While Convivencia is a specific historical term that has come to represent an idea of peaceful co-existence, Convivencia: Urban Space and Migration in a Small Catalan Town complicates this simplistic vision. Instead, it shows how convivencia has been and is indeed always conflict-ridden by scrutinising the relations between cultural diversity and social conflicts and considering why some social conflicts are said to be inherently cultural. It does this through a multi-scalar extended case study of a small town in Northern Catalonia, Spain. Starting from an ethnography, it sheds light on the multiple local-global processes inherent to the social construction of the “migrant problem” and its solutions.The book analyzes the simultaneously local-global transformation of migration and societies, connecting the local processes of space- and place-making in Salt with the more extensive processes of migration, economic crisis and social transformation, and finally, the responses to these changes from the local society, institutions, and NGOs.This work allows for a deeper understanding of the complex web of urban, social, and political transformation in which migration as a phenomenon takes part. Focusing mainly on the interaction between mobility and settlement and the socio-cultural processes at different scales through the vectors of production and reproduction of space, it advances findings on the “new social question in Europe.”
Martin Lundsteen (PhD in social anthropology) is currently a Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford and Carlsberg Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College. He also teaches in migration and urban studies at University of Barcelona and the University of Girona.
1 The Setting: Salt in the 21st Century
2 Social Conflicts: Negotiating Borders and Boundaries
3 Spaces of Conflict, Conflicts over Space
4 An Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove: From Zero Tolerance to Policies of Quieting and Convivència
5 Between Territorial Stigma and Rural Gentrification: A Urban Paradise for the Middle Class?
6 Openings and Closures
Appendix: Dramatis Personae
In the flood of books on immigration, urban ethnic tension, and gentrification, Convivencia stands out for its multi-scalar design, the elegance of its theory, and the richness of its field data. Lundsteen takes the reader deep inside a small town of Catalonia to show how global forces, national crisis, and local institutions mesh to produce economic dislocation and class polarization as well as their obfuscation by a discourse of cultural alterity. Convivencia is a first-rate contribution to critical anthropology of the present.
Across Europe, race and ethnicity have been recast as culture. In this closely observed and acute analysis of the politics of ‘convivencia’ in Salt, Martin Lundsteen untangles the politics of integration, collaboration, and resistance. He exposes how convivencia obscures class and raced origins of social conflict and the commonalities shared by ‘migrants’ and citizens and traces opportunities for new kinds of politics.
This book is an on the spot urban governance ethnography in a hotspot of urban racialized conflict that demystifies the Spanish/European polemics around immigration, conviviality, xenophobia, and youth violence and poverty on the ground in an era of neoliberal urban gentrification.
In this innovative take on contemporary migration in Europe, Martin Lundsteen shows us how migration and urban transformations play out and are perceived in a small town in Catalonia. However, the analysis does not stop there. In contrast to much literature in migration studies, the detailed ethnographic analysis here is quite audaciously articulated within the larger framework of the global forces at play in current forms of economic, political, and social structures. This way, Lundsteen combines the world as most people understand it with the world as it is actually, evolving towards an extreme form of capitalism. This is a powerful, highly relevant, and timely book, recommended to anyone interested in migration and urban studies.