Urban Anxieties in the Global South

Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 - 09:30

This workshop is premised upon a very basic reality: to feel anxiety about the global south is very different to feeling anxiety in the global south. The dominant discourse about urban life in the south essentially views its megacities as large problems to quantify and to solve. We propose an alternative approach: a focus on global south urban subjectivities and an attempt to map experiences of contemporary urban anxiety in the global south.

We live in an age of free-floating anxiety. Popular media, culture and politics are awash with concern about the future of economies, of democracy, of modernity, of the planet. The ‘global south’ features strongly in these anxieties. Across the world, media and political discourses repeat the notion that global-south cities are deeply enmeshed in continuing crises around movement, terrorism and the environment. In many of these narratives the global south features as the bogeyman in a northern imaginary, with anxieties about politics, migration and trade from the south leading to rightwing backlash in the north. But what about the south’s own imaginary? What keeps us up at night in the megacities of the global south?

The programme draws together perspectives from a variety of disciplines and methodologies to initiate a contemporary conversation around discourse, narrative, subjectivity and individual experience as they relate to anxious global south cities. It is intended to facilitate the development of a network of researchers in the south.

On Wednesday, the workshop considers various anxieties: spacial, social, technolocal and the anxiety of the elites in urban cities.

Thursday’s morning sessions discuss migration and insecurity. At lunch, Wits Press and WiSER will hold the book launch of Remains of the Social by Derek Hook, Ross Truscott, Maurits van Bever Donker. The afternoon will end with a final session on spacial anxiety followed by drinks.

This is a joint project by Wits Media Studies and WISER.