The Sustainable City and the Arts

Update: the deadline for the abstracts submission for the ESA (European Sociological Association) Conference in Geneva has been extended until March 8th 2011.

Call for Papers for the Research Stream which will take place in the forthcoming conference of the European Sociological Association from 7. to 10. of Sept. 2011 in Geneva.

10th Conference of the European Sociological Association

7th-10th Sept. 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

“Social Relations in Turbulent Times”

“The Sustainable City and the Arts”

The study of the arts and the city in ‘turbulent times’ cannot ignore the social scientific discourse of the concept of ‘sustainability’; it is an important addendum for a contemporary arts-sociological analysis of the urban-sociological analysis of the arts.

Urban development has frequently been reflected by the arts, inspiring the arts and affected by the arts. Theoretical elaborations can be based on the work on early urban sociologists such as Simmel, Weber, Park, Wirth etc. but also on recent works by

* the postmodern urban studies Los Angeles School (Michael Dear and Edward Soja) and studies on the significance of signs and symbols for urban development,
* the economic geographical works by Richard Florida, Allan Scott etc. on ‘creative cities’ and issues of ‘creative industries’ and ‘urban development’,
* and the urban cultural and arts sociological studies by, e.g., Sharon Zukin, Harvey Molotch or Alan Blum etc.

Looking at the growing list of publications, the intersection of arts sociology, cultural sociology and urban sociology prospered within the last years. However, following the main topic of this conference, the additional focus of this research stream would be the role of sustainability in turbulent times for the urban and artistic environment. Sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue for the study of urban and cultural issues (see, e.g., Nadarajah & Yamamoto) and helps to generate a socio-ecological approach to urban and arts sociology (see, e.g., ?apek, Carolan).

We are thus looking for presentations that

* uncover the effects and the diversity of urban cultures (with different ethnic, subcultural, lifestyle, socio-economic background) as tools for urban and artistic development,
* reflect on the three notions of ‘sustainable cities’, ‘arts in public places’ and ‘creative cities’,
* link the increasing significance of urban creativity, culture and the arts, with discourses of sustainability,
* and complement cultural perspectives on sustainable (or unsustainable) urban development.

One of the general considerations for proposing this research stream is the present lack of positions in arts sociology and cultural sociology for discussing the urban impact of arts and cultures as part of the sustainability discourse.  The research stream aims to offer a forum for this new intersection.

Research Stream Conveners:
Volker Kirchberg (,
Laura Verdi (,

Please submit your abstract by using the abstract submission form at Further instructions and guidelines will be on this conference website.  Please NOTE that the abstracts will only be accepted through completion of the online submission form, and submission in any other form will be declined. Abstracts must include: 1) name (s) and affiliation (s) of the author(s); 2) contact details of presenting author (postal address, telephone, fax and email address); 3) title of proposed presentation. The submission form will limit the title of the abstract to 200 characters (approximately 30 words) and the length of the abstract to a maximum of 350 words. The form also requests authors to submit up to 5 key words that are indicative of the content of the proposed presentation. The platform for the abstract submission will open at the 10th of January 2011 and will close at the 25th of February 2011.

By Sacha Kagan

Research Associate at the ISCO - Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization (ISKO - Institut für Soziologie und Kulturorganisation), Leuphana University Lueneburg, Sacha Kagan founded the International level of Cultura21, Network for Cultures of Sustainability, as well as the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his research and cultural work lies in the trans-disciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability. Doctor in Philosophy (Leuphana University Lueneburg) with a thesis on the subject of culture, the arts and sustainability under the perspective of complexity ; M.A. in Cultural Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam) ; and Graduate of Sciences Po Bordeaux (political sciences). For Cultura21, Sacha is also coordinating the eBooks series, the regular updates on our multi-lingual website, the English section of our webmagazine and the work of our Lueneburg-based interns.