SIAA Call for papers

Call for Papers for a panel on Smart City and Sustainability at the next SIAA (Italian Society for Applied Anthropology) annual meeting in Ferrara, Italy (12-14 December 2019).

TITLE: 
City 3.0 is on its way: The ‘Smart City’ model between resistance and adaptation
COORDINATORS:
Mara Benadusi, anthropologist, University of Catania, Department of Political and Social Sciences
Luca Ruggiero, geographer, University of Catania, Department of Political and Social Sciences

“Out of an experience of the cities came an experience of the future”, Raymond Williams (1975: 23)
After undergoing highly impactful and externally-driven industrialization, various areas of the world are now facing a phase of economic transition involving the smart use of energy and economic models based on “innovation” and “sustainability” to manage urban and metropolitan areas. The smart approach has spread so widely throughout the globe due not only to its extreme transferability and adaptability, but also to its ability to develop seductive imaginaries associated with 3.0 cities: technologically advanced cities densely interconnected by telematic, ecological, resilient, multi-specialized and socially inclusive networks. In essence, the widespread use of new information and communication technologies is believed to improve quality of life and meet the needs of citizens, businesses and institutions. However, the smart city model has also come under scrutiny for its ambiguity (Hollands 2008; Nam and Pardo 2011) and the risk-laden political arrangements underlying its model of local governance. Its fiercest critics argue that these geometries of power foster exclusively market-oriented development, exacerbating class differences rather than reducing them (Hollands 2008, 2015).
This panel sets off from a series of fundamental questions. Is the smart city model nothing more than a new brand of neoliberal politics aimed at concentrating resources in the production of space that ensures the accumulation and reproducibility of capital? Is it actually encouraging political choices in the direction of more inclusive, progressive and environmentally sound values? Or does it act to depoliticize policy making processes by circulating prefabricated solutions in the seemingly neutral form of “good-practice pragmatism”? It could be argued that one the hallmarks of “roving” paradigms such as the smart city model is to elude forms of local resistance, developing ideas and rhetoric with the power to aggregate collectivities even without political consensus. If true, how does this dynamic manifest in areas plagued by issues that require concrete future alternatives in sectors such as energy, the environment, and urban sustainability, specifically in terms of safety and quality of life? In short, how does the smart agenda solve the problems mentioned above and how compatible is it with the needs of the weakest segments of the urban population?
Proposed papers should show how smart solutions and tools are incorporated into the urban contexts under investigation, the effects they produce in everyday life, in the sphere of emotions and social imaginaries, and the applied repercussions of the smart model in terms of social justice and sustainability.

Bibliographic references
Hollands Robert G., 2008, Will the real smart city please stand up?, in “City”, 12(3): 303-320.
Hollands Robert G., 2015, Critical interventions into the corporate smart city, in “Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society”, 8(1): 61–77.
Nam Taewoo, Theresa A. Pardo, 2011, Conceptualizing Smart City with Dimensions of Technology, People, and Institutions, https://inta-aivn.org/images/cc/Urbanism/background%20documents/dgo_2011_smartcity.pdf
Williams Raymond, 1975, The country and the city, New York: Oxford University Press.
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Paper proposals can be sent by mail to mara.benadusi@unict.it. The proposal should include both an abstract (max 400 words) and a short bio (max 250 words). 

Deadline for submission on 23 July 2019.

We look forward to receive your panel ideas!


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