Migrants and City-Making: Dispossession, Displacement, and Urban Regeneration

In Migrants and City-Making Ayse Çaglar and Nina Glick Schiller trace the participation of migrants in the unequal networks of power that connect their lives to regional, national, and global institutions. Grounding their work in comparative ethnographies of three cities struggling to regain their former standing—Mardin, Turkey; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Halle/Saale, Germany—Çaglar and Glick Schiller challenge common assumptions that migrants exist on society’s periphery, threaten social cohesion, and require integration. Instead Çaglar and Glick Schiller explore their multifaceted role as city-makers, including their relationships to municipal officials, urban developers, political leaders, business owners, community organizers, and social justice movements. In each city Çaglar and Glick Schiller met with migrants from around the world; attended cultural events, meetings, and religious services; and patronized migrant-owned businesses, allowing them to gain insights into the ways in which migrants build social relationships with non-migrants and participate in urban restoration and development. In exploring the changing historical contingencies within which migrants live and work, Çaglar and Glick Schiller highlight how city-making invariably involves engaging with the far-reaching forces that dispossess people of their land, jobs, resources, neighborhoods, and hope.

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