European Cultural Capital post-Brexit offers a glimpse into these dark prospects. Taking the city in which I live as an example, I can see the applicability of this pessimism: its exclusion from the title in 2023 sparked anger amongst local politicians and residents, who suspected that cities like Leeds are being used as a “Brexit bargaining chip” in a wider political game. The assumption is far from irrational, given the arrogant announcement of the referendum’s result in media circuits and the present UK government’s erratic bargaining over a soft Brexit. However, my focus is on the development of a new urban eco-aesthetics of connectivity, rather than the hard politics of British ‘Euro-secessionism’.

Such an eco-aesthetics has to attack the root of the problem, which is to be found in the neoliberal style of networking that all cities have to follow, if they are to be successful on the global urban hierarchy of power. Consider Evans and Sewell’s (2014: 37-38) analysis of the ‘neoliberal imaginary’s’ proclivity to ‘extol entrepreneurship, self-reliance, and sturdy individualism; equate untrammelled pursuit of self-interest and consumer satisfaction with human freedom; glorify personal wealth…and associate government programs with inefficiency, corruption and incompetence’ as a behavioural business template for urban policy at large. Now that European connectivities are under threat, this imaginary of growth fosters more isolationism within the country, leaving each of the aspiring UK 2023 bidders, as well as the rest, more exposed to austerity crises. So, perhaps a new urban eco-aesthetics is not to ‘press ahead’ with the scheduled festivities, as groups of artists and policy-makers have suggested in Leeds, but to ‘give up’ the city’s perspective of individualist self-growth in favour of trans-urban connectivity within the UK. This logic of generosity, which is based both on reason (solidarity nurtures social, cultural and economic well-being) and emotion (an anti-regionalist attitude rejecting Brexit jingoism and European spite towards Britain at the same time) seems to be a more sustainable way ahead. A trans-urban fusion of horizons in the UK, with pragmatic connections in local events across cities in the arts and culture, promises both individual urban growth and collective lifting out of the traps of isolation.


Evans, P.B. and Sewell, W.H. Jr. (2014). The neoliberal era: ideology, policy and social effects. In P. Hall and M. Lamont (Eds.), Social Resilience in the Neoliberal Era (pp. 35-68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fraser, M., Kember, S. and Lury, C. (2005). Inventive life: Approaches to the new vitalism. Theory, Culture & Society, 22(1), 1-14.

Phillips, P. (2015). Artistic practices and ecoaesthetics in post-sustainable worlds. In C. Crouch, N. Kaye and J. Crouch (Eds.), An Introduction to Sustainability and Aesthetics: The Arts and Design for the Environment (pp. 55-68). Florida: Brown Walker Press.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Football mobilities: Between the Scylla of ethno-racism and the Charybdis of neoliberalism

Football rituals are embedded in contemporary Gesellshaft structures (a-la Tőnnies), constantly updating the mechanisms with which societies change from within and without. Football is the maiden of globalisation: it instigates multiple mobilities of ideas, humans, emotions and technologies. This becomes even more evident when we look closer at the ways individuals and whole imagined communities use the sport to negotiate their place in globalised ethno-racist contexts.

It was football the ensured black migrants’ upward social mobility in postcolonial contexts such as those of Brazil, where originally black workers were seen as less human than white populations (hence not suitable to become professional players). Notably, their professional entry into the sport was equated with an entry into civilised Western modernity, thus bringing together questions of global class and racial hierarchies. Today famous players such as Pelé embody the Brazilian nation’s participation in Western and European mobilities, now supported by global corporations and international organisations. At the same time, such football ‘tokens’ of civility fuel nationalist clashes to promote individual nations in regional contexts – take for example how conflicts between Argentinian and Brazilian fans during matches are filtered through the worship of national players (Pelé  vs. Maradona – Carmo, July 7, 2014). 
If historically football is an aspect of soft colonialism (the English invented and imported the sport in the ‘developed’ world), its contemporary role in world societies as an arbitrator of (in)justice is far more ambivalent. As a technology of the body, it ‘flags’ the player’s (and his nation’s) ethno-phenotypical fixities, but as a technology represented, interpellated or simply mediated by other technologies (TV and internet industries), it places players and their nations on a global neoliberal map. And there is more: in more recent decades, players such as Pelé, used the power of neoliberal mobilities to also turn themselves into independent brands, thus allegedly escaping harmful ethno-racial stereotyping (as cosmopolitan professionals).[1] It seems that at least for black football players, the sport offers an either-or interpellation of agency: ethno-racialized or neoliberal.

Such interpellations have serious consequences in ritualist terms, both liberating and fettering. Take for example the loud disapproval of Colin Kaepernick’s ‘taking to one knee’ during the national anthem when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, in protest of police brutality against black Americans. Likewise, at the day’s first football game at Wembley Stadium this year, twenty-seven players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens dropped down and took a knee on the field to the sounds of the anthem (St. Félix, September 24, 2017). This ritualised performance, which both negates and worships the ‘nation’, transfixes audiences and fans: as a transgressive act in front of the camera, it asserts the players’ individualistic identity vis-à-vis that of a national collectivity. Note the tweet by Trump (ironically, a proponent of neoliberal risqué individualism) about the ‘son of a bitch’ N.F.L. players who ‘disrespect’ the ‘Flag (or Country)’ (ibid.) with their bizarre genuflection. 

This reaction missed the point: ‘there did not appear to be any white players taking a knee’ (Ingle, September 24, 2017). Hence, such defiance could also be read as a sign of deep respect to the ‘nation’, despite its historical and contemporary contributions to racial inequality – a need to both be a cosmopolitan individual and belong. It is as if, on and off the field, football’s ritualist ambivalence bears the mark of black strangerhood (a-la Simmel): never accepted entirely as part of the imagined community, it allows the player to move across semantic fields as a stranger or citizen, who, during the process is often appropriated by global audio-visual markets and turned into a mobility token.

Carmo, M. (July 7, 2014) Canção de “Maradona maior que Pelé” foi “ensinada” a argentinos um dia antes da estreia na Copa, BBC Brasil. Available at
Ingle, S. (September 24, 2017). Donald Trump defied at Wembley as Jaguars and Ravens kneel for anthem. The Guardian. Available at
St. Félix, Doreen (September 24, 2017). What Will Taking the Knee Mean Now? The New Yorker. Available at
Tzanelli, R. (2013). Olympic Ceremonialism and the Performance of National Character: From London 2012 to Rio 2012. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

[1] ‘Pelé is known in print-capitalist circuits through his best-selling autobiographies, his starring in several successful documentary and semi-documentary films, and his composition of numerous musical pieces, including the soundtrack for the film Pelé (1977). In 2009 he cooperated with Ubisoft on arcade football game Academy of Champions: Soccer for the Wii in which he voiced-over the coach (Scullion, 2 June 2009). His sign value in global industrial systems makes him both a national and a transnational good – a new cosmopolitan subject’ (Tzanelli, 2013: 116).

Monday, November 6, 2017

From necrotopias to thalasso(to)pias: designing spatial (dis)continuities in Calatrava’s Museum of Tomorrow

Conference Presentation

2-5 Nov 2017, Lancaster

From necrotopias to thalassopias: designing spatial (dis)continuities in Calatrava’s Museum of Tomorrow


The Museum of Tomorrow is a neo-futurist architectural creation and an educational-touristic landmark erected in an abandoned and crime-infested port (Porto Maravilha) of Rio de Janeiro before Rio 2016. Situated in a heritage site that brings together the city’s past and future legacies, it was intended as a problematisation of humanity’s survival in the context of climate change and unrestrained capitalist development. Its principal conception by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and completion with audio-visual installations by an international artistic contingent, including American artists and Brazilian filmmaker and ceremonial director Fernando Meirelles, showcase the complexities of global imaginaries of mobility.

As a multi-scalar initiative featuring local, state and international partners, the Museum showcases the ways concerns over ecosystemic erosion are addressed in performative/artistic ways. I argue that its artistic/architectural creators call into being a dual utopic method: as an artistic practice and a form of recreation of life from death. First, I speculate how, by enrooting the Museum in Rio’s built maritime environment, local heritage conservation and spatialized social inequalities, they enact a ‘choreotopographic tour’, a ritualistic journey through cultural sites for global visitors. Second, I examine how its installations produce dark travel through the mobilisation of technology: a haphazard esoteric audio-visual journey that concludes with a potential return to humanity’s roots, Nature. Combining embodied (walking around the Museum’s heritage environs) and cognitive mobilities (speculating humanity/earth’s end and potential ‘beginnings’ in the Museum’s interior, through its audio-visual installations/artefacts), the Museum produces utopian meta-movement. With industrial modernism as its core, this meta-movement compels visitors to oscillate physically, emotionally and cognitively between necrotopic scenarios (environmental erosion, slum pollution, Brazil’s submerged slave heritage) and thalasso(to)pic[1] fluidity (tourism, the possibility to attain good life, hope).

[1] From Greek thalassa=sea and topos=place rooted in heritage.

Monday, October 9, 2017

New Monograph: Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination

Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination
Creating Atmospheres for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020
© 2018 – Routledge

Atmosphere, the elusive ambiance of a place, enables or hinders its mobility in global consumption contexts. Atmosphere connects to social imaginaries, utopian representational frames producing the culture of a city or country. But who resolves atmospheric contradictions in a place’s social and cultural rhythms, when the eyes of the world are turned on it?
Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination examines ephemeral and solidified atmospheres in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the handover ceremony to Tokyo for the 2020 Games. Indeed, highlighting the various social and cultural implications upon these Olympic Games hosts, Tzanelli argues that the ‘Olympic City’ is produced by aesthetic "imagineers", mobile groups of architects, artists and entrepreneurs, who aesthetically ‘engineer’ native cultures as utopias. Thus, it is explored as to how Rio and Tokyo’s "imagineers" problematize notions of creativity, cosmopolitan togetherness and belonging.
Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination will appeal to postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and professionals interested in fields such as: Globalization Studies, Mobility Theory, Cultural Sociology, International Political Economy, Conference and Event Management, Tourism Studies and Migration Studies.


CHAPTER 1 -- Staging the mega-event: Militourist imaginaries in an Olympic city
CHAPTER 2 -- Globalising utopias: Imagineering the Olympic event, making the world
CHAPTER 3 -- Tomorrow never comes: Rio’s museum of our futures
CHAPTER 4 -- Choreomobility and artistic worldmaking: Retrieving Rio’s submerged centre
CHAPTER 5 -- The Opening and Closing Ceremonies: Migration, nostalgia and the making of tourism mobilities
CHAPTER 6 -- Tokyo 2020: Urban amnesia and the techno-romantic spirit of capitalism
CHAPTER 7 -- The Handover Ceremony: Digital gift economies in a global city
CHAPTER 8 -- Conclusion: Dark journeys and hopeful futures


Once again, Rodanthi Tzanelli offers a high-quality and promising book, where she theorizes on the cultural borders of the Olympic City in the ceremonials of Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. With delightful prose, her development exhibits a fertile ground to understand media events as the juxtaposition of two economic forms: the artificial economy, which focuses on the doctrine of security; and the economy of imagination, more oriented to the production of architectural legacies as artificially fabricated and externally imposed.
Korstanje Maximiliano, University of Palermo, Argentina
This book makes a major contribution to understanding mega-events through a cultural sociological analysis. Grounded in a multi-disciplinary literature, it will appeal to readers coming from a wide range of perspectives. The central theme of Mega-Events as Economies of the Imagination provides an innovative and compelling lens through which to understand and explore mega-events.
Paul Lynch, Professor of Critical Hospitality and Tourism, The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, UK
The planning of Olympic mega-events for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 involved not just pragmatic aspects of logistics and engineering, but also what Rodanthi Tzanelli describes as imagineering. This fascinating study of global mega-events brings together recent theoretical approaches to atmospheres, aesthetics, technologies, economic development, infrastructural urbanism, hypermobility, and dark tourism to give us new insights into the staging of "mobile situations" and their symbolic "choreomobilities." It is an intriguing contribution to the literature on mobilities, global urbanism, and the performative arts.
Mimi Sheller, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Drexel University, USA

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ways of seeing: Bauman on strangerhood & the aesthetics of urban research

Rethinking Urban Global Justice: An international academic conference for critical urban studies

Image: Rodanthi Tzanelli 2014 

Open Session 11:15 – 12:45 / Exhibition Hall:

Liquid Cities? Exploring Zygmunt Bauman’s Contribution to Urban Studies.
Distinguished social theorist and longtime Professor of Sociology at University of Leeds, Zygmunt Bauman passed away aged 91 earlier this year.

The founding director of University of Leeds Bauman Institute, Mark Davis leads a discussion with colleagues (Adrian FavellThomas Campbell, Dariusz Brzeziński and Rodanthi Tzanelli) from the School of Sociology and Social Policy about Bauman’s legacy to the field.

Link to presentation by Rodanthi Tzanelli

13 September 2017

Bauman’s legacy in urban studies has a distinctive political flair that connects to his critique of the ways urban strangers (tourists, migrants, vagabonds and pilgrims) become socially positioned, ‘interpellated’ or represented by various constituencies and groups (including researchers).

I argue that his reference to ways of seeing as political tools does not compromise his analysis of liquid urbanism as an aesthetic project, but works politics and aesthetics into a distinctive proposition on the ‘right to the city’ for all. This proposition forms (in the tradition of Simmel’s sociology), a moral basis for which cognitive and affective ambivalences function as epistemological tools.