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Immigration, territoriality and urban conflicts: subsidies for their musealization

Abstract

Migration flows indelibly and structurally mark the major world cities. Its urban cultures were built on a vast arsenal of images and representations that refer, incessantly, and in an extremely varied way, to its cosmopolitanism. And this forged and continues forging social dynamics, collective behaviors, urban identities, which prove challenging even to the patrimonial sphere. For its mission is to watch over the collections capable of documenting such dynamics and overcome the concealment of the presence of immigration in museums, public archives, and the protection of the patrimony in a broad sense: the urban spaces marked by immigration, in every metropolis of the world. On the one hand, the ethnic neighborhoods and ethnic shops, the incorporation of foreign idioms to the local language, the adoption of recipes to the gastronomy constitute a set of vectors that provide immigrant visibilities to the public space. In the other hand, however, multi-ethnic neighborhoods, and the residential and professional dispersion of certain groups, the lack of ethnic niches in the labor market, or the absence of linguistic and culinary adoptions, cause invisibility which consequences are no less important than those linked to visibility. Not to mention that those immigration contributions, whether they raise visibilities or invisibilities, are not necessarily linked to the real urban presence of a group: extremely small groups may seem much more representative, by contrast of their differences with the local society, than others, far more numerous. And the complexity of the crossing between migrations and urban dynamics does not end in the forms of incidence of migratory flows over urban space: conversely, urban dynamics also mark the lives of immigrants. Regulatory urban occupation and circulation rules facilitate or impede access to housing and work for newcomers, favoring, permitting or hindering ethnic concentration and professional activities. Not to mention that, in many cases, such norms leave much room for improvisation, for social practices that only exist in the interstices of norms. This dual movement between immigration and urban dynamics has a considerable social impact. The fine understanding of these processes allows us to decode urbanity in all its complexity, and to respond critically to the enormous political repercussions that migratory phenomena cause. Thus, the present project has as its central objective to proceed in this dual perspective, simultaneously and alternatively focusing on the urban space and its migratory groups, in order to understand their interactions and their intersections. To do so, I will pursue an ongoing research on the presence of São Paulo Japanese immigrants in the Liberdade neighborhood, a paradigmatic example of ethnic neighborhood, which provides a particularly eloquent case study. From these research perspective, I intend to work with the teams of Museu Paulista, with a double objective, linked to two dimensions of the curatorial cycle: regarding the acquisition of new collections, the aim is to work together to define criteria for the establishment of a collection policy relating to immigrants who built the metropolis (one of the greatest gaps in the museum's collections), and, regarding to dissemination, to formulate the general lines of a short-term exhibition on Liberdade as an ethnic district that will be presented after the reopening of the museum (indicatively on may 2024). In this exhibition, the double perspective mentioned before will make it possible to understand Liberdade as an urban space marked, on the one hand, by the high visibility of the Japanese immigrants, an ethnic group that claimed and continues to claim a strong link with this neighborhood, in collective ways and, on the other hand, the concealment of the multiethnic character of the neighborhood. (AU)

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