Progress in Human Geography paper

June 14, 2014 · No Comments


A new paper out, co-written with Kurt Iveson, entitled “Recovering the politics of the cityFrom the ‘post-political city’ to a ‘method of equality’ for critical urban geography” out in Progress in Human Geography

The paper actually preceded our other recently published paper in Space and Polity

This paper uses Jacque Rancière understanding of politics to ask what makes cities political entities. We review existing urban geography debates to identify some of the defining features of urban politics and then subject them to critical questioning: are they actually political? The paper seeks to develop existing interpretations of Rancière’s philosophy within geography to develop his ‘method of equality’ in order to recover the politics of the city. This identifies three necessary components of critical urban scholarship in order that it transcends critique and works towards making democratic politics possible.

If you do not have access to the journal, please email me for a copy

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Blogging about US urban politics

March 26, 2014 · No Comments


A short piece for LSE’s USAPP:

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New article on the post-political

March 12, 2014 · No Comments

SP cover

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.

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Academic publishing

February 26, 2014 · No Comments


Really great read about the business and politics of academic publishing…

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Research Grants for Radicals

February 15, 2014 · No Comments

HG logo

Fantastic funding opportunity (one of the few!) for critical work: Human Geography’s Small Research Grants Program


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Urban Politics: Critical Approaches

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.

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‘Picking up the pieces’: austerity urbanism, California and fiscal crisis

February 14, 2014 · No Comments

Just out, something written with Kevin Ward, in Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society

1.cover[1] (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.

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Re-thinking Urban Ideology in Post-ideological Times – Madrid, June 25-27

February 3, 2014 · No Comments

Fascinating conference –

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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

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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.

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