Prefigurative urbanisation: capital, dissent and the temporalities of territorial production

Authors: Leandro Minuchin*, University of Manchester
Topics: Geographic Theory, Urban Geography, South America
Keywords: prefiguration, repertories, dissent, urban politics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Two seemingly inconmensurable epistemological positions traverse contemporary urban theory. On the one hand, the contributions that mobilise the notion of planetary urbanisation to render and organise urban processes as actualisations of the relation between capital and territory. On the other, post-colonial and post-structuralist perspectives that configure the urban around the practices and material entanglements that shape peripheral processes of urbanisations. This incommensurability, reinforces the assumption that the spatio-temporal principles that govern the expansion and reproduction of capital are radically different from the parameters that articulate expressions of urban dissent and resistance: accumulation, valorisation and commodification, unfold, for both camps, through territorial articulations that are alien to the repertories, routines and modes of spatial production that shape expansive zones of dispossession. This paper introduces the notion of prefigurative urbanisation to depict the presence of a logic of producing urban spaces that is shared by both capital and grass-root organisations. Relying on social movement literature and recent debates on infrastructure in urban geography, the presentation extends the conceptual remit of prefiguration to depict the consolidation of a distinct spatio-temporal configuration, where direct engagement with the production of autonomous infrastructures disrupts the efficacy of representative channels and public agencies to govern territorial processes. The essay argues that the dispersal of direct forms of territorial interventions problematises the finality and content of urban politics.

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