Habitat Unit

December 12, 2017 | 12.00 Uhr | A 624

City Life in Limbo: Globalizing Urban Informality and (In)Stabilities in Informal Practice

While much research in urban studies has engaged with informality and informalization processes in cities of the so-called Global South, informality as a lens to study cities of the Global North has yet not been explored extensively. Contributing to a growing body of literature on informality in the North, Christian Haid shows how informality is permeating through many different aspects of urban everyday life of a "western" city and adopts conceptualizations emanating from the Global South through the postcolonial perspective of "worlding" in order to develop a more global understanding of informality.

The research on City Life in Limbo explores the state of uncertainty inherent to informal practice focusing on how and in what ways everyday informal practices are rendered both stable and unstable. The practices under scrutiny are informal work practices such as street vending and bottle collecting, but also practices of their enforcement by street level bureaucrats which have been investigated in three parks in Berlin: the Thai market at Preußenpark, Görlitzer Park, and Mauerpark. 

The argument of globalizing informality through informality as practice is developed out of an ethnographic approach and contributes not only to advancing the debate on urban informality but also to an emerging broader project in urban studies to post- colonize and subsequently globalize urban theory.

Christian Haid is senior researcher at the Habitat Unit.

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