Urban Democracy Beyond Borders: Ambiguous Devices, Publics, and the Ethnographic Account

Authors: Gianpaolo Baiocchi*,
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: policy mobilities; ethnography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


One of the methodological and theoretical challenges facing urban studies today has to do the study of the circulation of policies, blueprints, and frameworks among interconnected actors and sites. Many scholars today are turning to ethnographic accounts to discuss the travel of policy. The paper relies on science studies and the study of policy instruments for a fundamental insight: it is not enough to simply speak of mobility while forgetting the way that the circulation and translation of an idea fundamentally transform it. Though it is deployed as part of postpolitical strategies, its ambiguities can be productive of political moments. The paper makes a case for processual and ethnographic accounts of global circulations of urban blueprints that is attentive to both ambiguities and frictions. It explores the theoretical implications of such an approach as well as issues related to its feasibility.

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