Society for Cultural Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper will explore urban subject formation in Sydney, Australia by considering a context of urban development and renewal. I will specifically address urban subject formation by examining works written by scholars such as Dutch-American sociologist, Saskia Sassen, who wrote a number of pieces that explore the development of “global cities” (Sassen 2004, 2009). Sassen’s research provides a framework to understand how these “global cities,” are urban centers that serve as key sites of aggregation of peoples, capital, technology, etc. Moreover, “global cities” exist as de-territorialized cross-border networks that are spaces for innumerable interaction and networking. My paper will consider how the proliferation of such “global cities” has created a space with potential for new kinds of urban subject formation. These types of urban spaces allow for questions about how the quotidian practices of non-state actors (NGOs, indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees) create an unbundling of exclusive state (or structural/structured) authority. If, as Sassen suggests, the practices (Bourdieu 1977; Ortner 1984) of local non-state actors become global through the multiplication of these actions, then how do residents of Sydney experience and use their power and vocality to affect urban renewal processes in Sydney? How does the proliferation of non-state, local entities and the lessening of centralized control over the dispersal of power and capital create new ways of one’s subjectivity formation? By considering these questions, we may begin to understand the dialogic relationship between autonomy and control of the subject.