Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Cities and Social Movements: How Cities Matter in the Fight for Immigrant Rights

  • Wann 18.06.2018 von 18:00 bis 21:00
  • Wo Universitätsstraße 3b; 10117 Berlin; R002
  • Teilnehmer Dr. Walter Nicholls Prof. Talja Blokland
  • iCal

Walter Nicholls, University of California:
Cities and Social Movements: How Cities Matter in the Fight for Immigrant Rights


Think and Drink Colloquium is a collaborative project of
--> Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies // HU
--> Urban and Regional Sociology // HU
It is open to anyone interested in Urban Studies - feel free to join!

The presentation addresses a simple puzzle: How is it that extremely precarious groups like undocumented immigrants and refugees grow into a potent political force? These people face a number of barriers, including deportation and violence, that make public resistance difficult if not impossible. Nevertheless, we find many instances in Europe and North America where highly precarious people overcome serious obstacles and mount potent mobilizations for dignity and rights. Drawing from our book (with Justus Uitermark) Cities and Social Movements, this presentation maintains that urban environments are well suited for transforming precarious individuals into empowered and contentious political groups. Large cities provide emergent activists safe spaces and propinquity needed to cultivate strong and trusting relations. Cities also provide many opportunities for emergent activists to develop connections to various allies in possession of a range of resources (economic, political, cultural, symbolic capital). While strong tie relations among precarious individuals allow them to “come out of the shadows”, weaker tie relations with diverse allies enable the acquisition of resources needed to bolster their position within the political field. The presentation does not suggest that all precarious people resist or that all resistances are successful. It simply maintains that the relational conditions in cities facilitates the political emergence of these groups and their development into forceful mobilizations.




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin