Vital Cities and Citizens

Team

Asya Pisarevskaya - Postdoctoral researcher Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Asya Pisarevskaya

    The project ‘Cities of Migration’ studies the relationship between different configurations of migration diversity in cities and modes of urban governance. The aim of the study is to determine if there is a connection between the type of diversity in a city and the way local authorities address the issues of migrants’ integration and social cohesion. If this connection exists, the study will map its nature and underlying mechanisms.

    Research profile Aysa Pisarevskaya

Anne van Eldik - PhD candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • The research of Anne van Eldik focuses on urban media engagement. The study investigates young people's social media use, from consumption to creative media production, in relation to the construction and negotiation of their urban identity.  This research project is supervised by Prof. Dr  Jeroen Jansz, Prof.  Dr Liesbet van Zoonen, and Dr Julia Kneer.

    Research profile Anne van Eldik

Cathy Wilcock - Postdoctoral researcher International Institute of Social Studies

  • Cathy Wilcock

    Dr Cathy Wilcock has a background in critical development studies. In her research she has taken a politico-sociological approach to the nexus of migration and political participation. In her PhD research she examined the roles diaspora groups play in post-conflict peacebuilding, focusing on a case study of UK-based Sudanese activists. At ISS she continues her work on political belonging in the context of forced migration. In one project, which is part of the Vital Cities and Citizens Initiative at EUR, she looks at citizenship practices of migrants in home and host states. Furthermore, she assists the Prince Claus Chair Ali Bilgic in his work on human security and migration. Dr Cathy Wilcock’s research interests lie in the forms of political belonging which emerge when migrants engage in claim-making in both their home countries and host states. She is particularly interested in exploring these questions in the context of migration within and from the Horn of Africa.

    Research profile Cathy Wilcock

Donna de Maat - PhD candidate Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Donna de Maat

    In her PhD project Donna de Maat examines resilience factors in children exposed to a stressful family life. The negative consequences of adverse experiences, including socio-economic strains or negative life events, are well established. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that facilitate resilience to these experiences. More insight into resilience factors in both children and parents is needed to develop more effective interventions.

    Research profile Donna de Maat

Dewi D. Kanters - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Dewi D. Kanters

    Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of vital cities. The research of Dewi Kanters investigates emerging resilience, engagement / well-being, and (business) performance among entrepreneurs and their spouses.

    Research profile Dewi Kanters

Prof. dr. Erik Hans Klijn - Full Professor Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • In a time where social problems in cities have become very wicked and society has become more diverse, governments are searching for new governance strategies that can deal with the changing relation between citizens and governments (less top-down steering and more interactive governance), and address the diversity and emotions in society. Public branding is one of the new and promising upcoming governance strategies. A brand is a deliberately developed symbolic construct to identify a phenomenon and differentiate it from similar phenomena by adding particular meaning to it (Eshuis and Klijn, 2012). Public brands can be used to bind people (creating brand loyalty through establishing emotional bonds), activate people, and communicate with media.

    Branding processes can be organised in participatory ways if stakeholders are involved in the development of brand elements or underlying brand values. An example is the creation of the brand for the community of Katendrecht in Rotterdam, or the participatory branding of Seoul. Interactive branding allows citizens to contribute to the image, develop a shared brand identity, and for instance, add or upload their own contributions to the brand (video’s, short impressions of the cities, events in the neighborhood etc.).

    In this way brand communities can be created (Muniz and O’Guin 2001). Communities are groups of people who feel they have a shared identity by sharing particular symbols. Brands also play a role in identity processes at individual level because individuals can use brands to build their personal identity. But building brand communities also creates more resilience. Brands can mobilise people, enhance and sustain participation and collective action to tackle social problems. In that sense, they contribute to society’s governance capacity to tackle social problems and support self-organisation rather than governance by public organizations. 

    This subproject of the Vital Cities and Citizens initiative aims to explore three important aspects of public branding in relation to identity and resilience of citizens and cities:

    1. How can public branding increase participation in decision-making processes about societal problems in the city and contribute to effective dealing with social problems?
    2. How do brands contribute in enhancing the identity of the city and its inhabitants?
    3. What are the effects of brands on (place) identification and trust with citizens?

    To answer these questions several research methodologies will be used: experiments, case studies, q-sort and QCA analysis.

    Research profile Prof. dr. Erik Hans Klijn

Jaffer Latief Najar - PhD Researcher International Institute of Social Studies

  • Jaffer Latief Najar primarily works on the issue of human trafficking. In his current project this issue is studied in South Asian countries in relation to the concepts of agency, vulnerabilities and citizenship. The aim of the project is to understand the experiences and perspectives of people who have experienced trafficking with regard to their livelihood, daily struggles, their perceptions and the various policy response mechanisms to human trafficking. 

    In addition, the issue is examined in relation to migrants, who find themselves in a twilight zone, as they can be defined not only as migrants but also as people who have experienced trafficking. The project will shed light on their experience in cosmopolitan cities.

    The previous activities of Jaffer Latief Najar include: leading the research part of a national research and policy project on the issue of human trafficking in India across various states and union territories. The project was a collaboration between UNODC, UN Women, the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development, the National Commission for Women, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Trusts and the National Human Rights Commission of the government of India. Furthermore, Mr Najar contributed to the development of a legislative policy on the issue of human trafficking, working with the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development. Recently, this policy has passed the lower house of the Indian Parliament.  

    Research profile Jaffer Latief Najar

Karen Klijnhout - PhD candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • The PhD project of Karen Klijnhout is called ‘Competing conceptions of city culture and cultural diversity’. The project studies the urban cultural public sphere, examining the connection between city culture and cultural diversity. The main questions of this study are: how are conceptions about city culture and cultural diversity combined in discourses and how do these discourses sustain or challenge the boundaries of the established, publicly supported urban arts and culture scene? 

    Research profile Karen Klijnhout

Lise Zurné - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • Zurne, Lise

    Lise Zurné is a PhD candidate in historical culture. She has obtained a BSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at VU Amsterdam and a Master’s degree in Visual Anthropology at Leiden University, cum laude. Her current research project compares three urban historical re-enactments in the period 1940-1950 in Indonesia, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    Historical re-enactments, the often theatrical and festive portrayals of historical events, are usually seen as merely entertaining: they are perceived as a hobby. Academic historians are often sceptical of such practices. But what do re-enactments tell us about the way people interpret the past? What happens when ‘historical reality’ and imagination merge? Scholars in the field of re-enactment studies argue that these practices can actually contribute to gaining insights into the politics of representation and democratic diffusion of knowledge.

    The aim of the study of Lise Zurné is to understand the relationship between re-enactments and urban history, and different perspectives and narratives of the same historical period. Thus, insights into different cultural norms in regard to authenticity and ‘ownership’ in representing the past are expected to be obtained. The project is part of the Research Excellence Initiative: “War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts.”  

    Research profile Lise Zurné

Miranda C. Lutz-Landesbergen - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Miranda Lutz-Landesbergen

    The study of Miranda C. Lutz-Landesbergen focuses on neurocognitive functions of adolescents and social stressors. The main research question of this study is: how do social stressors impact neurocognitive functions of adolescents? Social stressors, for instance social network problems, affect the ability to regulate social behaviour. Social stressors can be a risk factor for antisocial behaviour, such as aggression.

    The research population of this study consists of healthy children and males who are at risks of antisocial behaviour. By studying social stressors and neurocognitive functions such as inhibition (which is the ability to suppress stimuli) among these groups, it can be determined how social stressors can  contribute to the development of antisocial behaviour.

    Research profile Miranda C. Lutz-Landesbergen

Dr. Robbert-Jan Adriaansen - Assistant Professor in the Theory of History and Historical Culture ESHCC

  • Dr. Robbert-Jan Adriaansen is interested in historical reenactments which play an increasingly important role in the construction of identities of urban communities. Reenactments are staged for commemorative, educational or leisure purposes. They involve a vast network of associations which are committed to reenact various historical themes and periods. Furthermore, they stage historical events or recreate entire battles. Despite the rapidly growing popularity of historical reenactments, scholars often renounce the phenomenon, as they do not consider it a as a serious part of contemporary historical culture. According to them, reenactment focuses too much on the accuracy of historical details while overarching historical structures and connections are not taken into consideration. Consequently, they argue, reenactments tend to perpetuate stereotypes and historical mythologies.

    Despite the fact that this is valid criticism, according to scholars who have another perspective on the phenomenon, one can also regard reenactments as ways to reinforce a traditional hierarchy. Historiography can use them as a normative benchmark to study historical conduct and gain understanding of history.

    The research project in which Dr Robbert-Jan Adriaansen is involved aims to develop a new paradigm for the study of historical reenactments that goes beyond the normative approach. Rather than considering reenactments as imperfect or outright dangerous forms of historical representation, they will be regarded as forms of historical simulation and as such they will be studied. Play theory will be applied to study urban historical reenactments. Thus, the dynamics of identification will be demonstrated as well as the way significance is created, which otherwise would remain unrevealed if traditional approaches to study historical representation were to be applied.

    Research profile Dr Robbert-Jan Adriaansen

Shirley Nieuwland - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • Shirley Nieuwland

    The research project of Shirley Nieuwland focuses on the role of local and creative entrepreneurs in the development of more sustainable forms of urban tourism. The project includes research topics such as urban development, (urban) tourism, the sharing economy, the creative city and gentrification processes.

    Research profile Shirley Nieuwland

Saba Al Kuntar - PhD Candidate ISS Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • The research project of Saba Al Kuntar is called ‘Ways to Survive, Hurdles to Cross: Exploring the Entrepreneurial Activities of Syrian Refugees in Urban Areas in Lebanon’. The research seeks to understand the entrepreneurial capacity of Syrian refugees in shaping their economic lives while they are in exile. Furthermore, it explores how these refugees navigate precarious circumstances. In addition, the research aims to examine the social relationships of entrepreneurs within the refugee and host community and their social roles in Lebanon.

Sven-Ove Horst - Senior Assistant Professor ESHCC

  • Sven-Ove Horst is a Senior Assistant Professor in Media and Creative Industries at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on media management and organisation theory, in particular strategy and entrepreneurship. As part of the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities & Citizens he aims to understand how current processes of mediatisation effect ways of organising across different levels in society, as people in various organisational contexts become “media managers”. He examines, for example, how young entrepreneurs and local start-up centers manage their brands while applying and using media, or how consultants support their clients in change processes towards sustainable, vibrant and dynamic organisational contexts. 

    Research profile Sven-Ove Horst

Talitha Stam - Postdoctoral researcher Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • The research interests of Talitha Stam lie in the field of social inequalities, diversity, educational ethnography and family sociology.

    Research profile Talitha Stam

Dr. Vidar Stevens - Academic Researcher Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • In a time where social problems in cities have become very wicked and society has become more diverse, governments are searching for new governance strategies that can deal with the changing relation between citizens and governments (less top-down steering and more interactive governance), and address the diversity and emotions in society. Public branding is one of the new and promising upcoming governance strategies. A brand is a deliberately developed symbolic construct to identify a phenomenon and differentiate it from similar phenomena by adding particular meaning to it (Eshuis and Klijn, 2012). Public brands can be used to bind people (creating brand loyalty through establishing emotional bonds), activate people, and communicate with media.

    Branding processes can be organised in participatory ways if stakeholders are involved in the development of brand elements or underlying brand values. An example is the creation of the brand for the community of Katendrecht in Rotterdam, or the participatory branding of Seoul. Interactive branding allows citizens to contribute to the image, develop a shared brand identity, and for instance, add or upload their own contributions to the brand (video’s, short impressions of the cities, events in the neighborhood etc.).

    In this way brand communities can be created (Muniz and O’Guin 2001). Communities are groups of people who feel they have a shared identity by sharing particular symbols. Brands also play a role in identity processes at individual level because individuals can use brands to build their personal identity. But building brand communities also creates more resilience. Brands can mobilise people, enhance and sustain participation and collective action to tackle social problems. In that sense, they contribute to society’s governance capacity to tackle social problems and support self-organisation rather than governance by public organizations. 

    This subproject of the Vital Cities and Citizens initiative aims to explore three important aspects of public branding in relation to identity and resilience of citizens and cities:

    1. How can public branding increase participation in decision-making processes about societal problems in the city and contribute to effective dealing with social problems?
    2. How do brands contribute in enhancing the identity of the city and its inhabitants?
    3. What are the effects of brands on (place) identification and trust with citizens?

    To answer these questions several research methodologies will be used: experiments, case studies, q-sort and QCA analysis.

    Research profile dr. Vidar Stevens

Wesley van den Breul - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • Breul, Wesley van den

    Wesley van den Breul studies the reaction of the members of local football fandoms to the emergence of ethnic minority and/or migrant players who join the teams they support.

    Research profile Wesley van den Breul

Willemijn Bezemer - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of Social and Behavourial Sciences

  • The aim of the research project of Willemijn Bezemer is to analyse the effectiveness of different strategies to increase mutual trust between the police force and the public, with a special focus on youth and migrants. The use of a mixed methods approach enables a focus on processes operating at several levels, such as individual interaction styles among police officers and youth in Rotterdam or the implementation of community policing policies on a national scale.

    Research profile Willemijn Bezemer

Zouhair Hammana - PhD Candidate Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

  • Zouhair Hammana

    The research of Zouhair Hammana focuses on the engagement of secondary education teachers with students who have a cultural diverse background and vice versa. Specifically, the study examines how teachers and students engage with the cultural ‘Other’, how they perceive themselves in relation to the cultural ‘Other’ and what kind of practices of openness they apply towards the ‘Other’.

    Research profile Zouhair Hammana