AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist and research professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and visiting professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, visiting professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, research associate with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta, and research fellow at the University of Tarumanagara.
For three decades I have worked with practices of social interchange, technical arrangements, local economy, and the constitution of power relations that affect how heterogeneous African and Southeast Asian cities are lived. I have worked on remaking municipal systems, training local government personnel, designing collaborative partnerships among technicians, residents, artists, and politicians.
Above all, the focus of these efforts has to been to build viable institutions capable of engaging with the complexities of life across the so-called "majority world." My work deals with a multiplicity of propositions and capacities for relationships that remain untapped in popular districts across urban Asia and Africa, even though they are deployed everyday. This is not a matter of celebrating the informal; it is not a matter of the subaltern getting their due. This is discovering the incipient formation of new cities and urban regions in the intricate relational meshes of how things get done, a city and region that are more inclusive and which maximize the resourcefulness of their inhabitants, that suggest new ways for institutions to concretely connect with their constituents, and for the practices of residents to inform the operations of those very institutions. Recently, I have completed an initial phase of a study looking at ways in which youth in different cities imagine their future urban lives and the practices they put to work in dealing with increasing uncertainty and the simultaneous openings and closures of spaces of maneuver.
For many years I have been training a new generation of young urban researchers, paying particular attention to low income community residents attempting to make their political organizations better able to address the spatial redevelopments that further marginalize their possibilities of livelihood.
In Jakarta I work with residents in three large central city districts to examine changing forms of collective life. The objective is to explore how long-term complementarities and collaboration can be renovated and built upon in face of urban policies and political agendas that threaten to spatially and socially disentangle them.
See the Smuts Memorial Lectures on the Postcolonial delivered at Cambridge University, November 2017.
Links of Affiliations:
African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town info
Rujak Center for Urban Studies info
AbdouMaliq Simone blogs at Villes-Noires, located at: