Rethinking the Fix: Development, Planning, and the Normalization of Poverty II

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Caroline Keegan, Eric Goldfischer
Chairs: Christine Jocoy

Call for Submissions

For this session, we seek to investigate the idea of the “fix” and the life that it takes on within labor processes, planning discourses, capitalist development projects, and, at times, in activist and philanthropic organizations. We do so in the spirit of Clyde Woods’ (2002) refusal of the social autopsy, and in a desire to move beyond a simple denaturalization into a grounded, curious questioning of sociospatial arrangements. We invite geographers geared toward praxis, with the goal of reframing the problem in order to reimagine more just cities and economies.


Geographers who work with social justice movements--particularly in the North American context--often are called upon to augment activists’ arguments that focus on the systemic nature of racialized capitalism at the root of injustice (see Robinson 1983). Yet this approach only seems to scratch the surface of popular discourses that feed into harmful policies. For example, homeless activists and scholars have argued for years that homelessness is caused by the commodification of housing and exacerbated by anti-homeless policing (Smith 1996, Mitchell 2003, Willse 2015, Picture the Homeless 2011, 2018) yet the “fix” has been a massive shelter-industrial complex that fingers individual behaviors as the cause of homelessness rages on. Similarly, farmworkers’ struggles for social reproduction have long been seen as unfortunately incidental to the agricultural labor process -- to be “fixed” through publicly funded labor camps or philanthropic food assistance -- rather than as an integral part of a violent industry (McWilliams 1939, Walker 2004, Minkoff-Zern 2014, Mitchell 1996, Hahamovitch 2010). Such examples echo a longstanding discourse that frames poverty as a natural, albeit unfortunate, effect of capitalist development (see Smith 1984); a discourse that proliferated a multitude of public and private programs to combat poverty through individual job training, emergency assistance, temporary housing and other social programs but not the very logic of racialized capitalism.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Kenton Card*, University of California - Los Angeles, Toward a political economy of racial capitalism 20 9:55 AM
Presenter Yui Hashimoto*, Dartmouth College, “Not stadiums but real investment where people live”: Theorizing mobilities as organized abandonment in Milwaukee 20 10:15 AM
Presenter Katie Mazer*, University of Toronto, Dump truck destiny: Work, stories, and attachment to extraction 20 10:35 AM
Presenter Caroline Keegan*, University of Georgia, Living Labor in the Fields: Rethinking Farmworker Labor and Living Conditions 20 10:55 AM
Presenter Hilary Wilson*, CUNY - Graduate Center, A Way out of No Way: Struggles for Economic Survival in Black Milwaukee 20 11:15 AM

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