Camp-bivalence: Civil Society, Race, and Inclusion/Exclusion in Urban Europe

In a world economy increasingly detached from democratic control, social inequalities are not only skyrocketing but also reproducing in highly complex and diversified ways. Cities, in this scenario, are becoming more polarized and unequal, and urban planning and development seem all too often unable to respond to citizens' needs and claims for rights. As a consequence, processes of social exclusion and inclusion often happen outside state schemes, and they may be predicated upon visions which are not necessarily consistent with past actions and present views.

The research critically examines the role of Civil Society Organisations, race and state in various processes of inclusion and exclusion in Rome, Greater Birmingham, Berlin and Bucharest. The empirical focus is on one particular location in each capital, that is directly related to one of the three historically "others" of Europe, i.e. Romanies (Rome and Greater Birmingham), refugees and asylum seekers (Berlin) and Muslims (Bucharest). In doing so, the research uncovers the multiple ways in which dominant urban planning conceptions and dominant of social heterogeneity have been intersecting across Europe over the last three decades.

Theoretically Camp-bivalence engages the notions of "camp" and "ambivalence", and develops a framework for analysing and representing processes of in/exclusion in cities globally. Ultimately, the project develops a number of conversations about the varied and variable entanglements of race/racism and urban planning in contemporary Europe, textured by increasingly ambivalent notions of in/exclusion and integration. These conversations have to date received relatively little attention.

The European and global horzion of the study emerges both from its long term historical perspective on urban planning as a colonial invention, and from analytically detecting connections between the four case studies and several other cases across the Global South-North divide. 

Camp-bivalence provides a unique opportunity for Civil Society Organisations, journalists and policymakers for capturing increasingly fast and complex urban transformations in a sharper more context-sensitive and comprehensive way. It serves as a critical and heuristic framework for analyses and commentaries that focus on social inclusion, integration, incorporation and also exclusion, marginalisation and isolation. Ultimately, Camp-bivalence contributes to make the logic of current urban transformations more intelligible.