In order to join virtual sessions, you must be registered and logged-in(Were you registered for the in-person meeting in Denver? if yes, just log in.) 
Note: All session times are in Mountain Daylight Time.

The Enduring Political Effects of “Flash Mobs”

Authors: Jeff Maskovsky*, The Graduate Center CUNY
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: temporality, politics, insurgency, race
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper focuses on the political effects of black teen “flash mobs,” which occurred frequently in Philadelphia and in other US metropolitan areas in the period between 2009 and 2018. In contrast to both popular and political discourses that treat spontaneous black youth gatherings as antisocial criminal conduct or as apolitical, I argue that they are a form of black urban insurgency. Drawing on ethnographic evidence collected during fieldwork in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2018, I explore the ways that these ephemeral crowd actions work to contest elite plans for the use of the urban core, unsettle urban securitization schemes, and reclaim urban public space for those who have been labeled as “undesirable,” “pathological,” or a “threat” to the urban future. “Flash mobs” thus compel us to view fleeting and ephemeral crowd action as a durable political form that contests the spatialized instantiation of antiblack racism and violence.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login