Reading Urban Society through Material Entanglements

Open Lecture with Ash Amin

Time: Tue May 6, 2014, 18:00 - 19:00
Place: Mejan Arc, Lecture Room, 4th Floor, Royal Insititute of Art, Flaggmansvägen 1, Skeppsholmen
Language: English

A new genre of writing has arisen that narrates the urban – in both North and South – through a city’s mundane infrastructure. In it, trunk networks, the built environment, public utilities and services appear not only as subjects of interest in their own right, but also as matter implicated in the making of urban functionality, sociality and identity.

Professor Amin argues, based on a reflection on the infrastructures of informal settlements, that there is political merit in maintaining the distinction between visibility and invisibility. To contrast the agency in equal part – for the poor staking out a right to urban settlement – of visible improvisations forced by infrastructural absence, and for the invisibility of hard-won connectivity to the municipal mains for water, electricity, sanitation and transport. 
Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at Cambridge University. He is the author of Land of Strangers and coauthor (with Patrick Cohendet) of Architectures of Knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities. Ash Amin is known for his

work on the geographies of modern  living, for example  thinking urban and regional society as relationally and materially constituted; and globalization as an everyday process that thoroughly reconstitutes meanings of the local. He has also contributed to thinking on the economy as a cultural entity, while his writings on race and multiculturalism have helped change policy work on the management of ethnic diversity.

The lecture is part of the ongoing program Resources.13; Radical Shift | Incremental Change: Rio de Janeiro at Mejan Arc, Royal Institute of Art.

Read about our program here.


/Henrietta Palmer and Katarina Nitsch