ABSTRACT

A city offers ‘freedom, camaraderie and possibility’, writes Aman Sethi (2012: 34) referring to the urban worlds of migrants in Delhi. Freedom, camaraderie and possibility have been enduring ideas in the social and cultural imaginaries of migrants around the world, past and present. Historical work has demonstrated how the relationship between migration and cities is far from new. Migrants around the world have long aspired to find work, build new homes and seek companionship in urban spaces, while films, radio, music, television, and now the digital media, have been fundamental in sustaining these aspirations. This chapter examines this important phenomenon by considering how academic discourses in migration studies and urban studies are trying to make sense of cities as lived spaces of mobility. Migration and mobility are fundamental to the inherent dynamism of cities, to their creative energy, rich diversity and to their development. As Nikos Papastergiadis (2000: 10) writes, ‘the tension between movement and settlement is constitutive of modern life’; the migrant and the urban are inextricably bound and urban spaces and identities are shaped in and through ‘the practice of everyday life’ (de Certeau, 1984).