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The role of mobility and transnationality for local marketplaces

2023, Menet, Joanna, Dahinden, Janine

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Re-producing public space: the changing everyday production of outdoor retail markets

2022-5-3, Menet, Joanna, Dahinden, Janine

In 2020, nation states across Europe restricted access to, and use of, public space to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As almost all public spaces in Europe were consequently affected by restrictive measures, so too did outdoor retail markets drastically change. Some had to close down completely, whereas others operated under the sway of severe limitations for traders and customers. By re-engaging with the work of the late Michael Sorkin, it could be argued that the effects of COVID-19 add another dimension to the “end” or “death” of public space. In this paper, we shift attention to the tactics and strategies of one category of public figures behind the everyday production of markets, the traders, to show that markets in Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands did not simply stop functioning as public spaces. Rather, they took on different forms that extended spatially beyond their physical boundaries. These transformations allowed for the continuation of the social and political dimensions of public space.

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Placing regimes of mobilities beyond state-centred perspectives and international mobility: the case of marketplaces

2023, Janine Dahinden, Jónsson, Gunvor, Joanna Menet, Joris Schapendonk, Van Eck, Emil

Scholars have scrutinized the state-centered and sedentarist foundations of social sciences that pitch ‘mobilities’ against ‘places’ by arguing that places and mobilities always co-constitute each other. Contributing to this debate, this article deploys the concept of ‘regimes of mobilities’ to study how mobilities are not only ‘placed’, but also entangled in, and shaped by, different power systems. By regimes of mobilities we understand all the mechanisms that differentiate mobilities into categories and hierarchies. This article argues that linking the concept of regimes of mobilities to the study of places can help illuminate how the ordering and differentiation of diverse forms of mobilities play out in the everyday realities of particular places. We empirically demonstrate this argument through the study of outdoor markets in three European countries: the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands. We delineate different regimes of mobilities that together shape both access to, and the production of, markets. We conclude that the concept of regimes of mobilities helps to identify this intersection of multiple systems of rules, regulations and norms. Hence, the concepts allows one to direct attention systematically to the different power systems that affect the supposedly ‘mundane’ mobilities that constitute place and the skills required to navigate the related dynamics.

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Knowledge production, reflexivity, and the use of categories in migration studies: tackling challenges in the field

2020-4-22, Dahinden, Janine, Fischer, Carolin, Menet, Joanna

Recent debates in migration studies target the non-reflexive use of categories that derive from nation-state- and ethnicity-centred epistemologies. However, what a category is and how categorization works remain undertheorized. Our paper addresses this gap. Through a qualitative study on experiences of Othering among migrant descendants in Zurich (CH) and Edinburgh (UK), we scrutinize the perspectival, political, and performative nature of categories. We show how the persons informing our study were highly reflexive when using the category migrant descendant: They contested, negotiated, and navigated it in multiple ways. Although this specific category is firmly embedded in the “national order of things”, it ultimately proved to be inclusive. We argue that reflexivity in the field can not only create space for the often-muted voices of research participants, but also helps to overcome important pitfalls that derive from issues of legitimacy, representation, and power relations in scientific knowledge production.

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Moving marketplaces: Understanding public space from a relational mobility perspective

2022-8-1, Menet, Joanna, Dahinden, Janine

Research on outdoor retail markets has focused on the diverse ways in which markets constitute public spaces where diversity and social inclusion coexist with conflict and reproduction of inequalities. This approach has prompted existing studies to focus on place-politics in terms of group- and spatially-bounded processes. In this paper, we take a relational mobility perspective to show that markets are not delineated and fixed entities. By approaching them as spaces in-flux, we are sensitive to the ways markets are continuously made and remade anew each operating day. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in four European countries (the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), we argue that 1) the practice of mobility is key to understand how markets come into being; and 2) a mobility approach opens up new questions regarding (unequal) power relations in the production of public space as it articulates the ‘relational politics of (im)mobilities’. Although the locality of markets tends to be emphasised as a sign of quality in governmental and public imaginations, we illustrate that the coming-into-being of markets depends on social, material and institutional relations coming from elsewhere.