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Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Chiara Basile (joint PhD, university of Torino & VUB). Making arrival: becoming newcomer subjects through the cityness of Brussels

15 June 2017 , Department of Geography, room F4.66, 12.00 -13.00

This seminar presents the framework and the provisional outcomes of a field inquiry of arrival processes in the city of Brussels. It concerns the ways in which newcomer subjectivities are (re)constructed in the process of settling - physically and affectively - in the city, by scrutinising the spatial, temporal and power configurations that emerge in the urban places within which arrival is enacted and negotiated.

Despite the extensive amount of scholarships that have tackled different aspects of international mobility and urban migration, it is argued that those phenomena have been rarely documented for the performative and mutual becomingof both the newcomer subject and the arrival context through their interaction and encounter. Processes of arrival are thus conceived relationally, and for how they affect both the situated recasting of newcomers subjectivities and the changes they foster in the local context in terms of formulations of forms of belonging.

Aiming to delve into this relation and trying to question some of the categorizations through which migrants' arrival are often constructed,  the research investigates different types of arrival trajectories: arrival processes of forced movers, such as asylum seekers and with the ones of free movers, what are often cheerfully called expats, expatriates.
Grounding on the partial analysis of the collected qualitative research data, namely single and double indepth interviews with newcomers combined with different kinds of ethnographic techniques - observation and participation in specific field sites -, the contribution shows evidences of how practices are constructed and performed and how resources are sought and assembled to become new dwellers of Brussels. It highlights the conspicuous effect played out by certain dimensions - such as temporalities - to shed light on the multiple operating mechanisms - and on their unequal functioning - that configure the dynamics between newcomers and their place of settlement.

Chiara Basile - Bio

Chiara is currently conducting a joint Ph.D. between DIST - Politecico and Università di Torino and Cosmopolis - VUB.
She studied Architecture and Urbanism across multiple settings, obtaining a Haute École Polytecnique diploma in 2012 and three Master Degrees in 2013 (Torino, Buenos Aires, Milano). Her following professional experience (2014) took place at the Urban Committee - Barriera di Milano, ERDF Urban regeneration program in Torino. After several years of activism in the student movements, she is actively engaged in designing and realising territorial projects under the name and ethos of "The School of Losing Time". The last one concerned the collective narration of a neighborhood, and a related book, "45 gradi Nord, 7.65 gradi Est, Mirafiori Sud", has just been published.

People involved