ESA 2021 Conference RN37 Joint Sessions

JS_RN01_RN37: Urban Ageing: Towards an enhanced spatial perspective

Chairs: Lucie Galčanová Batista, Anna Urbaniak (RN01) and Marta Smagacz-Poziemska (RN37)

The organizers welcome individual and team contributions which combine  sociology of ageing, social gerontology, and urban sociology perspectives.
Many authors now point to the contemporary struggles over the representation of older age within and beyond the realm of the social sciences. Later life and older people are represented on one hand as a quiescent minority bearing multiple disadvantages within a social status of limited agency and increasing dependency, experiencing a loss of autonomy and so on. On the other hand, older people are also seen as a source of new political, economic, and cultural ‘grey’ power, as an influential actor in contemporary societies, shaping the contours of new policies and welfare regimes. These debates reflect the diversity of the experiences of ageing selves and the pluralities of life courses as well as of the institutional, political, and social changes with which the personal and individual experience is inseparably interlinked. These struggles lead also to the reformulation of the concepts of agency, autonomy, or power themselves and to the calling for their even more reflexive application in academic accounts of the human experience in later life.
We would like to particularly invite papers and sessions that will discuss ageing-related issues within (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • spatial aspects of ageing
  • age-friendly cities and communities
  • urban ageing
  • urban ageing policies


JS_RN15_RN37: Transforming cities in a global transforming world

Chairs: Marco Caselli (RN15) and Victoria Gómez (RN37)

Globalization is an actual global phenomenon involving all inhabitants and all places of the earth, even though in a number of different ways, as we have witnessed since the outbreak of the current pandemic. In this scenario, cities are places where globalization manifests itself with particular intensity; and cities, in turn, contribute decisively to shaping globalization processes. For this reason, cities are a privileged observation point for globalization and in particular for global / local dialectics.

So, we welcome contributions which analyse, on one side, the impact of globalization processes on cities’ life and structure:  e.g., what is the impact of global crisis like economic ones or the current Covid pandemic, environmental changes, migration flows and re-structuring of political international institutions on urban realms, in terms of social practices and formal/political responses?  On the other side, we also welcome papers which investigate the role of cities in shaping and directing globalization processes.


JS_RN27_RN37: Urban homelessness in Southern Europe: new problems and new challenges in times of Covid-19

Chairs: Teresa Consoli, Inês Vieira (RN27) and Gabriele Manella (RN37)

Southern European cities, in the present pandemic and in previous crisis contexts, have seen the aggravation of the number of cases and conditions in which homeless people live. The lockdown particularly affected people without home and diminished the response from related social services (shelters, food support, social work). The higher vulnerability of homeless people in this situation constitutes a big challenge for Southern European cities, and in many of them important emergency responses arose not only from public entities (like pandemic-related temporary accommodation) but also from community-level groups and self-organized solidarity networks (relieving, for example, food needs that stopped being addressed by usual social service providers). On the other hand, already existing “punitive” political approaches to homelessness combined with stricter/blinder readings of “COVID-safe” street avoidance led to homeless people being blamed and fined for staying in the street, and previous highly precarious life conditions (particularly in concentrated spaces and in situations of socioeconomic and citizenship deprivation) quickly gave rise to new highly critical conditions of homelessness (as in the case of the thousands of people that were in Lesbos’ Moria refugee camp before the devastating fires). Beyond the current context, for many decades homelessness situations have received mainly charity-assisting responses, lacking a deeper public answer that was replaced by (often unregulated) private social services. In this session we welcome presentations that put these issues into perspective, offering insights on policies and approaches focusing on the different dimensions of urban homelessness in Southern Europe, namely in the aftermath of the pandemic.


JS_RN35_RN37: Patterns and paradoxes of forced mobility and confinement in urban space

Chairs: Margit Fauser (RN35) and Patrícia Pereira (RN37)

In this joint session, co-organized by RN35 (Sociology of Migration) and RN37 (Urban Sociology) we propose to debate diverse patterns of both forced mobility and forced immobility and confinement, two realities that coexist in many urban spaces in the present time. This joint reality puts the dichotomy of (forced) mobility and (intended) spatial fixity into question, creating paradoxes in empirical and theoretical terms.
Forced mobility in urban spaces can be related to refuge seeking, from war or other situations, but it can also occur within the urban space: displacement from one’s permanent or temporary housing, to search for shelter, food, security, or for means of subsistence. While such movements will result from choices within constraint contexts others are rather due to external pressures and this distinction is often difficult to make. In addition, the current CoVID 19 pandemic caused hardship for many urban populations and enhanced social inequalities, creating even more occasions of forced displacement as well as immobilization. The weeks or months of confinement imposed by many governments in reaction to the pandemics were and are being experienced differently by people in uneven social conditions. Key questions for this session are: how do those who live in dwellings with precarious conditions experience the confinement? What does this situation mean for those who lost their jobs and can no longer provide for their families? And how does the pandemic situation shape the urban lives of those who are forced to continue being mobile, taking daily health risks? We invite contributions that tackle these and related questions and advance our sociological understanding of the paradoxical situations of forced mobility and confinement.

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About patriciapereira

I am an assistant research professor at Leiria Polytechnic University/ESECS integrated in CICS.NOVA/IPLeiria. I am a member of the board of the Interdisciplinary Center of Social Sciences (CICS.NOVA) and I coordinate its research group 3 "Cities, environment and regional development". I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology and my main field of research is Urban Sociology/Urban Studies. My current work is focused on subjective experiences of eviction and displacement, while also considering the neighborhood effects and structural dimensions of gentrification and, more broadly, of urban inequality. I specialize in qualitative methods, including ethnography and in-depth interviews, with a growing interest in creative methods.