Stigma to Brand Conference Programme announced

From Stigma to Brand:
Commodifying and Aestheticizing Urban Poverty and Violence

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, February 16-18, 2017

The preliminary programme has now been published and can be downloaded  here.

For attendance, please register at stigma2brand (at)

Posters presenting on-going research projects related to the conference theme are welcome.


Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr (LMU Munich, Germany)
Prof. Dr. Rivke Jaffe (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Gareth Jones (London School of Economics and Politics, UK)

This conference investigates the motives, processes and effects of the commodification and global representation of urban poverty and violence. Cities have often hidden from view those urban areas and populations stigmatized as poor, dirty and dangerous. However, a growing range of actors actively seek to highlight the existence and appeal of “ghettos”, “slums” and “no-go areas”, in attempts to attract visitors, investors, cultural producers, media and civil society organisations. In cities across the world, processes of place-making and place-marketing increasingly resignify urban poverty and violence to indicate authenticity and creativity. From “slum tourism” to “favela chic” parties and “ghetto fabulous” fashion, these economic and representational practices often approach urban deprivation as a viable brand rather than a mark of shame.

The conference explores how urban misery is transformed into a consumable product. It seeks to understand how the commodification and aestheticization of violent, impoverished urban spaces and their residents affects urban imaginaries, the built environment, local economies and social relations.

What are the consequences for cities and their residents when poverty and violence are turned into fashionable consumer experiences? How is urban space transformed by these processes and how are social relationships reconfigured in these encounters? Who actually benefits when social inequality becomes part of the city’s spatial perception and place promotion?
We welcome papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, geography, sociology, and urban studies.

Keynote speakers:

  • Lisa Ann Richey (Roskilde University)
  • Kevin Fox Gotham (Tulane University)


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