City, street and citizen: the measure of the ordinary

Book launch hosted by LSE Cities and LSE Sociology Forum

Launching her new book, Suzi Hall asks how we can learn from a multicultural society if we don’t know how to recognise it? The contemporary city is more than ever a space for the intense convergence of diverse individuals who shift in and out of its urban terrains. The city street is perhaps the most prosaic of the city’s public parts, allowing us a view of the very ordinary practices of life and livelihoods. By attending to the expressions of conviviality and contestation, ‘City, Street and Citizen’ offers an alternative notion of ‘multiculturalism’ away from the ideological frame of nation, and away from the moral imperative of community. Through her subtle observations, Hall gives a powerful account of the lived realities of allegiance, participation and belonging from the base of Walworth Road, a multi-ethnic street in south London.

Listen now to a recording of Suzi Hall’s book launch.

Suzanne Hall (April 2012) City, Street and Citizen: The measure of the ordinary, London: Routledge

Photo courtesy of Axel Drainville,


    Suzanne Hall

    Suzanne Hall is an urban ethnographer and has practised as an architect in South Africa. Her research and teaching interests focus on everyday formations of global migration in the context of inequality, discrimination and resistance, particularly migrant economies and urban multi-culture. From 1997 to 2003 her practice engaged with the role of design in marginalised and racially segregated areas in Cape Town. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the 2006 Venice Architectural Biennale, and the 2005 Sao Paulo Biennale of Architecture and Design. She was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant (2015–2017) for a comparative project on ‘Super-diverse Streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities’, which emerges out of her LSE Cities research project on ‘Ordinary Streets’. She is a recipient of an LSE Teaching Award (2017), the Phillip Leverhulme Prize (2017), the LSE’s Robert McKenzie PhD Prize (2010), and the Rome Scholarship in Architecture (1998–1999). Suzi is author of City, Street and Citizen (2012), and The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century City, co-edited with Ricky Burdett (2017).

    Caroline Knowles

    Caroline writes about migration and circulations of material objects – some of the social forces constituting globalization. Author of many books and papers, she has done research in a variety of international cities. Caroline specializes in visual, spatial and biographical methods, often working with photographers and artists. Her most recent book, Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation’s Backroads, is published by Pluto Press in 2014 in connection with a website that displays the flip-flop trail through the photography of artist Michael Tan.

    Claire Alexander

    Reader in Sociology, LSE.