Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Urban Sociology

Urbanizing Faith

Urbanizing Faith - Practice in Precarity and Views on the Future

Urbanizing Faith – Practice in Precarity and Views on the Future


Project Duration: since 2013

Supported by the University of South Australia


Urban youth from Abidjan, Athens, Jakarta, Hyderabad to Berlin face the challenge to manage their urban futures in a situation of global precarity. Global precarity comprises first of all a crisis of labour: For more and more urbanites, long-term employment and a continuous work biography is no longer guaranteed, which creates uncertainty, status anxiety and planning difficulties. Work configurations increase in which young urbanites do unpaid work or have to complement their labour activity with other forms of income (state or family assistance, heritage, illegal activities, reproduction work).

But precarity is more than precariousness in labour relations. Also the rules of the game that shape the distribution of resources and the creation of capabilities are no longer fix, but unpredictable and volatile. The emergence of a young urban precariat reflects thus the crisis of central distribution mechanisms (i.e. welfare apparatus) and challenges the linking of citizen rights to the status in the labour market.


Against this background, the project understands young urbanites (in the age of 16 to 30) as actors in struggles for representation, recognition and redistribution (see Guy Standing 2014). It explores their collaborations and organisation of resources in urban settings. What does affect the faith in urban futures of young adults? It asks what kind of socialities emerge here in their daily improvisation of resources – while waiting for opportunities, while harvesting seemingly incommensurable residua of urban production and daily consumption, or while detaching from expectations and memories that are pasted onto them. Research sites are Abidjan, Jakarta, Athens, Hyderabad and Berlin. A first explorative fieldwork phase was completed in December 2014.



Project Coordinators:

Talja Blokland: Urban Sociology, HU Berlin,

Christine Hentschel: Urban Sociology, HU Berlin,

2014-2015: Vertretungsprofessur Internationale Kriminologie, Institut für Kriminologische Sozialforschung, Universität Hamburg

AbdouMaliq Simone: Max-Planck Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser und multiethnischer Gesellschaften vorher: International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, University of South Australia,


Project Partners:

Rika Febriyani: Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta und Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Ousmane Dembélé: Sozialgeographie, Université Houphouet Boigny, Abidjan

Anant Maringanti: Hyderabad Urban Lab; Geographie und Regionalstudien, University of Hyderabad

Hannah Schilling: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Center for Metropolitan Studies der Technischen Universität Berlin,

Eleni Triant: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Dian Tri Irawaty: Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta und Tarumanagara University



KOSMOS Workshop in Berlin, Mai 2013

KOSMOS Workshop in Berlin, November 2014