August 27, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Urban struggles: governance, resistance and solidarity | Panel at IUAES 2019 Inter-Congress, Poznan, Poland | Convenors: Flávio Eiró (Radboud University Nijmegen), Insa Koch (London School of Economics), Raúl Acosta (University of Konstanz) | Discussant: Martijn Koster (Radboud University Nijmegen)
While more and more urban residents struggle to meet even the most basic needs for housing, security and income, city governments address the symptoms, rather than causes, of inequalities. This panel explores how urban actors resist exclusionary governance, while generating new forms of solidarity.
Across the globe, a growing number of urban dwellers struggle to meet even the most basic needs for housing, security and income. In response, governments showcase programmes like social housing, community policing, cash transfers, or professionalisation training. However, these programmes tend to be palliative, addressing merely the symptoms of inequalities rather than their causes. Meanwhile, policies implemented in the name of ‘good governance’, ‘participation’ or ‘crisis management’ risk reinforcing social exclusion of the most marginalised. Cases include evictions, gated communities, securitisation, austerity measures, management of migrant populations, and the regulation of the informal sector.
This panel addresses both the resistance to, and reproduction of exclusionary urban policies. We are particularly interested in how residents and professionals alike engage urban programmes through activism, creative navigation of existing rules, or by way of withdrawal and outright sabotage. Our panel connects empirical studies to theoretical debates on the right to the city, activated and activist citizenship, and the idea of the city as an assemblage of productive tensions. We ask: how do defeatist visions of the city produced by accumulation by dispossession speak to more expectant notions of urban navigations and creativity? How does resistance transform neoliberal cities into sites for alternative imaginaries and new forms of inclusion, citizenship and solidarity? We welcome papers that present empirically rich anthropological analyses of urban dwellers’ opposition and resistance to urban governance, showing how people struggle for their place in the city while also generating forms of solidarity.