Call for Papers: Street Vending and the Dynamics of Modern Urbanization


Research Workshop

Street Vending and the Dynamics of Modern Urbanization,

23.-24.11.2018, Inderdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO), Franfurt am Main

Street vending as a form of micro capitalism is a phenomenon of both traditional as well as modern urban economies. Peddlers adapt easily to local situations and demands, while they are spatially close to customers. Often embedded in trade networks ranging from the local to the global level, they are able to bring the newest trends to the farthest corner of a city. In many respects, street vendors can be considered a symbol of a “late modern” form of flexibility, glocalization, individualized choices and risks. Thus, it is no wonder that in the 21st century, street vendors have not disappeared but rather started to spread to metropolises in the global south and north. However, many state agents perceive street vending as a residuum of a traditional, backward economy. In many emerging economies, peddlers are considered as unruly and in need to be regulated, confined or even disbanded in favour of a more “rational” and “clean” urban modernity. In this clash of interests between city governments, citizens and vendors, the fierce contestation of urban public spaces becomes an almost daily spectacle.

Considering this importance of street vending in urban politics, economy and everyday life, it is surprising how little attention social scientists have given to the overall phenomenon as of yet. Depending on the perspective, peddlers are either marginalized, or the analyses are lost in the conventional separation of academic disciplines. Our workshop will provide a platform to discuss street vending in the context of modernization and urbanization from multiple points of view. We invite scholars coming from different disciplines and regional foci. The aim is to compare, to add to and to question the established knowledge and theories on urban street vending. Contributions may explore (but don’t have to be limited to) its role in regard to:

– discourses on modernity and/or urbanization
– urban governance and spatial negotiations
– the relation between globalization and localization
– new technologies and the emergence of smart cities

Bringing together various experts, the workshop is oriented towards publication to voice the new findings and contributions in a special issue on street vending in a peer-reviewed journal. Please submit your English abstract of not more than 300 words as well as a CV of maximal one page to the following email address: The deadline for applications is 30.08.2018. Your draft paper should reach us until 09.11.2018. Invited participants may receive limited financial support for their travel expenses and accommodations. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the above email address.

Workshop Organizers:
Ryanne Flock, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Dr. Marius Meinhof, Universität Bielefeld