2014 AAG Session: The emergent politics of the austere city: antagonisms and revanchism in crisis resolution

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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