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Sharon Zukin,“The Social Production of Upscale Cosmopolitanism: Identity and Belonging on an Amsterdam Shopping Street.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012
12:00 AM
1014 Tisch

Sharon Zukin, CUNY Graduate Center, will give the lecture : “The Social Production of Upscale Cosmopolitanism: Identity and Belonging on an Amsterdam Shopping Street” at 4 pm in 1014 Tisch Hall.

Recent discussions situate cosmopolitanism in two emerging discourses: first, social integration of new migrants and ethnic minorities, and second, the “right to the city” as a surrogate of citizenship. In both cases the site of cosmopolitanism is understood to be the urban street—but it is not clear whether this is a specific geographical space or just a social trope. Professor Zukin's focus is on the social space of a local shopping street—a space so taken for granted that it hardly appears as a subject of social or cultural research. But local shopping streets are not just sites of economic transactions; they are social spaces where cultural identities are continually reproduced. These are both local and global identities, for in the shopping street both traditional ethnic homogeneity and new ethnic diversity become embedded in a bounded geographical terrain. An everyday, “bread and butter” shopping street carries the DNA of local identity but infuses it with products, people, and practices that come from everywhere. Thus the social space of the street is a crucible of both localization and globalization, a very specific space for producing cosmopolitanism and belonging.