New Book: Political Street Art

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-17-55-14Newly published in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics – Political Street Art: Communication, Culture and Resistance in Latin America, by Holly Eva Ryan:

“Recent global events, including the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings, Occupy movements and anti-austerity protests across Europe have renewed scholarly and public interest in collective action, protest strategies and activist subcultures. We know that social movements do not just contest and politicise culture, they create it too. However, scholars working within international politics and social movement studies have been relatively inattentive to the manifold political mediations of graffiti, muralism, street performance and other street art forms.

Against this backdrop, this book explores the evolving political role of street art in Latin America during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It examines the use, appropriation and reconfiguration of public spaces and political opportunities through street art forms, drawing on empirical work undertaken in Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. Bringing together a range of insights from social movement studies, aesthetics and anthropology, the book highlights some of the difficulties in theorising and understanding the complex interplay between art and political practice. It seeks to explore ‘what art can do’ in protest, and in so doing, aims to provide a useful point of reference for students and scholars interested in political communication, culture and resistance.”

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New Book: Psychological Governance and Public Policy

“There have been significant developments in the state of psychological, neuroscientific and behavioural scientific knowledge relating to the human mind, brain, action and decision-making over the past two decades. These developments have influenced public policy making and popular culture in the UK and elsewhere – through policies and emerging social practices focussed on behavioural change, happiness, wellbeing, therapy, resilience and character. Yet little attention has been paid to examining the wider political and ethical significance of the widespread use of psychological governance techniques. There is a pressing and recognised need to address the behaviour change agenda in relation to how our cultural ideas about the brain, mind, behaviour and self are changing.

This book provides a critical account of existing forms of psychological governance in relation to public policy. It asks whether we can speak of a co-ordinated and novel shift in governance or, rather, whether these trends are more simply pragmatic policy tools based on advances in scientific evidence. With contributions from leading scholars across the social sciences from the UK, the USA and Canada, chapters identify practical, political and research challenges posed by the current policy enthusiasm for particular branches of affective neuroscience, behavioural economics, positive psychology and happiness economics. The core focus of this book is to investigate the ways in which knowledge about the mind, brain and behaviour has informed the methods and techniques of governance and to explore the implications of this for shaping citizen identity and social practice.”

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New Book: Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-16-45-42Newly published in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics – Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm, by Robert A. Saunders:

“This seminal book explores the complex relationship between popular geopolitics and nation branding among the Newly Independent States of Eurasia, and their combined role in shaping contemporary national image and statecraft within and beyond the region. It provides critical perspectives on international relations, nationalism, and national identity through the use of innovative approaches focusing on popular culture, new media, public diplomacy, and alternative “narrators” of the nation. By positing popular geopolitics and nation branding as contentious forces and complementary flows, the study explores the tensions and elisions between national self-image and external perceptions of the nation, and how this complex interplay has become integral to contemporary global affairs.”

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New Book: Migration, Squatting and Radical Autonomy

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-16-36-25Newly published in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics – Migration, Squatting and Radical Autonomy, edited by Pierpaolo Mudu and Sutapa Chattopadhyay:

“This book offers a unique contribution, exploring how the intersections among migrants and radical squatter’s movements have evolved over past decades. The complexity and importance of squatting practices are analyzed from a bottom-up perspective, to demonstrate how the spaces of squatting can be transformed by migrants. With contributions from scholars, scholar-activists, and activists, this book provides unique insights into how squatting has offered an alternative to dominant anti-immigrant policies, and the implications of squatting on the social acceptance of migrants. It illustrates the different mechanisms of protest followed in solidarity by migrant squatters and Social Center activists, when discrimination comes from above or below, and explores how can different spatialities be conceived and realized by radical practices.

Contributions adopt a variety of perspectives, from critical human geography, social movement studies, political sociology, urban anthropology, autonomous Marxism, feminism, open localism, anarchism and post-structuralism, to analyze and contextualize migrants and squatters’ exclusion and social justice issues. This book is a timely and original contribution through its exploration of migrations, squatting and radical autonomy.”

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New Book: Architecture and Space Re-imagined

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Newly published in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics – Architecture and Space Re-imagined: Learning from the difference, multiplicity, and otherness of development practice, Richard Brewer.

“As with so many facets of contemporary western life, architecture and space are often experienced and understood as a commodity or product. The premise of this book is to offer alternatives to the practices and values of such westernised space and Architecture (with a capital A), by exploring the participatory and grass-roots practices used in alternative development models in the Global South. This process re-contextualises the spaces, values, and relationships produced by such alternative methods of development and social agency. It asks whether such spatial practices provide concrete realisations of some key concepts of Western spatial theory, questioning whether we might challenge the space and architectures of capitalist development by learning from the places and practices of others.

Exploring these themes offers a critical examination of alternative development practices methods in the Global South, re-contextualising them as architectural engagements with socio-political space. The comparison of such interdisciplinary contexts and discourses reveals the political, social, and economic resonances inherent between these previously unconnected spatial protagonists. The interdependence of spatial issues of choice, value, and identity are revealed through a comparative study of the discourses of Henri Lefebvre, John Turner, Doreen Massey, and Nabeel Hamdi. These key protagonists offer a critical framework of discourses from which further connections to socio-spatial discourses and concepts are made, including post-marxist theory, orientalism, post-structural pluralism, development anthropology, post-colonial theory, hybridity, difference and subalterneity.

By looking to the spaces and practices of alternative development in the Global South this book offers a critical reflection upon the working practices of Westernised architecture and other spatial and political practices. In exploring the methodologies, implications and values of such participatory development practices this book ultimately seeks to articulate the positive potential and political of learning from the difference, multiplicity, and otherness of development practice in order to re-imagine architecture and space.”

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New Titles in Place, Space and Politics Series

bbEven more things to read at the start of the year! There is a flurry of new titles for 2017 now available in the Research in Place, Space and Politics Series published by Routledge – all sorts of things, from the interface between architectural theory and social science theories of space, to governing people’s brains, popular geopolitics in the post-Soviet world, political street are in Latin American to the radical potentials of squatting movements all over the place. I’m going to post separately for each of the new titles. If I may say so myself, the Series is developing as a nice window into the inter/multi/post-disciplinary scope of conversations focussed on issues of ‘space’, ‘place’, ‘spatiality’, ‘territory’ and the like. And there are more titles to come soon.

If you are interested in publishing in the Series,  here is further information about submitting proposals to the Series.

 

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Challenges of the New Urban Agenda

More recommended reading for the New Year, this time a critical reflection  on the potential implications of the translation of the ‘urban SDG‘ (Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals) into UN-Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda, by my Exeter colleague Federico Caprotti and 8 co-authors (I think it is in the nature of this whole field of global-level urban policy innovation that making sense of things means collaborating with plenty of others).  It is published in Urban Research and Practice.

Here is the abstract:

“The UN-HABITAT III conference held in Quito in late 2016 enshrined the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) with an exclusively urban focus. SDG 11, as it became known, aims to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through a range of metrics, indicators, and evaluation systems. It also became part of a post-Quito ‘New Urban Agenda’ that is still taking shape. This paper raises questions around the potential for reductionism in this new agenda, and argues for the reflexive need to be aware of the types of urban space that are potentially sidelined by the new trends in global urban policy.”

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Cavell and Geography

Picking up on the background to my last post mentioning Linda Zerilli’s new book, Jon Pugh has a new paper, ‘A sceptical approach to ‘the everyday’: Relating Stanley Cavell and Human Geography‘ , available online at Geoforum exploring the significance of Stanley Cavell’s ideas for thinking in human geography. It serves as both an introduction to some key themes in Cavell’s thought, and also an engagement with other influential streams of theory-in-geography through an ‘ordinary’ lens, including non-representational theory, affect theory and pragmatism. I thoroughly recommend it if you are at all interested in thinking sensibly about the issues that those buzzwords bring to mind but don’t quite feel comfortable with the orthodoxies associated with them …

Here is the abstract:

“Over the past few decades there has been a turn toward ‘the everyday’ in the social sciences and humanities. For some authors, this turn is about making the everyday a new repository of authority of some sort, political, social, cultural or otherwise. For others, however, any turn toward the everyday interrupts any such evaluation. Focusing upon Stanley Cavell and the philosophical lineage that he continues from Emerson, Nietzsche, Thoreau and Wittgenstein, this paper examines Cavell’s interest in the menace and power of scepticism as key to understanding the everyday as a lived experience. As an introduction to this particular part of Cavell’s work for many Geographers, the paper puts Cavell in relation to more familiar approaches to the everyday, including de Certeau, critical Human Geography, non-representational theory, affect theory, psychoanalysis and pragmatism.”

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A Democratic Theory of Judgment – Linda Zerilli’s new book

lzFollowing up on previous posts recommending the work of Linda Zerilli, I see that her new book is now out. A Democratic Theory of Judgment collects and synthesises and augments themes from her recent writings, including a sustained critical engagement in critical debates about affect in political theory (a critique that takes my own engagement with nonrepresentational ontologies seriously, in a critical way, alongside the arguments of Ruth Leys, which is flattering). But there is much more than that going on in the book it addresses what I would argue is a resolutely geographical problem of making critical judgments in new situations where inherited criteria don’t work (or, perhaps, where inherited understandings of how criteria work don’t work). My own attempt to elaborate on this problem, in my bookThe Priority of Injustice, out sometime this year,  owes a very great deal to what I have learned from reading Zerilli’s work, going back to her fantastic critique of skeptical residues in feminist cultural theory.

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Worst Concepts of 2016

1). Post-truth.

2). Elites.

3). Sovereignty.

4). Mandate.

5). Neoliberalism (yes, still).

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