CFP: [International] Urban Street Vending: Economic Resistance, Integration or Marginalization? / May 15+16, 2009

full name / name of organization:, Center for Metropolitan Studies

Call for Papers
Workshop for Junior Researchers and
Ph.D. Candidates

Urban Street Vending:
Economic Resistance, Integration or Marginalization?
May 15 -16 , 2009, Technical University Berlin

Urban street vending exists in various distributive forms and includes
numerous products: From the mobile selling of food from bikes or trays,
more stabile vending practices from carts, to street table vending, for
instance, of books, CDs and apparel. The selling practices in public space
vary tremendously depending on the particular country, city and
neighborhood, affecting the sellers’ networks, labor conditions and daily
routines. The vendors’ backgrounds are generally equally diverse. In
Germany and the United States, the two focus countries of our workshop, the
majority either have a migrant background and/or are people of color.

In a public space that is on the one hand designed to promote effective
traffic and on the other hand aimed at regulated consumption and leisure,
street vendors are frequently faced with harassment and restrictions. In
contrast, there are also policies that facilitate access to street
entrepreneurialism for certain groups (such as war veterans) â€" whereby
street vending can also be understood as a depository for those
marginalized from the formal labor market. As an alternative source for
neighborhood-specific goods or an economic entry that does not require
extensive capital, urban street selling can also foster social mobility and
local economies.

In response to the so-far scarce research on street vending, this workshop
â€" considering the underlying dimensions of race, class and gender â€" will
focus on its economic conceptualizations, urban visions, cultural
potentials and political challenges.

In a comparative approach, focusing on the German and American metropolis â€"
but also considering selling modes in other cities worldwide â€" we seek to
problematize street vending as a practice that is at the same time
tolerated, restricted and promoted by public policies.

In particular, we would like to examine:

*The economic framing of street vending: Can we talk about an informal or
illicit economy? Moreover, do notions like ethnic and niche economy apply
to the urban selling practices?

*Contemporary and past vending practices: What are the daily routines of
economic survival, labor and entrepreneurship of different vendors in
different cities? How have products, vendors and clients changed in certain
vending locations over the past decades?

*The conflict between street vending as a practice of resistance,
integration or marginalization: Does street vending furthers the
democratization of public space as well as alternative economies, or does
it lead to an exclusion and stigmatization of particular groups?

*The use of public space: What can be considered an appropriate use of
public space for vending purposes, both from the entrepreneur’s and
authorities’ perceptive?

*To what extent does street selling in American cities contributes to
building alternative public spheres (for instance a black public sphere in

*The relations between vending locations, types of products, clients and
vendors: To what extent can vending spaces and economies be considered as

*Representations of street economics: How do different kinds of media deal
with the topic? What kind of images of the profession and its people are

The workshop offers internationally perspectives on street economics
research, featuring keynote presentations by

Mark Naison, Professor of History and African-American Studies at Fordham
University, New York, USA

Alfonso Morales, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University
of Wisconsin at Madison, USA

Kathrin Wildner, Professor of Economic Geography at Viadrina University,
Frankfurt/Oder, Germany

Peter Herrle, Professor of Architecture and Urban Development at the
Technical University of Berlin, Germany (to be confirmed)

Workshop format
The workshop aims at facilitating intense dialogue and exchange among
doctoral students and junior scholars interested in the research on street
economics. This will be reflected in the amount of time in the program
allocated to discussion in a constructive, supportive setting. Participants
have the opportunity to give 15-minute presentations introducing their
research with subsequent discussion or to participate as a discussant
without giving a presentation. There will be a maximum of 20 participants.
Workshop language is English.

We invite papers presenting theoretical and/or empirical contributions from
a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives on street
economics, regarding one of the questions above.

Submitted papers should
* be directly related to one of the major topics of the workshop
* present current research

Papers should not exceed 2,500 words and include an abstract of no more
than 300 words.
It is expected that selected papers will be published in some form after
the workshop.

Application for presenters / discussants
Presenters: Please submit a short CV and a less than 300 word proposal in
English for your presentation.
Discussants: Please submit a short description of your background and
motivation to participate in the workshop.

Please send in applications no later than 22nd February 2009 to the
following address: Applicants will
be notified via e-mail by mid-March 2009.
The conference will take place at the Center for Metropolitan Studies,
Technical University Berlin, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin, Germany.
The conference language is English. The participation fee will be 15 â'¬.
Unfortunately, the Center for Metropolitan Studies cannot offer travel
grants. Travel and accommodation expenses are responsibility of individual
participants. However, we can support you with recommendations and
information regarding your stay in Berlin.

Noa Ha ( and
Kristina Graaff (,
Center for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin, Germany

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Received on Wed Jan 21 2009 - 09:07:33 EST