Space, Politics and the Urban

Space, Politics and the Urban

Why, and in what ways have the relations between space and politics changed? How are these relations rethought and reworked? What is the role of the urban in these relations? To what extent does urbanisation, as an ongoing dynamic with deep-historical roots driven by the forces of capital, ‘empire’ and ‘enlightenment’, engender multiple oppositions arising in and circulating from a diversity of spatial contexts and everyday life experiences (not least under present conditions of ‘austerity’)? What alternative bases for agency, politics and solidarity have arisen, fostering ‘subaltern’ and emancipatory versions of urbanism, cosmopolitanism, political economy and socio-ecological relations?


The politicisation of questions around the urban have become some of the most pressing and exciting questions of our contemporary epoch. Our work seeks to unpack the dynamic relations between space and politics in a range of urban contexts, in both the global North and South, and in the past and present. Our approach to thinking about space and politics is informed by a range of theories, approaches, and bodies of work including post-colonial theory, critical theory, subaltern studies, feminist thought, histories from below, political economy and post-structurally inflected work on the political. We are committed to approaches which foreground diverse forms of political imaginations and agencies through which uneven global processes are negotiated and contested and explore the opening of subaltern spaces of and for politics. Our work is informed by engagements with various articulations through which both contestations and solidarities between diverse struggles are generated.


This conceptual focus informs our engagement with a series of key urban thematics. Our work foregrounds diverse practices of urban everyday life and modalities of urban citizenship, broadly defined, and explores how they contest and become entangled with dominant politics. In this, we also contribute to the analysis of the dynamics of urban political economy with a particular focus on differentiated processes of neo-liberalisation. Our work has both sought to engage with and critically intervene in debates around urban governance and policy, e.g. through interrogating different articulations of localism and urban development practices. These critiques also inform our detailed engagements with dynamics, potentials and limits of (urban) social movements, resistances, uprisings, labour organising, and left political activisms. Over the last while part of this work has had particular focus on urban politics and solidarities articulated in/against/beyond neo-liberalism.