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School of Geography

Professor Ash Amin public lecture: Cities and the Ethic of Care Among Strangers

28 October 2010

Time: 6:00 - 7:00pm
Venue: Clinical Medical Lecture Theatre, Francis Bancroft Building

Thinking on the politics of integration in plural and diverse societies has only just begun to recognise how everyday habits of encounter shape feelings of affinity or distance among strangers. In this lecture, Professor Ash Amin will consider the balance between bodily experience of the other and habits of urban dwelling in shaping relations between a city’s diverse communities. He will propose that, although worthy, attempts to break down community barriers through initiatives to bring people from different backgrounds together can only have a limited effect since most people in cities interact only fleetingly or rarely with strangers. Instead, he will make the case for a far broader approach based around building on the shared experiences of people living in an urban environment, involving interventions in a city’s public infrastructure and its cultures of shared concerns and attachments. Professor Amin will warn, however, that little progress will be made unless a new public aversion in the West towards the stranger, which is evolving into a broader sentiment of suspicion about difference, can be overcome.

Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at Durham University and the Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study. He is well known for his work on regional economic restructuring in conditions of globalisation, on reimagining what plural and diverse cities might be, and on the future for left politics. He is the author or editor of 17 books, including Cities: Re-imagining the Urban (2002, with Nigel Thrift), Placing the Social Economy (2002 with Angus Cameron and Ray Hudson) and The Blackwell Cultural Economy Reader (2004, edited with Nigel Thrift). His next book – Political Openings: An Essay on Left Futures (with Nigel Thrift) – is to be published by Duke University Press.

For more information or to reserve your place, please contact Alena Moison at

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