The following text summarizes what I currently think I will talk about in the upcoming conference Negotiating Urban Conflicts this April. If this sounds interesting to you – take a look at the even more exciting multitude of other talks held by people from far away places like Singapore, Nigeria, India, Russia and other countries from around the globe! And come to attend. This is it:
Conflicts take place in concrete environments. This talk will explore some of the subtle processes that channel conflicts into specific paths. Where these paths are leading to and what might happen while following them is influenced by certain spatial relations and by the materiality of urban places. The placement of things, the way visibility is established or barred, the closing or accessibility of areas, the marking of territorial boundaries – all of these aspects of built space participate in the production of human action in the city. Drawing on ethnographies of the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, of railway stations, and of passenger terminals in harbors, this talk will focus on the processes through which normalities are produced by tangible socio-spatial constellations. These places are centrally located and of a high symbolic and economic importance; the strategic socio-spatial constellations channeling human action in these places will be exposed in this talk.