Everyday Equalities

Making Multicultures in Settler Colonial Cities

2019
Authors:

Ruth Fincher, Kurt Iveson, Helga Leitner, and Valerie Preston

A timely new look at coexisting without assimilating in multicultural cities

In Everyday Equalities, four leading scholars in critical urban geography come together to deliver a powerful message about the meaning of equality in contemporary cities. Drawing on both theoretical reflection and urban ethnographic research, they offer the formulation “being together in difference as equals” as a normative frame to reimagine the meaning and pursuit of equality in today’s urban multicultures.

At a historical conjuncture marked by the renewal of white nationalism, Everyday Equalities makes a vitally important contribution to an urban studies increasingly attuned to the present history of settler-colonialisms. Thinking across key sites, this book builds a rigorous and richly detailed argument about geographies of difference and the praxis of the everyday. This is a rare and welcome feat.

Ananya Roy, coeditor of Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World

If city life is a “being together of strangers,” what forms of being together should we strive for in cities with ethnic and racial diversity? Everyday Equalities seeks evidence of progressive political alternatives to racialized inequality that are emerging from everyday encounters in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, and Toronto—settler colonial cities that, established through efforts to dispossess and eliminate indigenous societies, have been destinations for waves of immigrants from across the globe ever since.

Everyday Equalities finds such alternatives being developed as people encounter one another in the process of making a home, earning a living, moving around the city, and forming collective actions or communities. Here four leading scholars in critical urban geography come together to deliver a powerful and cohesive message about the meaning of equality in contemporary cities. Drawing on both theoretical reflection and urban ethnographic research, they offer the formulation “being together in difference as equals” as a normative frame to reimagine the meaning and pursuit of equality in today’s urban multicultures.

As the examples in Everyday Equalities indicate, much emotional labor, combined with a willingness to learn from each other, negotiate across differences, and agitate for change goes into constructing environments that foster being together in difference as equals. Importantly, the authors argue, a commitment to equality is not only a hope for a future city but also a way of being together in the present.

Ruth Fincher is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne.

Kurt Iveson is associate professor of urban geography at the University of Sydney.

Helga Leitner is professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Valerie Preston is professor of geography at York University.

At a historical conjuncture marked by the renewal of white nationalism, Everyday Equalities makes a vitally important contribution to an urban studies increasingly attuned to the present history of settler-colonialisms. Thinking across key sites, this book builds a rigorous and richly detailed argument about geographies of difference and the praxis of the everyday. This is a rare and welcome feat.

Ananya Roy, coeditor of Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World

The authors have written a rich and engaging text that offers readers a praxis of equality in difference, produced through sustained encounters in service of a politics of social justice and anti-racism. Written at a time of rising hate speech and virulent racist, anti-immigrant acts across cities and continents, this book highlights the political potentials of everyday practices of being together in specific urban multicultures. This book is a must-read!

Victoria Lawson, University of Washington

The reader is instilled with belief and optimism that social organizing around common needs holds great potential for changing the fabric of society one relationship at a time. This book is a solid contribution to the field of urban studies, and the knowledge it contributes is important to the perspective of practitioners of urban policy planning.

Progressive City

It is more than refreshing to find a scholarly book with a message of hope, albeit a carefully calibrated message.

Journal of Planning Education and Research

By focusing on globally pervasive patterns of discrimination against immigrants and investigating their possible remedies at a microlevel, the four geographers are asking their readers to drop the blinkers of privilege. Their earnest and carefully documented efforts pay close and respectful attention to what people actually do in their daily lives in the city.

H-Net Reviews

Contents


Acknowledgments


Introduction: Everyday Urban Multicultures: Encountering Difference, Enacting Equality


1. Encounters with Difference in the Urban Everyday: A Relational Approach


2. The Political Potential of Encounters: Being Together in Difference as Equals


3. Making a Home in Melbourne


4. Working for a Living in Toronto


5. Moving Around the City in Sydney


6. Making Publics in Los Angeles


Conclusion: Toward a Praxis of Everyday Equalities


Notes


Bibliography


Index