The Urban Turn
Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research GroupANSO Seminar
Maison de la Paix, Geneva
The urban turn of our time begins with the agrarian crisis. In fact, the agrarian sector in today’s capitalist economy the world over is facing crisis. The emphasis is now more on logistical services and making cities the nodes of logical management of economy. Thus, cities in comparison have become sites of greater investment, and the restructuring of cities is also under way. Cities are merging, gobbling up suburbs and countryside, becoming unendingly greater in size, accommodating more and more people, and are now the destination points of thousands and thousands of migrants. Cities have to be multi-functional to act as big trading marts, points of large networks of roads and digital connectivity, and sites of specialised services, besides being centres of administrative management and functioning as venues of parliamentary politics. Yet, they are also havens for refugees and migrants. Cities today conjure up the 'people', the 'mass', and what some call the 'multitude'.
About the Speaker:
Ranabir Samaddar belongs to the critical school of thinking and is considered as one of the foremost theorists in the field of migration and forced migration studies. His writings on the nation state, migration, labour, and urbanisation have signalled a new turn in critical postcolonial thinking. The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal (Sage, 1999) proved to be a milestone in migration and forced migration studies. His co-authored work on new towns and new forms of accumulation, Beyond Kolkata: Rajarhat and the Dystopia of Urban Imagination (Routledge, 2014), takes forward urban studies in the context of post-colonial capitalism. Karl Marx and the Postcolonial Age (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) is his latest work, which discusses the relevance of Marx in the global age of postcolonialism and neoliberalism. He is currently the Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group.