Migrants and City-Making

Dispossession, Displacement, and Urban Regeneration

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 17 illustrations Published: August 2018

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Geography, Sociology > Migration Studies

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. 


"Ayse Calgar and Nina Glick Schiller make a timely and compelling case for migrants as 'city-makers.' Departing from commonly portrayed dichotomies between migrants and non-migrants, they situate, contextualize, and embed them into complex “multi-scalar” processes of urban regeneration. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." — G. R. Innes, Choice

"This fantastic book is a result of committed long-term research by Çaglar and Glick Schiller on migration and the regeneration of cities." — Susanne Urban, Urban Studies

"Migrants and City-Making is a thought-provoking exploration of how economic regeneration strategies can have very different implications and consequences in disempowered cities than in the powerful cities that are more commonly sites for urban and migration research. Scholars of migration, citizenship, and urban studies will undoubtedly find it to be a useful and provocative read." — Sarah Farr, International Sociology Reviews

"A theoretically rich book that immerses us in the relationship between migration and localities that are not urban centers of global power. . . . Migrants and City-Making has a theoretically rich and engaging methodology, which will be useful for anyone teaching courses on transnational migration, urban studies, urban anthropology or urban sociology." — Hulya Dogan, City & Society

"Its programmatic and didactic approach will make Migrants and City-Making a useful teaching tool for students of migration and urban theory. The argumentation is bold and restated at multiple points in the book."

— Madeleine Reeves, Laboratorium

"... Immigrants and City-Making is a thought-provoking and ambitious study that provides a compelling appraisal of migration, place making, and urban theory. ... A unique, innovative, and valuable contribution to our comparative understanding of migration, cities, and the manifestations of growing economic inequality on a global scale." — Steven Gold, American Journal of Sociology

Migrants and City-Making offers a very compelling anthropological analysis that students and scholars of urban life and governance, globalization, and refugee and immigrant studies will learn a great deal from.”

— Fethi Keles, Nordic Journal of Migration Research

"Migrants and City-Making is a thought-provoking and ambitious study that provides a compelling appraisal of migration, place making, and urban theory…. The book is a unique, innovative, and valuable contribution to our comparative understanding of migration, cities, and the manifestations of growing economic inequality on a global scale.” — Steven Gold, American Journal of Sociology

Migrants and City-Making builds an important critique of methodological nationalism—intellectual enquiry confined to the borders of the nation-state—and narrow approaches to migration studies that overemphasize national origin as a primary axis of difference. It serves as an important reminder of the need to confront dispossessive capitalism at all scales, and to form social networks that challenge migrant/non-migrant divisions. These insights are particularly crucial in this historic moment…”
  — Jessie Speer, Social & Cultural Geography

“The book provides fascinating and important insight into the experiences, challenges, and agency of migrants and nonmigrants in disempowered cities. . . . The book will particularly interest scholars and researchers in those fields and would serve as an excellent introduction to some key debates and developments for anthropologists and sociologists beginning to think about the longer-term effects of urban regeneration efforts and how to study them.” — Sara Jean Tomczuk, Contemporary Sociology

"This is a book that needed to be written for our present Western moment with its surge of refugees. It joins a very few other texts that show how immigrants are a positive economic and social presence in our cities at a time when negative interpretations are on the rise.” — Saskia Sassen, author of Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

“This book offers a brilliantly original analysis of how migrants have shaped contemporary strategies of urban regeneration—and their contestation—in three marginalized cities. In so doing, the authors also elaborate a pathbreaking approach to the multiscalar, fluidly mutating geographies of migration and a new methodological strategy for spatialized ethnography and comparative migration studies. Migrants and City-Making is a major work of migration studies, urban studies, and sociospatial theory.” — Neil Brenner, author of Critique of Urbanization


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ayse Çaglar is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna and coeditor of Locating Migration: Rescaling Cities and Migrants.

Nina Glick Schiller is Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She is coauthor of Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long-Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home, also published by Duke University Press, and most recently, coeditor of Whose Cosmopolitanism? Critical Perspectives, Relationalities, and Discontents.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction. Multiscalar City-Making and Emplacement: Processes, Concepts, and Methods  1
1. Introducing Three Cities: Similarities despite Difference  33
2. Welcoming Narratives: Small Migrant Businesses within Multiscalar Restructuring  95
3. They Are Us: Urban Sociabillites with Multiscalar Power  121
4. Social Citizenship of the Dispossessed: Embracing Global Christianity  147
5. "Searching Its Future in Its Past": The Multiscalar Emplacement of Returnees  177
Conclusion. Time, Space, and Agency  209
Notes  227
References  239
Index  275
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-7056-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-7044-4
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