Languaging Diversity 4: Discourse and Diversity in the Global City

Date: 27-Sep-2018 – 29-Sep-2018
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact: Paul Sambre
Meeting URL:

Meeting Description:
Discourses in/of/about the city vibrantly conceptualize, narrate and imagine the past, present and future of a city and its citizens. The city’s status, character, spirit and image are constantly imagined, reproduced and framed in private and public communication. In urban discourse languages, identities and subcultures meet, as old and new inhabitants interact with temporary visitors and guests. Accordingly, alternative city images may arise, as existing discourse representations of cities are recontextualized and transformed in other visions about the city and citizenship. This process implies utopian or dystopian views on the city, as discourse zooms in on challenges, problems and possible solutions over time. Discourse as such displays different social actors evolving around urban life, which gives an insight into to attitudes, opinions and sentiments about the city. In global cities, social experience, spaces and activities are lived through the linguascape of complex multilingual, multisensory and multimodal repertoires, as citizens’ identities and (absence of) interactions cross borders which connect different languages, time, space and semiotic modes.

This conference brings together interdisciplinary research about discourse(s) in global cities, and wishes to analyze and discuss commonalities and distinctiveness between urban areas, conceived of as networks of spatial and symbolic nodal points and peripheral zones. The interdisciplinary focus looks for discussions and connections which involve the broad field of discourse studies and correlated issues.


Giuseppe Balirano (University of Naples  »L’Orientale »)
New criminal borderscapes in old urban cityscapes

Jan Blommaert (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Contingency and structure in a superdiverse Antwerp neighborhood

Christopher Hart (Lancaster University, United Kingdom)
Discourses of Disorder: Representations of Riots, Strikes and Protests in Globalised Cities

Maria Cristina Paganoni (University of Milan, Italy)
Heritage in diverse cities: a discursive perspective