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We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is development studies and decolonising development.

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New Frontiers of Urban Informality Research: call for papers

12 to 13 September 2024 at the University of Sheffield
Organised by: DSA Urbanisation and Development Study Group

Workshop overview and objectives

Informality is a defining feature of contemporary urbanism. Growing attention from interdisciplinary scholars greatly enriched our understanding of the origins and evolution of urban informality, the forms that it takes, and its impacts upon politics, institutions, livelihoods, and everyday life, particularly in the Global South. At the same time, the actions of governments, civil society, and international organizations have put questions about informality firmly on the policy agenda. This workshop aims to build on these trends by bringing together practitioners and researchers whose work explores urban informality from a range of disciplinary perspectives and in different settings, providing a unique opportunity to share insights on urban informality and to help establish a network that can facilitate further research and collaboration. In particular, it has the following objectives:

  • To share innovative approaches to studying urban informality in its various dimensions (political, economic, housing, infrastructure, etc.);
  • To provide a platform for established and emerging scholars as well as practitioners working across interdisciplinary boundaries and fields;
  • To organise a Special Issue advancing earlier Special Issues on informality; and
  • To consolidate a network of urban informality scholars and practitioners.

We welcome submissions that speak to one of our three planned thematic panels:

  1. Scoping Informality: cross-sectoral engagements with urban informality, including climate change, land, infrastructure, services, housing, labour, finance, and/or taxation.
  2. Scrutinizing Informality: processes and outcomes of informality including politics, conflicts, exclusions, gendered or other inequalities, and/or rights violations.
  3. Studying Informality: innovative and/or interdisciplinary theories, concepts and methodologies to enhance understandings of urban informality.

Submission Deadline of 5th April 2024: Please send an abstract of up to 250 words to the workshop organisers (emails in links at the top of this page), highlighting your paper’s fit and contribution to one of the proposed panels above. We welcome relevant proposals from any disciplinary background and geographical scope, as well as practice-based contributions.

Brief Note on Funding and Participants: We aim to cover accommodation, transport, and meals for 20 participants. However, if funds are insufficient, we will prioritise participation for PhD students and ECRs.