The Possibilities of Transformative Urban Politics in the Era of the Alt-Right

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Latin America Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Monica Farias, Carolina Sternberg
Chairs: Carolina Sternberg


Amidst the proliferation of progressive urban political expressions influencing broader national and global agendas in the last decade across the world, (institutionalized spaces of democratic action, bottom-up collective organizations, spontaneous insurgencies against the status quo, etc.), we continue to experience the deepening of neoliberal principles, rationalities and business-oriented political agendas that eclipse the above political expressions. At the same time, many urban scholars have already expressed concerns about how neoliberal normative agendas have dramatically unfolded since the financial crisis of 2008, resulting in multiple forms of violence, inequalities and dispossession in diverse urban settings across the world (Gerhard et al., 2017; Rodgers et al 2014; Springer, 2014; Gibson-Graham et al., 2013; Harvey, 2012; Peck et al., 2012; Holloway, 2010; Massey, 2010; and Routledge, 2009).

Furthermore, today we are confronted with the rise of alt-right wing candidates and parties across the world that feed into, and are enabled by, popular resentment over real or perceived grievances (Bessner and Sparke, 2017). Just to name a few who made it to the presidential (or prime ministerial) seat: Mauricio Macri in Argentina, Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Michel Temer in Brazil, and Donald Trump in the US. These advocates of 'late neoliberalism' (Wacquant, 2009) raise political agendas at different scales focused on austerity and blunt anti-immigrant and racist policies that, alongside efforts to criminalize poverty, pose renewed challenges to political organizations and groups working towards social justice.

Regardless of the definition of urban politics we use, cities undoubtedly constitute, "an important site of political action and revolt" (Harvey, 2012, 117-8), and urban-based politics and movements continue to be at the forefront of major political change. This session takes up these issues, to think about the challenges and possibilities of the current context for a progressive urban politics across a diversity of settings. To that end, we welcome papers to contribute with theoretical and empirical discussions on the following topics (but not limited to them):

• The embedded particularities of neoliberalism - "the actual existing neoliberalism"- in a specific urban setting that enables this formation to be so resilient. In other words, what are the dimensions through which neoliberal principles and rationales keep being accentuated in different urban contexts?
• Based on the above, what mechanisms within the very fabric of urban politics could be practiced to activate progressive social and political transformation?
• Lessons we can learn from the numerous urban-based political mobilizations of the last years across the world (Indignados, the Arab Revolution, students' protests in Chile, the Gezi Park's protests, to name a few) in terms of strategies and possibilities for building alliances across social differences.
Emergent urban political subjectivities countering neoliberal regimes of governmentality.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Discussant Sarah Elwood University of Washington 15 5:20 PM
Presenter Trushna Parekh*, Texas Southern University, Derek Ruez*, University of Tampere, The Politics of the ‘Compassionate City’ 15 5:35 PM
Presenter Amy Elizabeth Ritterbusch*, Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes, The Implications of Denouncing Urban Violence: Reflections from a Right to the City Social Justice Movement in Bogotá, Colombia 15 5:50 PM
Presenter Rodrigo Caimanque Leverone*, University College London, Fragmented continuities of neoliberal urban politics: 20 years of uneven urban regeneration in Valparaiso 15 6:05 PM
Presenter Ryan Centner*, London School of Economics, Convergent Protests, Divergent Politics & Urban Polyvalence: Heterogeneous Middle Classes in Brazilian & Turkish Cities 15 6:20 PM
Presenter Monica Farias*, Institute of Geography, University of Buenos Aires, "Streets are not a place to live": the experience of the Popular Census, mapping exclusion and violence in Buenos Aires 15 6:35 PM

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