Seminar Themes

The Center for Place, Culture and Politics Seminar 2015-2016

Consciousness and Revolution 

The place of consciousness in radical theory and practice is a subject of significant dispute. Marx believed that much of what we construe as consciousness is “false,” a rationalization or an ideological reflex that stands between people and the “true material needs” of their life processes. A material understanding of social being would facilitate a consciousness directed at those needs, rather than through prescriptions bound by crass appropriation and exploitation. Revolution itself would be the realization of authentic consciousness over and above the claims of false necessity, and social being would determine the forms of such transformation. Are consciousness and revolution mediated in the same ways today? Does revolutionary desire remain politically unconscious? Or have concepts of revolution themselves been transformed so that, if the conditions of social being continue to be powerfully productive, the question of consciousness pivots on different axes? The 2015-16 CPCP seminar invites applicants to examine questions of consciousness and revolution from a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches. What are the scales of revolution for activists and scholars? Is consciousness a problem of history more than psychology? Are new methodologies in themselves revolutionary? Does social (media) being determine consciousness? The seminar will explore the possible parameters of revolutionary thought and action and the production of knowledge between them. If consciousness and revolution have long histories what are their present contingencies and new vocabularies? How can they be imagined, created?

 

The Center for Place, Culture and Politics Seminar 2014-2015

After Debt: New Forms of Dependency, Obligation, Risk, and Credit

You are not a loan                                                                                                                    – Strike Debt! slogan

The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics will focus its upcoming 2014-2015 seminar on questions of debt and the construction of new forms of dependency, obligation, risk, and credit. Building on past seminars devoted to discussing uprisings and utopias, our focus this year reflects new scholarly inquiries as well as ongoing and emerging political movements across the globe. ‘After Debt’  imagines a world beyond debt and pursues it as a research agenda across a broad range of intellectual inquiry.

We invite scholars, artists, and students to consider how competing visions of debt and indebtedness have sought to redefine systems of dependency, obligation, risk, and credit across space and time. Given our support of interdisciplinarity, applications from a variety of specializations will be welcomed.

We propose to examine each of these phenomena in different forms, throughout different periods, at different scales, and within and between different regions. Our intention is to consider ongoing processes rather than singular historic events.

Some relevant questions might include, but are not limited to: How have economic failures been transformed into personal identities, often dividing those deemed “at risk” from those capable of assuming risk? How might we understand histories of debt within genealogies of the fiscal military nation-state? What alternate meanings of dependency, obligation, risk, and credit have people produced within and against debt regimes, such as those enforced by structural adjustment? And finally, how can such inquiries change the way we think about ourselves and each other in the world, especially amidst  ongoing global financial crisis?

 

The Center for Place, Culture and Politics Seminar 2013-2014

Remaking Worlds: Insurgencies, Revolutions, Utopias

We need to know where we live in order to imagine living elsewhere.
We need to imagine living elsewhere before we can live there.
-Avery Gordon

Building on the past two years of seminars devoted to the theme of “Uprisings” the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics will focus its upcoming 2013-2014 seminar on questions of insurgencies, revolutions, and utopias.  We propose to examine each of these phenomena as ongoing processes rather than as singular historical, present, or forthcoming events.

We invite scholars, artists, and students to consider how competing animating visions have sought to remake worlds across space and time. Given our support of interdisciplinarity, contributions from a variety of specializations will be welcomed. In a comparative approach to inequality, we will consider revolution as a cultural practice that both speaks to and is produced by social actors. We hope to draw from the long history of utopian thinking expressed in political tracts, literary forms and the like.  We will also seek to imagine alternative possible institutional arrangements that sedimented forms like state power, state property, and money might take.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Christina Heatherington, American Studies
The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century

 

Doctoral Fellows

Paula Burleigh, Art History
The Labyrinth, the Cave, and the Monolith: Archaic Utopias, 1947-1968

Noelia Diaz, Comparative Literature
“An Aesthetics of Uncertainty”: Nation, Post-Nation, and Violent Representation in four pairs of plays by Argentine and Irish Playwrights (1990-2003)

Jacob Lederman, Sociology
Turning to culture in times of crisis: Travelling Paradigms of urban restructuring in contemporary Buenos Aires

Stephen McFarland, Earth and Environmental Science
Class Room: Union Halls in the making of the 20th Century Working class

Keith Miyake, Earth and Environmental Science
A Biopolitics of Place: The Geographies of Environmental Impact Assessment and the Institutionalization of Environmental Justice

Preeti Sampat, Anthropology
Right to Land and the Rule of Law: The ‘Exceptional’ Case of Special Economic Zones in India

Asaf Shamis, Political Science
Writing Revolutions: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Theodor Herzl and Modern European Print Culture

 

Faculty Fellows

Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College
Community Land, Global Capital, and the Community Land Trust

Libby Garland, Assistant Professor of History, Philosophy and Political Science, Kingsborough Community College Labor and the Cold War State in Argentina and the United States

Suha Kudsieh, Assistant Professor of English, College of Staten Island
Revolutionary Utopias and Dystopias Literature in Modern Egypt

Karen Miller, Associate Professor, Social Science Department, LaGuardia Community College Insurgencies Against Scale: Imagining Local Alternatives to Globally Enforced Inequalities

Belinda Linn Rincon, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies and English, John Jay College
War, Time, Wound: Anti-Neoliberal Militarisms in the Work of Graciela Limon and Lorna Dee Cervantes

Irina Carlota Silber, Associate Professor of Anthropology, City College
In the After: Revolution and the Long Postwar in El Salvador

Sarah Standing, Assistant Professor of Humanities, New York City College of Technology
Eco-Activism: Beauty, Pranks, and Politics

 

International Visiting Scholars

Dimitrios Dalakoglou, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Sussex
The City at a Time of Crisis: Transformations of Public Spaces in Athens

Mariann Dosa, Comparative Social Policy, Oxford University
Welfare as an agent of citizenship socialization in post-transition Hungary

Jarrett Martineau, Indigenous Governance, University of Victoria, Canada
Decolonizing Media: Indigenous Art, Political Communication and Transformative Praxis

Beatriz Tamaso Mioto, Economic Development, University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Housing Policies in Underdeveloped Metropolises: the cases of São Paulo, Ciudad de Mexico, Caracas and Bogotá

José Ribiero Junior, Geography, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Food and proletarianization: a study on critical urbanization and everyday life in São Paulo (Brás and Grajaú)

Murat Şentürk, Department of Sociology, Istanbul University
Motion, Reproduction and Standardization: Modernization and Secularization of Urban Spaces

Ivan Valenzuela, Lecturer in Sociology, Social Science Department, Universidad Arturo Prat, Iquique, Chile Geographical Historical Materialism in Latin America

 

Project Descriptions

Christina Heatherton, American Studies, CPCP Postdoctoral Fellow

The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century
At the turn of the twentieth century, uprisings against racism, capitalism, and imperialism encircled the globe. From Irish republicanism in Dublin, bolshevism in Moscow, to anti- lynching crusades in Birmingham, these movements represented the largest waves of rebellion hitherto sustained by global capitalist economy. The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century rethinks the cumulative legacy of these struggles. It examines how social movements from different cultural and political traditions converged and subsequently produced distinct modes of radical internationalism. It describes how participants in these convergence spaces reconfigured the class struggle as a conjoined fight against the color line. Following their lead, it foregrounds the convergences spaces shaped by Mexican Revolution, the first major social revolution of the twentieth century.
While much has been made of the influences of the Russian Revolution and Chinese Revolution on radical struggles in the twentieth century, The Color Line and the Class Struggle examines the less well-studied influence of the Mexican Revolution as the event that helped inaugurate an alternate anti-racist and anti-imperialist revolutionary trajectory during what supporters and detractors alike have deemed the “American Century.” It explores how radicals from the U.S., like writer and Industrial Workers of the World organizer Ralph Chaplin, African American artist Elizabeth Catlett, and radical journalist John Reed, as well as revolutionaries from the world’s “darker nations” such as Ricardo Flores Magòn, Mexican revolutionary muralist José Clemente Orozco, and Indian Marxist M.N. Roy found inspiration, refuge, and solidarity in the actual and imagined spaces of revolutionary Mexico. It demonstrates that their collaborative efforts to theorize and oppose the expansion of U.S. capitalist imperialism produced new forms of anti-racist internationalism.

Paula Burleigh, Art History
The Labyrinth, the Cave, and the Monolith: Archaic Utopias, 1947-1968
After World War II, housing shortages throughout Europe catalyzed monotonous suburban sprawl. In response, the European urban milieu was subject to utopian re-imaginings by artists and architects including Paul Virilio, Claude Parent, André Bloc, and the artist group GRAV. Despite these artists’ fetishization of new technologies, archaic forms haunt their utopian propositions. This dissertation investigates the relationship between the archaic and the futuristic in European art, exhibitions, and architecture between 1947 and 1968. I construct a typology of archaic forms featured in these utopian projects, with a chapter devoted to the labyrinth, the cave, and the monolith, respectively. A connecting thread among the archaic utopias is their anti-visuality: they tend to be dark, ponderous, and opaque. Ultimately, I argue that these characteristics are rooted in the discourse of phenomenology, which cast a shadow on the primacy of vision in French philosophy. Consequently, artists responded to this philosophical shift by privileging tactile and experiential qualities in artworks over the purely optical.

Noelia Diaz, Comparative Literature
“An Aesthetics of Uncertainty”: Nation, Post-Nation, and Violent Representation in four pairs of plays by Argentine and Irish playwrights (1990-2003)
This project is an exploration of eight plays, four from Argentina, four from Ireland, comprehending the period between 1990 and 2003. Both countries share a strong tradition of national theater that, from its beginnings, was closely intertwined with the development of the nation state. Theater functions in Argentina and Ireland as a medium through which representations of what it means to be Irish or Argentine have been explored, questioned, and contested. It is the aim of this project to examine how the apparently non- political and ahistorical theater of the playwrights I will examine is indeed a response to a contextualized sense of political, social, and economic uncertainty, fueled by globalization. The postmodern aesthetics of the plays go beyond the playful to question how community, identity, and meaning are articulated in a world where national frameworks are being replaced by transnational movements (both economic and cultural). The impact of neoliberal economic policies implemented on Argentina and Ireland in the 90s and the severe displacement and rise of inequality of large sections of the population in both countries is contested, critiqued, and examined in all the plays of my study.

Jacob Lederman, Sociology
Turning to culture in times of crisis: Traveling Paradigms of urban restructuring in contemporary Buenos Aires
I am undertaking a study of the post-crisis transformation of Buenos Aires, focusing on the role of new paradigms of urban development, centered upon cultural and “creative” production, that aim to reshape central districts of the city and the place of particular social groups in them. From the redevelopment of the historic center, which has catalyzed important processes of gentrification, to the local and national state’s effort to attract international tourism, Buenos Aires has been a primary site of urban policy innovation in the post-crisis (2001/2002) period. At the center of these processes has been an emerging conception of local culture as a resource for generating economic development, resulting in new patterns of capital investment, forms of spatial exclusion, and methods of social regulation. While this form of urban renewal has become a type of orthodoxy for
cities across the globe seeking to stimulate economic activity through the creation of “cultural industries” and attracting the “creative class,” the application of these polices has rarely been explored in global south contexts.

Stephen McFarland, Earth and Environmental Science
Class Room: Union Halls in the Making of the 20th Century US Working Class
What is the role of semi-private, interior spaces in building broad-based public movements for social change? This study examines the union halls created by social movement-oriented American labor unions of the mid-20th century CIO period. Through archival research, oral histories, and GIS mapping I explore the spatial agency of Detroit Local 174 of the United Auto Workers and of the New York City-based District 65 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in their creation of multi-purpose headquarters that combined organizing functions with social, cultural, and educational activities designed to build solidarity across ethnic, racial, gender, and workplace divisions. I argue that the CIO’s social movement-oriented union halls broke significantly with AFL spatial traditions which reflected narrow, exclusive craft unionism. Given the recent decline of the US union membership, attention to the forgotten spaces of the last labor movement upsurge can help illuminate a spatial repertoire that could contribute to a future resurgence.

Keith Miyake, Earth and Environmental Sciences
A Biopolitics of Place: The Geographies of Environmental Impact Assessment and the Institutionalization of Environmental Justice
For this project, I develop a critical geographical history of the technology for governing known as environmental impact assessment (EIA). I argue that its institutionalization in the US and internationally have fundamentally altered the ways in which space is governed in relation to racially and economically differentiated populations, thus producing both possibilities and limitations for social and environmental justice struggles. Furthermore, I contend that the EIA framework is unique because it brings new forms of bio- and techno- scientific environmental knowledges, and thus new racialized political subjectivities, into the realm of government through state-centered policies focused on the politics of place. Using archival research, I combine an intellectual biography of one of the primary architects of EIA, Lynton Caldwell, with empirical case studies documenting the dynamic relationship between the theory and practice of EIA, both in the US and international contexts.

Preeti Sampat, Anthropology
Right to Land and the Rule of Law: The ‘Exceptional’ Case of Special Economic Zones in India
The Special Economic Zones Act 2005 was enacted in India in two days amid total political consensus. Within two years, intense conflicts over land and resources erupted in SEZ areas across the country between corporate developers, the state and peasant and citizens groups. In the ensuing furor, Goa state unprecedentedly revoked its SEZ policy suspending 13 SEZs, some with construction underway. Amid raging debates and accusations of corrupt real estate deals, the federal government attempted drafts for a new land acquisition policy. This ethnographic and archival study of SEZs in India examines their policy genesis and evolution; the successful peasant and citizen resistance to them in Goa; and emergent jurisprudence around SEZs, infrastructure projects and land and resources in the country. It analyzes contemporary capital accumulation processes, development policy, property relations, social movements and negotiations of citizenship and the state refashioning the ‘rule of law’ in India’s ‘liberalizing’ democracy.

Asaf Shamis, Political Science
Writing Revolutions: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Theodor Herzl and Modern European Print Culture
In my dissertation I explore the material machinery behind the production of modern revolutionary political ideas. In the research I examine how distinct shifts in modern European print culture facilitated the political ideas of three modern political thinkers: Jean- Jacques Rousseau (1712- 1778), Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). By using an original interdisciplinary research design, in which I bring together Political Theory and Book History, I explore how historical advances in printing technology influenced the political arguments put forward by the three thinkers. My conclusion is that the modern-day notions of democratic sovereignty, material equality and nationhood were shaped by distinct technological advancements in modern European printing industry that were utilized by the three innovative thinkers to invoke novel forms of collectivity.

Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College
Community Land, Global Capital, and the Community Land Trust
I propose to engage in an active (and activist) research agenda that explores the questions of community land, the land trust, and their relationship to strategies of urban social movements, with particular emphasis on the recent million homes campaign of the Right to the City Alliance. The research will explore the historical and theoretical roots of political strategies based on the reclaiming of urban land, in particular the work of Henry George. I will analyze the strategies of “Shared Equity Homeownership” and the National Community Land Trust Network and the role they play in the urban housing community movements.

Libby Garland, Assistant Professor of History, Philosophy and Political Science, Kingsborough Community College
Labor and the Cold War State in Argentina and the United States
This article (part of a longer book project) investigates the labor movements of Argentina and the United States in the post-World War II decade, both comparing and exploring linkages between them, focusing on labor’s relationship with the state. Labor history has until recently been largely conducted on a national basis. International historical perspectives are crucial, however, for understanding the possibilities for workers’ movements in a global world— past, present, and future. Taken together, the two national cases raise provocative questions about the potential and limits of labor’s power. In both Argentina and the United States, workers’ organizations achieved unprecedented clout in national politics during this era, albeit in profoundly different ways. Must labor movements that become intertwined with the state relinquish their status as a social movement in exchange for official power? What space remains for the most radical or revolutionary of thought and action at such a juncture?

Suha Kudsieh, Assistant Professor of English, College of Staten Island
Revolutionary Utopias and Dystopias Literature in Modern Egypt
A comprehensive examination of utopias and dystopias in the Middle East has not been attempted before. My book project fills this lacuna by providing the first comprehensive study of revolutionary utopias and dystopias in Egypt, starting with an examination of the socio-political circumstances that triggered the quest for utopia (the educational missions to Europe in the nineteenth century, and the revolutions of 1918, 1952 and 2011) and dystopia from the 1900s until the onset of the Arab uprisings in 2011, which led to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in 2012. My research is also unique because I examine the Islamists’ vision of social utopia based on the works of current Islamist thinkers such as Mohamed Muhammad Salim al-‘Awwa and Fahmy Howeidy.
My research is comparative and draws on the works of Krishan Kumar, Ernst Bloch, Peter Paik, Phillip Wegner, Christopher Ferns, and Talal Asad.

Karen Miller, Associate Professor, Social Science Department, LaGuardia Community College
Insurgencies Against Scale: Imagining Local Alternatives to Globally Enforced Inequalities
My project is a comparative look at 1930s Philippine peasant and farm workers’ insurgencies. I show that insurgents’ ideas about postcolonial sovereignty helped animate their struggles for local control over resources. Philippine insurgents rejected the national and global scales that elites embraced in their understanding of the transition to independence. They replaced this vision with arguments about the importance of local autonomy and equality as the appropriate scales for thinking about what national freedom and postcoloniality would look like. Peasant insurgents’ movements in the 1930s Philippines, designed to challenge global relations of power and their local manifestations in the archipelago, offer insight into how revolutionary actors harness and recast current political and cultural ideas to animate their struggles for a better future. I examine the Lanaoan uprisings in the majority-Muslim south and the Sakdal revolt in central Luzon as examples of local insurgencies that fought to reimagine the Philippines’ postcolonial future as a place where local power could be evenly distributed.

Belinda Linn Rincon, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies and English, John Jay CollegeWar, Time, Wound: Anti-Neoliberal Militarisms in the Work of Graciela Limón and Lorna Dee Cervantes
Graciela Limón’s Erased Faces (2001) and Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Coffee” (1998/2006) espose the ravages of neoliberalism in the Americas by focusing on the Zapatistas’ resistance to neoliberal reform. I argue that to recognize and validate the lingering wounds of colonial history, Limón and Cervantes reject Western conceptions of linear time in favor of indigenous understandings of cyclical time and asynchronic histories. They further reveal how war functions as a periodizing mechanism that facilitates national timelines, leaving those who fall outside of national history susceptible to violence and marginalization. In their texts, the wounding of women’s bodies serves as a point of identification that enables and compels cross-border solidarities between Chicana and indigenous Mexican women. It is through a focus on wounded bodies and war’s temporality that Limón and Cervantes challenge the Mexican state’s narrative control of the Revolution’s legacy and imagine a future free from the violence of neoliberal militarism.

Irina Carlota Silber, Associate Professor of Anthropology, City College
In the After: Revolution and the Long Postwar in El Salvador
I am applying for a faculty fellowship at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics (PCP) at the CUNY Graduate Center in order to work on my second book, tentatively titled “In the After: Salvadoran Militants Across Borders.” This project speaks to my commitment to unmasking the unfolding legacies of revolution and political violence, and the making and unmaking of radical subjectivities through time. It is a timely project as currently there are political openings in Central America that invite an examination of revolution, war and postwar periods. Specifically, I propose to examine what I argue are two contemporary competing logics, 1) a moral economy of humanitarianism predicated on the traumatized subject; and, 2) a reclaiming and rescuing of wartime militancy. Ethnographically, I will pursue an explicit juxtaposition between the narratives of war and narratives of migration that I have collected from 1993 through the present. Preliminary review of my ethnographic data, however, troubles these logics as I push for thinking through the sequelae of trauma, as problematic as the term may be, that is often elided in the story of El Salvador’s revolution. For trauma creates victims, and ultimately that troubles the metanarrative of collective action.

Sarah Standing, Assistant Professor of Humanities, New York City College of Technology
Eco-Activism: Beauty, Pranks, and Politics
Aesthetical considerations have long been considered the prerogative of privilege, yet a utopian world is ubiquitously described as a beautiful world. How can we achieve what we don’t allow ourselves to imagine? Traditionally, there has been a firm divide between art “for art’s sake” and politicized art (relegated to a utilitarian position with a clear emphasis on efficacy). I argue, especially given the ongoing ecological crisis, that it seems clear, now more than ever, that new art forms need to include a conjunction of art and politics. My work re- contextualizing radical eco-activism (for example, Greenpeace’s “Save the Whales” campaigns, Earth First!’s “Crack the Dam,” and “Forest Defense Tree-Sitting” campaigns) as both insurgency and theatrical performance, problematizes the historic dichotomy. This, in turn, reveals the false separation between efficacy and aesthetics. Here, political effect depends so closely on emotional appeal that, in eco-activism, the distinction between the two aims collapses. If a new kind of art form is necessitated by a new relationship of the artist to society—precisely because of the ecological crisis we find ourselves in—we may find a prototype for that art in eco-activist performance. My project will be to write my book: Eco-Activism: Beauty, Pranks, and Politics.

Dimitrios Dalakoglou, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Sussex
The City at a Time of Crisis: Transformations of Public Spaces in Athens
City at the Time of Crisis is a research project that seeks to trace and research the effects of the ongoing financial crisis on urban public spaces in Athens, Greece. It will comprise a holistic, cross- disciplinary study of changing notions of the ‘public’, with urban public spaces as its main research subject extending into areas related to ‘public interest’, ‘public security’, ‘public provision’ and the ‘public good’. Although Greece might be an extreme example of an ongoing transnational transformation, the consequences of this global financial and political crisis nevertheless extend beyond the debt-ridden state. The Greek experience exemplifies an emergent mode of governance that is suggestive of a generalised state restructuring across substantial sections of the world: as an example, state cut-backs echoing the Greek experiment were quick to follow in a number of EU countries, whether those suffering ‘public debt contagion’ (e.g. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain) or those now suffering a fiscal uncertainty unimaginable even a few years ago (e.g. the UK and the USA).
As the financial crisis spreads across various regions of the world, then, and as new paradigms of governance emerge, a formidable effect on the material reality of local populations can be witnessed, with entire districts being turned into zones of public unrest and conflict. Major incidents of social unrest are now occurring in cities that had been relatively orderly in the recent past (e.g. London or New York) while the public spatial dynamics of other places that have encountered such phenomena more frequently are now changing beyond recognition (e.g. Athens).
Greece is one of the countries most severely affected by the current financial crisis. Since spring 2010, when the Greek government and IMF/EU/ECB agreed on the largest loan ever received by a single country ($110 billion), Greece has seen sweeping transformations in the character of its polity and state functions. A main element of these transformations is the reconfiguration/privatisation of state assets including infrastructures, utility power and substantial real estate, along with higher education and public health. In this way, the Greek version of the crisis has produced a rupture in the modus operandi of the state in question and in its relationship with its citizenry. The main axis of this rupture is the systemic challenge and reconfiguration of the category ‘public’ – which of course includes public spaces.
For all these reasons, this research has as its main research subjects the newly emerging public socialities in reference to public urban spaces. The idea of studying selected public urban spaces in the capital city of the country most severely affected by the crisis appears as an ideal way in which to study the array of challenges to our conceptualisations of what comprises the public, (whether of the ‘public good’, ‘public provision’, ‘public interest’ and so forth) as a consequence of the financial crisis.
In addition to this website which will be updated on a weekly basis, the aim of the research project is to publish a book and a documentary film.
http://www.crisis-scape.net/index.php

Mariann Dosa, Comparative Social Policy, Oxford University
Welfare as an agent of citizenship socialization in post-transition Hungary
Research clearly demonstrates the alarming democratic deficit implied by existing inequalities in citizen participation (turnout as well as other forms of civic participation) in many societies, and post-transition Hungary is no exception. There is empirical evidence that levels of citizen participation show disturbing inequalities along the lines of class in the country. My research examines the role of social assistance provision in (re-)producing these inequalities. Existing literature demonstrate that welfare policies and institutions play an important role in the socialization of clients into being citizens. Such institutions not only provide resources necessary for an effective exercising of one’s citizenship (skills, free time and money among others), but also inform clients’ citizenship agency through their cognitive effects. That is, they send messages to clients about their worth as citizens and their political efficacy. This, in turn, affects their perception of the political regime (both the framework, namely democracy, and the incumbent ruling elite) as well as their actual citizenship activities. Furthermore, welfare institutions are themselves a key domain of realizing citizenship – e.g. claiming public resources and contacting public authorities.
My research investigates these mechanisms of citizenship learning by qualitative methods. First, I conduct semi-structured interviews with recipients of social assistance benefits in two Hungarian municipalities and explore their actual experiences of social assistance provision as well as their personal perceptions of citizenship in contemporary Hungary and their own citizenship. Secondly, via participant observation of the operation of the welfare offices in the two municipalities I investigate the processes of actual social assistance provision as well as clients’ effective realization of their citizenship agency in the domain of welfare. The research aims, first, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the functions of the post-transition Hungarian welfare regime and its significance for democratic citizenship. Secondly, to voice clients’ personal experiences of social assistance provision that is an unduly neglected perspective in the scholarship on the contemporary Hungarian welfare state. And ultimately, the research has policy implications too: it aims to contribute to the re- imagination of welfare policies and institutions as instruments of democratic empowerment from being the means of enforcement and control.

Jarrett Martineau, Indigenous Governance, University of Victoria, Canada
Decolonizing Media: Indigenous Art, Political Communication and Transformative Praxis
My dissertation examines emergent forms of Indigenous political communication across Turtle Island (North America) within the contemporary landscapes of colonialism and global capitalism. Drawing historical linkages through Indigenous social movements and activism throughout the twentieth-century, my research considers the transformation of political mobilization and resistance tactics in hypermediated, technologized spaces of the networked present. My work seeks to articulate how Indigenous lifeways—manifest in cultural, creative and artistic praxis—offer transformative possibilities to enact decolonization as a set of lived practices and processes. I ask: How have media and art practices supported Indigenous resurgence movements and how can they contribute to the revitalization of Indigenous nationhood? As Indigenous articulations of decolonial theory and action are increasingly constituted within mediatized, communicative spaces—digital technologies, social media, art, music, and performance— and in immaterial forms of digital labour, my work interrogates the liberatory potential of Indigenous creativity to mobilize a radicalized politics of collective conscientization (critical consciousness) and resurgent cultural praxis. A primary focus of my discursive analysis is the production and performance of Indigenous hip-hop. As one of the dominant cultural forms in global youth culture, hip-hop’s popularity has extended deep into the heart of Indian Country, where it is being actively appropriated and remixed by Indigenous youth across remote, rural, reservation and urban communities to reflect the lived realities of contemporary indigeneity. I contend that Indigenous hip-hop manifests ciphered spaces of affirmative alterity, in which, paradoxically, Indigenous subjectivation is actualized through both creative contention with colonialism and complicity with capitalist modes of cultural production. At this ambivalent nexus of mediation, representation and commodification, my work explores the politics and aesthetics of decolonization—through the rhythmic, sonic, and poetic force of Indigenous resurgence.

Beatriz Tamaso Mioto, Economic Development, University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Housing Policies in Underdeveloped Metropolises: the cases of São Paulo, Ciudad de Mexico, Caracas and Bogotá
The thesis is about the issue of housing in underdeveloped countries focusing the analysis on São Paulo, Caracas, Bogota and Mexico City. The perspective undertaken in the research lays emphasis on the central aspects of the underdeveloped urbanization, the peculiarities of the land question in underdeveloped countries and the role of housing policy. The empirical research regards specifically on the recent (2000`s) housing polices in the metropolises in order to subsidize a comparative approach. To accomplish this proposal, it is suggested the following study strategies: a brief theoretical review relating the housing issue and the space production; as well as its association with historical succession patterns of accumulation in Latin America (from 1930 until 1970, as an industrial “developmentalist” pattern, and after 1980, as a neoliberal/financialisation pattern); setting up a diagnosis about the problem through analysis of evolution, composition and characteristics of housing deficit; and, highlight the possible limits that the real market and the use/appropriation of the urban soil impose to implementing these housing policies. The thesis uses bibliographic material, empirical data (through primary and secondary sources) and others materials obtained from the travel research to these countries. The research is under the guidance of distinguished professor Wilson Cano from Unicamp – Brazil.

José Ribiero Junior, Geography, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Food and proletarianization: a study on critical urbanization and everyday life in São Paulo (Brás and Grajaú)
The object of study of this research is the relation between the processes of proletarianization and the deterioration of food practices. Our key aim is to understand the existence of hunger and various forms of deterioration of eating, by way of an interpretation that takes into consideration the role played by critical urbanization in our society. We begin with a critical review of the literature on hunger and food and then we point to the need for overcoming current understandings of these phenomena based on a critique of political economy that takes into account the production of space and everyday life. To carry out this research, we have selected two areas in the city of São Paulo (Brás and Grajaú) with the aim of understanding how spatial differences have an impact on the proletariat’s daily life and on their food practices.

Murat Şentürk, Department of Sociology, Istanbul University
Motion, Reproduction and Standardization: Modernization and Secularization of Urban Spaces
This study will discuss modernization and secularization of urban spaces in Istanbul as one of the most important consequences of urban changes that has been continuing since the middle of the 19th century. The purpose of my study is to investigate and describe the basic dynamics of the modern urban experience.
The case study will focus on the spaces of consumption, their relationships and values in Istanbul. The conceptualizations of motion, reproduction and standardization will form the basic framework which will be based on theoretical approaches of three sociologists of different sociological traditions, Simmel, Lefebvre and Veblen. The studies I have conducted on urbanization so far show that three basic concepts are useful in understanding the phenomenon of modern city: Motion, Re-production and Standardization. These concepts constitute the basis of modernization and secularization of the urbanization process. Motion involves moving of people, products and machines etc. from one place to another. Reproduction involves reproduction of people, space, and time etc. according to values. Standardization defines the values in everyday life and makes them reputable. In this context, definition, re-production and motion of values enable the transformation of urban spaces.
During my PhD studies I have noticed that changes in Istanbul are carried out by urban elites from political, capital and bureaucratic circles who form coalitions in various topics such as growth, progress and modernization. In my post-doctoral work, I am planning to explore the values around which the urban elite are shaping the changes in the city.

Ivan Valenzuela, Lecturer in Sociology, Social Science Department, Universidad Arturo Prat, Iquique, Chile
During the last three decades local/regional socioeconomic and political development has been studied by various Latin America thinkers, whose contributions have been widely discussed in key hemispheric policy and intellectual institutions such as BID and CEPAL.
Of course, much of this work has been conditioned in different degrees by existing neoliberalism in Latin American universities and academia. On the other hand, in countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia national governments have proclaimed as key objective the search for economic and political alternatives to neoliberalism.
But such emancipatory attempts badly need better theoretical frameworks in order to understand and explore the spatial-temporal possibilities and constraints at local and regional levels. Thus, a critical engagement with D. Harvey ́s geographical historical materialism would be of great help in improving the theoretical and analytical tools available in this area.
My research proposal pretends, first of all, to study systematically the points of encounter and divergence between highly influential (both in mainstream intellectual and policy circles) Latin American authors on local-regional development, such Boisier and Coraggio. A parallel recent development between such literature and D. Harvey ́s theoretical contributions lies in their selective appropriation of the “complexity turn”. Harvey ́s creative elaboration, of course, is firmly rooted in his dialectical internal relations approach, but in the authors above such appropriation, for example, tends to follow an uncritical celebration of (liberal) network governance for local development. Second, Harvey ́s ”co-evolutionary” theory of social evolution offers a suitable theoretical framework to explore the local development complexities in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela from the point of view of increasing non-capitalist logics and progressive urbanization. Finally, there is much to be learned from Harvey on more general issues such “organizational fetishism”, hegemony, political economy of current capitalism in Latin America, etc. The ongoing debates would immensely benefit from a systematic engagement with his recent thoughts.

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