A short piece for LSE’s USAPP: http://bit.ly/1ru5H6V
March 26, 2014 · No Comments
March 12, 2014 · No Comments
Really happy to see this out… a piece I wrote with the brilliant Kurt Iveson entitled “Occupations, mediations, subjectifications: Fabricating politics” in Space and Polity. The abstract is pasted below. If you do not have access to the journal, please email me for a copy of the paper.
abstract: The revolutions and protests that have spread across the globe since 2008 have been seen as a watershed moment. In this article we examine the relationships between urban space and politics that have emerged across these events. We draw upon the political philosophy of Jacques Rancière to provide a framework to understand some events of this period as political moments and, in addition, attempt to build upon Rancière’s work to trace out the geographical dimensions of politics. The paper concludes with a consideration of the counter-revolutionary projects enacted by current social orders.
February 26, 2014 · No Comments
Really great read about the business and politics of academic publishing…
February 15, 2014 · No Comments
Fantastic funding opportunity (one of the few!) for critical work: Human Geography’s Small Research Grants Program
February 15, 2014 · No Comments
After many years and two continents, the book is finally out… thanks to all those who contributed and made it possible.
February 14, 2014 · No Comments
Just out, something written with Kevin Ward, in Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/7/1/81.abstract (email me for a copy if you don’t have access to the journal)
California continues to be at the epicentre of the current Great Recession. Cities around the state are facing a multiple-fronted assault on their fiscal situation. Although not new—the state’s precarious financial situation is the stuff of legends—the cutting in federal revenues, together with the decline in property taxes stemming from the drop in house prices and the rising costs of servicing debt incurred through years of speculative growth strategies have left a number of city governments in the state horribly exposed. This paper explores the place of a number of Californian cities in the context of the wider onset of US austerity urbanism. This constitutes a deepening and widening of some aspects of earlier neo-liberalisation.
February 3, 2014 · No Comments
Fascinating conference – http://is.gd/XVGk2u
2014 AAG Session: The emergent politics of the austere city: antagonisms and revanchism in crisis resolution
January 16, 2014 · No Comments
Co-organizing with Kevin Ward (Manchester)
As the conniptions of capitalist crisis continue to unfold, landscapes of crisis resolution and institutionalization have emerged from the spaces that were only two years ago marked by protest and contestation. This is not to say that revolutionary movements have been erased. Rather it is to recognize that in many places – particularly across the cities of the Global North – capitalist elites have moved quickly to implement reforms that have sought to repress, resolve and subvert substantive political change. In step with longstanding neoliberal practices, this class-based attempt to stabilize an unhinged economy has often involved the utilization of the city as a site to inflict the costs of creative destruction and accumulation via dispossession. As Peck (2013) claims, austerity has come to cities via the creation of “austerity urbanism”.
In this session we seek to examine how capitalist crisis and related attempts at mediation/resolution have impacted the formal and informal political mechanisms of the city. We invite papers that explore the following themes:
- The evolution of contestation and protest within the austere city
- Mechanisms of antagonism articulation and/or displacement within the urban political environment
- Transformation of urban political and institutional structures related to crisis resolution
- New lines of social division and marginalization resulting from revanchist policies
- Emergent opportunities for politicization within urban landscapes of austerity
- Reconfigurations of urban politics relating to broader efforts to address recessionary decline, and related theoretical and conceptual challenges
2013 AAG Session: Austerity Cities: Bankruptcy, Dispossession, Foreclosure, Privatization and Resistance
March 25, 2013 · No Comments
Co-organizing with Kevin Ward (Manchester)
Cities in a number of countries of the industrialized north are under increasing fiscal pressure as national governments have sought to ‘download’ austerity budgeting. While for the most part this constitutes continuity rather than change after decades of neo-liberal urbanism it, nevertheless, has increased the fiscal strain on cities. As spending allocations from above have been reduced,
concurrently many cities have seen their local tax revenues dwindle. The cutting of public sector budgets and targeting of the social state in the likes of Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US is, according to Peck (2012), ‘defining a new operational matrix for urban politics.’ In the US a number of cities have declared themselves to be bankrupt, invoking Chapter Nine legislation to
radically reform their budgets. Brought on by the on-going fiscal crisis and the federal government’s responses to it, tightening fiscal conditions have allowed some city governments to settle old scores with labour unions, slashing pay and healthcare benefits for current public employees and retirees. In the UK local services continue to be cut. Facilities are closed, lights turned off, and
provision reduced. At the same time new markets are being created for private providers to ‘fill the gaps’, as city leaders dance to the tune of the Coalition government’s Plan A austerity measures. While those in charge of cities struggle to resist the pressure to balance budgets, the public have in some cases taken to the streets to make their views clear. In Spain the summer of 2012 saw anti-austerity demonstrations in eighty cities. In the US there continue to be examples of local residents pushing back against cuts, such as the campaigns that have taken place in Baltimore over the plans to cut or
privatize one third of all the city’s recreation centres. In Greece, meanwhile, the last two years have been replete with examples of citizens occupying the streets to resist the consequences of austerity measures.
This session includes papers that seek to decode the austerity measures facing cities, the variety of ways in which different cities are responding to these measures and the range of counter and oppositional campaigns that are seeking their push-back.
March 9, 2013 · No Comments
How going broke became fiscal fix: American cities in crisis?
Since the 2007 financial crisis, all levels of government have faced growing fiscal strain. At the federal level, a burgeoning deficit has become a much debated political issue. At the state level, stimulus monies have ran dry leaving many governors scrabbling to maintain basic services. And at the municipal level declining tax revenues have combined with a “downloading” of responsibilities from the state and federal level. American municipalities have therefore found themselves at the forefront of fiscal austerity. For some cities the situation appears to have become so dire that they have declared themselves bankrupt. This paper examines how the recent spate of municipal bankruptcies has occurred. It traces out the 1930s Great Depression origins of US bankruptcy legislation and explains how the 2008 bankruptcy filing of Vallejo, CA, radically transformed the intended purpose of this legislation. Rather than reading municipal bankruptcies as an inevitable consequence of economic recession, the paper argues that re-interpreted bankruptcy legislation opened a route for municipalities to roll-out a radical, revanchist form of fiscal restructuring. Where this restructuring has taken place, we have seen municipal bond holders and taxpayers pitted against public sector unions and retirees. For those cities that opt to undertake this class violence, the “rewards” might – tragically – include fiscal stability, declines in union power and an ability to reengage with entrepreneurial urban development schemes.