Theme & Calls

We are delighted to announce that our V Midterm Conference entitled “Seeing Like a City/Seeing the City Through” will take place at the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research of the Humboldt University Berlin from the 5th to the 7th of October 2022.  Talja Blokland is the local organizer, and we really thank her and her colleagues for their proposal and their effort.

As we did in the IV Midterm Conference, we will first open a call for panel proposals. After that, a call for individual abstracts for the accepted panels will be opened.

Urban citizenship implies a fragmentation of claims that affects rights to the city as universal, all‐inclusive ideals: we see a trend towards a diversification of interests, a weakening and separation of movements, and competition about resources rather than more solidarities within groups working as collectives on the pathway to a livable and more just city. Such urban citizenship is always in conversation with modes of governance, which vary greatly among Europe.

Different modes of governance always require categorizations on various scales. Starting from the central argument of James Scott Seeing Like a State (1999) that any government means categorization, and any categorization fails to acknowledge the metis of locally embedded practices, knowledges, and ways of seeing and doing things, especially on and from the urban margins, this conference seeks to sociologically address this tension. The ‘City’ as a set of local state institutions imagines, regulates, categorizes, classifies, and intervenes in the urban and shapes citizenship and belonging. Second, however, the city cannot be made nor planned and will always be, as AbdouMaliq Simone formulated in For the City Yet to Come (2004), in the making through practices and logics outside of the view of the state which defy standards and categories. Everyday tactics see people through in their daily lives and see through the city: finding new ways to get things done under constantly changing urban conditions. Yet city politics must draw boundaries and categorize, as any political decision implies a categorization. How can ‘seeing like a City’ and ‘seeing the City through’ be brought together in new ways, given the current transformations of our cities?

This frames the program of the fifth RN37-ESA Midterm-Conference in Berlin, hosted by the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research at Humboldt University Berlin, in collaboration with the Sektion Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie of the German Society of Sociology (DGS) and various Berlin-based urban scholars.


After the selection of panel proposals, we are glad to launch the call for paper abstracts for our V Midterm Conference “Seeing Like a City / Seeing the City Through”. The conference will take place at the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research of the Humboldt University Berlin 5th to the 7th of October 2022. The deadline for submission of abstract proposals is May 6.

Information on the 27 panels further details on the submission process can be found in the call for papers. Abstracts may be submitted here.

For any info or question, please contact:
RN37 Organizing Committee (
Local Organizing Team (

List of Panels

  1. Potentials and Challenges of Globalizing Participatory Budgeting
  2. The spatial dimension of sustainability of life in cities. Roots, routes, gender, vulnerability and informal arrangements in making up the city “from below”
  3. Caring for Urban Nature. Sustainability between Enchantment and Commodification // Urban De/Mobilizations
  4. Moving margins: towards a time-sensitive understanding of displacement experiences
  5. Beyond the public/civic divide? How PCPs transform urban actors
  6. Different gazes on the city. (Re)designing urban accessibility
  7. Scrutinizing the trend towards sharing in European cities: between (re)production and combating of socio-spatial inequalities
  8. (in)equalities and commons. exploring potentials and limits of taking care of the common good as a strategy to contrast social inequalities.
  9. Who is transforming whom? New Municipalism and the relationship between governments, administration and social movements.
  10. Street culture meets extremism. Urban in/security in uncertain times
  11. Ordinary affects and the everydayness of cities in transition: material and social dimensions of change
  12. Shared housing and the city
  13. Urban Security as a Battlefield
  14. (Re)turning to urban (new) normality, (re)entering (new) urban in/equalities
  15. The Creative Paradox of Marginal Urban Citizenship
  16. Moving towards others: comparing fleeting solidarities in re/configuring social spaces across Europe
  17. The new flâneurs in the urban space: from individualization to collective participation
  18. Seeing the City through multispecies perspectives: Mobilizing nature to the city and the city to beyond
  19. Food for Thought: Challenges and Potentials of Practices for Urban Socio-Ecological Justice
  20. Seeing like a Smart City-Maker: Reimagining Cities through Instruments and Practices
  21. Housing, Financialization and Mobility
  22. Housing affordability and segregational developments: New Perspectives on neighborhood change
  23. Reclaiming the street: understanding residents’ mobilisation for security
  24. Seeing the city through emotions
  25. Solidarity with precarious migrants in the city: alliances, frames and practices
  26. Similarities and differences between gentrification cases: do contexts, states and institutions matter?
  27. Power articulation in cultural and creative sector in cities

For detailed descriptions of the panels please look at the call for papers.


We invite panel submissions for the following streams that develop the friction of the logics of the everyday which can be seen throughout the city as it is lived and the logics of the city as government and governance in broad forms:

1. Urban In/securities

Fear of violence or virus in public space, fear of crime, securing existence…urban insecurities are common, and recent developments strengthened the idea that policing may not be an answer: then what may? Security has also taken on new dimensions beyond safety and securitization. Securing urban life may be attempted through politics of greening the city, rent control movements and other movements to expand ways to enhance and ensure existential needs and future human life and livelihood – where the future challenge is clearly to extend notions of urban care and responsibility beyond centrality on humans. We thus invite panel proposals on urban safety and securitization of urban space, conviviality and non-state forms of constructing safety, policing and un-policing and reducing fears, and panels that aim to discuss the role of grassroots movements in securing livable, inclusive cities. Moreover, how is urban belonging possible in times of existential insecurities, as under COVID19 pandemic conditions, and how can urban public trust and urban solidarity be discovered, methodologically assessed beyond singular case studies, and theorized as everyday forms of urban life?

2. Urban In/equalities

Structural inequalities and conceptualizations of urban citizenship, justice and equality remain central in ethical and political discourses. We invite panels on the dynamics and mechanisms of the (re)production of inequalities in fields like public space and citizenship, inequality in housing, inequality in education, inequality in work and effects of touristification for unequal access to resources. Especially scholars working in the understanding of such perspectives from the margins of the wide diversity of European urban cities, large and small, are encouraged to propose panels. We also welcome panels that address how COVID19 has made obvious and deepened existing urban inequalities as they are affected by urban space.

3. Urban De/Mobilizations

How to further think urban social movements and political participation towards a new conceptualization of urban publics that includes, after Ash Amin, tactics of doing the urban in a broad sense? We invite panels that ask these questions while focusing on challenges of urban participation for formal political structures, the in- and exclusionary mechanisms of DIY urbanism and community-based knowledge production, and methodologically, the rethinking of urban knowledge as citizen science and other new recognitions of varieties of urban tactic knowledge are included in transdisciplinary urban studies. Panels may also address how diversity and multicultural settings in cities have enabled and fueled urban mobilizations.

Panel proposals

Proposals can be sent by 2-3 chairs from preferably more than one institution, including:

  1. A summary of the main topic of the panel of max. 350 words
  2. 2-3 references of the main literature discussion on which the idea of the proposal draws
  3. Contact details (including possible social media accounts) and brief descriptions (100 words) of all the organizers
  4. The email contact of the corresponding panel proposal author
  5. Panel format: Traditional (with individual presentations), author-meets-critics, open panel debates, roundtables, lightning talk sessions.

Please note that the panel proposals must not include any participants, as they are expected to lead to an open call for abstracts. Do not send individual abstracts for panels at this stage: After decisions have been made on the ones accepted for the conference, an open call for individual abstracts (of single authors or co-authors) will follow.

Panel proposals can be submitted until February 20, 2022 to

Important deadlines

  • January 6, 2022: Opening of the Call for Submission for Panel Abstracts
  • February 10, 2022: Closure of the Call for Panels Abstracts
  • February 23, 2022: Notification to Panel Organizers
  • March 7, 2022: Opening of the Call for Submission of Individual Paper Abstracts
  • May 6, 2022: Closure of the Call for Individual Paper Abstracts
  • June 6, 2022: Notification to Paper Abstract authors
  • June 6-July 4, 2022: Early-bird rate registration for individual participants and registration for panel organizers
  • July 5-July 20, 2022: Full Rate registration for individual participants
  • October 5-7, 2022: Midterm Conference of the ESA RN37- Urban Sociology