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Transnational Communities Programme

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Transnational Urban Politics

A call for papers for the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings, to be  held in Philadelphia, March 1-4, 2001

Transnationalism, for some researchers, has meant the death knell of the city as transnational corporations and (predominantly 'northern') international institutions dictate the terms within which the new global order is to be constructed. For others, it has meant the unprecedented opening up of liberatory political spaces for local resistance to the hegemonic logic of global capital, unconstrained by the power of individual states. Yet, the role of urban communities as transnational actors
remains  ambiguously defined at best. What new kinds of transnational agency do contemporary cities exhibit?  What is or is not new about these discourses on transnational urbanism? What evidence exists in the historical record for processes that we only now recognize as transnational?  How do  municipalities defend cosmopolitan notions of place under changing conditions of privatization? What is the role of the city in the transnational imaginary?

Papers in this session will examine the changing role of urban politics in transnational contexts. When production, regulation, protest, investment, and even foreign policy processes become transnational, the city becomes more, rather than less significant.
Transnational networks link local communities across national boundaries, often, although not always, with the help of states.  Meanwhile cities are repositioning themselves both protectively and aggressively to take advantage of shifting political and economic situations. Cities compete directly for international manufacturing and investment, making strategic choices as market participants and pitting their own interests against those of the nation state. Cities play a key role in the regulation of   international relations, potentially undermining competing national policies. Contrary to models which depict cities as the static repositories of external global flows, local urban communities have been important sources of dynamic change in their own right, often reconstituting global, regional, and national forces through their transnational practices, strategies, and discourses.

Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to:
  * Expanded notions of community in trans-urban, transnational relations;
  * the re-emergence of historically transnational processes which are depicted as new;
  * mutual dependencies of states and cities under economic globalization;
  * cosmopolitan democracy and urban social movements;
  * transnational urbanism in comparative and historical perspective;
  * transnational forms of municipal governance in global markets
  * transnational communities as political identities;
  * the cultural production of a transnational urban imaginary.

  For more information, please contact:Howard Lune, Department of Sociology, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ 07470 tel. (973) 720-3714; e-mail: -or-  John Dale, Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, tel. (415) 576-9536; e-mail: <


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