Casting doubts on the power of urbanization to improve the human condition, in recent times entrenched forms of social and economic inequality have become exacerbated as a direct consequence of urbanization without (or with weak) growth, the global economic crisis and the expanding gap between a privileged few and the rest of the population. This impacts both historical residents and newcomers. Across the world, local authorities are investing on the fashionable trend of making their cities “smart”. Paradoxically, however, the introduction of new technologies that should guarantee urban sustainability and a more transparent and efficient governance is failing to strengthen democracy and people’s (allegedly easier) access to resources and services. People increasingly move into cities only to experience little or no improvement in their lives. Large internal and international migration flows in conjunction with weak policy, double standards in the treatment of individuals and groups and inefficient or slanted governance have engendered new challenges to urban life. In particular, huge, mostly uncontrolled, migration from poorer countries to traditionally better-off countries has raised legal, as well as social and economic, forms of inequality and conflict.

An in-depth comparative understanding of these processes is urgently needed. Ethnographic analysis can document in detail local effects of these phenomena, such as unemployment, informal employment, homelessness, intolerance, conflict, cooperation, suicide and crime. It can bring to light how local cultures are coping with this situation. Ethnographically-committed anthropologists and social scientists more generally are invited to raise to this challenge.

Paper abstracts should be submitted by 15 January 2019.  Submissions should include a title, a 250-word (maximum) abstract and a 100-word Bio including affiliation, if any, and relevant publications, as well as the author/s e-mail address.

Conference OrganizersInternational Urban Symposium (IUS); IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology (CUA); Institute of Social Policy, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow; University of the Peloponnese.