Copenhagen, Denmark

New Urban Life Across the Globe: Activism and Change in a World of Cities

when 23 July 2018 - 3 August 2018
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee DKK 1875

This IARU Global Summer Program is presented by the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Centre of African Studies and the Department of Sociology, the University of Copenhagen.

For the first time in human history, more people now live in cities than outside them, and many of the major political contestations of the 21st Century occur in urban settings. Recent years have thus seen a surge in new urban-based political and social movements, experiments in local governance, innovative forms of protest, activism and grassroots initiatives in cities and smaller towns spanning from Barcelona to Istanbul, Hong Kong to Detroit, and Bogotá to Cape Town. Uniting these trends is the belief that the state and traditional political and social institutions cannot meet all the needs arising from urbanization, or that real societal change must begin from below.

These developments demand a new ontology of the political that “sees like a city” and pays attention to urban political life as both localized and globalized, as well as a new epistemology of “the urban” that can take into account the diverse field of politics emerging in cities.

Target group


Course aim

Students are expected to:

Complete the required reading before the course begins;
Conduct a short ethnographic fieldwork study with the aid of online lectures and tutorials;
Attend all sessions;
Actively participate in discussions and field trips.
The program seeks to cultivate a knowledge of:

Relevant problems in the study of the relationship between cities, politics and change;
Central aspects of activism in urban settings;
Scholarly and methodical approaches to the cultural and social analysis of urban activism.
Students should develop general skills in:

Applying relevant theories, methods and tools of the program in a defined case study;
Identifying, analyzing and understanding the potentials and challenges in the political and social life of a city or an urban space;
Approaching the processes and phenomena related to political change in cities from a cross-cultural and comparative perspective.
Students will be trained in:

Using ethnographic method to document political activism and change in an urban setting in relation to a defined case study;
Generating knowledge and analysis on the studied topic in its political, social and cultural context;
Discussing the findings in relation to cross-cultural and comparative perspectives.

Fee info

DKK 1875: EU/EEA/Swiss applicants

Students nominated as exchange student through the home university's exchange agreement with the University of Copenhagen
DKK 9375: Non-EU/EEA/Swiss applicants

Students nominated as exchange student through the home university's exchange agreement with the University of Copenhagen