Under the stream “Displacements of Power”, on Wed. 4th  Sept., Bonfanti and Massa from HOMInG will hold the Panel “Shaking grounds; strategies for urban resilience when homes make no safe heavens”.

The ASA 2019 Conference (Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth… isn’t it time to de-colonialize this reference?!) is taking place at the University of East Anglia in Norwich from 3rd to 6th September. Under the critical stream “Displacement of Power”, on Wed. 4th, Aurora Massa and Sara Bonfanti from HOMInG will convene the Panel “Shaking grounds; strategies for urban resilience when homes make no safe heavens”.

We organized this panel aiming to engage with the enlacement between home, a specific kind of space (Douglas 1991), and vulnerability, a shifting existential condition (Das 2007). If one’s dwelling place should provide a safe base from the intrinsic frailty of being human, its lived experience reveals the continuous interplay of risks and anchorages, in material, symbolic and relational terms. Homes make a threshold between domestic power scuffles (also mediated by gender and age) and everyday social exposure, ranging from homelessness or lack of shelter to precarious, inadequate or segregated housing arrangements. Multi-scale vulnerabilities may result harsher when considering mobile populations in urban milieus, such as economic migrants and refugees, who often inhabit the social margins, constrained by instances of legal instability and intersectional exclusion (Soja 2010). Based on our HOMInG research expertise, we called for case studies that offered empirical evidence on home as a site of spatial un/justice, where not only multiple vulnerabilities intersect, but social equity and sustainability can also be pursued, complying with or resisting to institutional powers. Without limiting our reflection to migration and diversity matters, we pondered: how can critical, participatory and/or policy-relevant researches in urban ethnography contribute to analyse homes as arenas for more inclusive rights to the city?

Eight rich ethnographic-based contributes ranging from Central and East Asia to Latin America and wide across Europe responded to our call focusing on the red thread between home and vulnerability. Such an array of findings interrogate the key sustainable development goal for 2030 which hopes for “making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges recites the theme of this year’s Conference; waiting for the key-notes to be given by Ann Laura Stoler, Katy Gardner and James Ferguson among the others, as HOMInGers we are much looking forward to confronting this issue and raising a comparative debate! We also expect to edit a Special Issue after the event’s proceedings, and more info will follow here soon.

University of East Anglia, UK 3-6 September 2019