Urban Encounters and Conflicts: Presentation | URBAN ENCOUNTERS AND CONFLICTS



Urban Encounters and Conflicts is a group of doctoral candidates and activists created in 2012 in Thessaloniki, Greece (http://urbanconflicts.wordpress.com). During the last two years we organized a series of open discussions, presentations and lectures for the city and urban space in the era of the global crisis. Through this group, we wish to approach our doctoral dissertations as collective works and also to connect ourselves with researchers beyond the borders of Greece against the isolation and introversion that the new rules of economy impose. The group is a self-organised and self-funded unity that host its presentations in the Department of Architecture, AUTh.

In 2013, we organized a workshop in order to investigate diverse issues that were central both in academia and in social reality, such as space, power and politics. As the workshop continued in 2014, we deepened the discussion on these issues elaborating on the social relations and practices of subjects as the latter emerge in the city in the time of crisis. A main objective of the workshop was to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinarity against the fragmentation of knowledge, and to transcend the established scientific specializations and subject divisions between natural/social/psychical as well as science and art, contributing to the contemporary discourses of radical geography.

We focused on the encounters and conflicts that form the contemporary urban space and on relationships and ways of communication that are being forged by the emerging social subjects. Moreover, we examine the ways cultural and political actions give rise to social movements, collectivities, networks, riots, and how is the "right to the city" defined nowadays. Along with all that, we explore the new meanings of nature, the function of contemporary urban policies, of gentrification and of developmental projects, and the role of new enclosures.

We conceive the city as a locus of transformations and political struggles within a crisis environment. Subsequently, we focus on the different issues that emerge in the contemporary metropoles. Therefore, we discuss immigration, mobility, processes of subjectivity formation, politics of identity, as well as the concepts of class, nation, ethnicity and gender.

In the following articles we seek to approach certain aspects of the urban space such as

- the management of the past and the role that has effectuated in the city of modernity and postmodernity 
- the active citizenship and participation in the production of the common space of the crisis-stricken Thessaloniki 
- the emergence of new communities formed by migratory populations that act as deregulators of the hegemonic culture and forge subversive geographies in Athens and Thessaloniki  

Urban Encounters and Conflicts Texts:

Kostas Athanasiou, "Gentrifying of the memory and "the becoming - child" of a city"

Maria Karagianni & Matina Kapsali, "Unearthing the contentious notions of citizenship of the crisis-driven neoliberal restructuring: from aesthetized to dissensual practices of producing the common space in Thessaloniki, Greece"

Foteini Mamali, "Mapping emergent identities and places: an overview of new cultural geographies in Thessaloniki"

Vaso Makrygianni, "The city and the stranger: towards an Athenian emancipatory expressionism"