Call for abstracts ESA RN37 Conference “Urban Theory and Urban Praxis: Past, Present and Possible Futures” (Bologna, 2-4 settembre 2020)


Urban Theory and Urban Praxis:
Past, Present and Possible Futures

IV Midterm Conference

Bologna, Italy, 2-4 September 2020

European Sociological Association (ESA) – Research Network 37: Urban Sociology

University of Bologna – Department of Sociology and Business Law

Description: The year 2020 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Max Weber. Unquestionably recognized as one of the forefathers of Western Sociology, Weber’s scholarship is notable for its breadth and its ability to connect the spheres of economics, politics, and culture in the study of Western and non-Western societies. Alongside his many indirect contributions to the field of Urban Sociology, Weber also focused directly on urban spaces, particularly in The City, a posthumously edited volume (1921) later incorporated in his Economy and Society, where he tried to lay the foundations for a systematic theory of urbanism and urban development.

For this conference, we take the centennial anniversary of Weber’s death, and the 99 years since the publication of The City, as an opportunity to reflect about the past, present, and future of cities, urban theories and urban practices, through and beyond the works of Weber.

The last century has provided us with a wealth of theoretical perspectives on the city and its development, from ecological theory à la Chicago School, to neo-Marxist and political economic approaches, to the more recent advent of poststructural, postmodern, and postcolonial urban studies. Different methods of analysis have accompanied these changes, from urban (ecological) modelling, to the use of quantitative, qualitative (especially ethnographic), and case-based (oftentimes comparative) approaches. And cities and urban livelihoods have themselves changed considerably in recent decades, in interaction with macro-level processes such as international migration and the commodification and globalization of cultural artifacts and economic activities.

We encourage contributions looking at urban changes, as well as focusing on recent and contemporary processes of urban development broadly conceived, in all cases with a vision towards social action and the creation of better cities and urban experiences for the future. In other words, in this conference, we are interested in uncovering: 1. What are the past, present and future developments of urban research (urban theory)? And, 2. How have cities, both in and through the multiple actors living and working in/on them, themselves develop(ed) in the past, present and future (urban praxis)?

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