At the conference ‘Exploring the Transnational Neighbourhood: Integration, Community, and Co-Habitation’ at University College Dublin Sandra Ponzanesi gave a keynote lecture on ‘Digital Cosmpolitanism. Local Networks and Transnational Communities’. The conference was organized by the Humanities Institute (UCD) and the School of Advanced Studies (University of London), and took place on September 25-26, 2019.
Transnational neighbourhoods are frequently depicted as the ‘other’ and a ‘deviant terrain’. However, voices from within often emphasise different perceptions and have the potential to challenge and counter discourses emerging in the context of the rapid rise of populist right-wing parties across Europe that aim to reinstate or “protect” ethnic nationalism.
Against this backdrop, the conference seeked to shift focus by exploring transcultural encounters in the urban neighbourhood. The conference focused on the urban neighbourhood as a social microcosm that allows for a more nuanced discussion of transculturality as lived practice. The urban neighbourhood is local but not provincial; it is a fluid space in which various temporal and spatial axes intersect; it is the locus where diverse trans/cultural practices can engender togetherness as well as differences and conflict. It is the contact zone where disparate cultures meet in often highly asymmetrical relations, fostering processes of hybridisation, creolisation and neoculturation.