Doreen Massey | Interview, documentary, and the work of translating theory

I have come across these two rather strange videos of/by Doreen Massey: an interview with Rem Koolhaas and a documentary on Mexico City she herself presents.

The first one was recorded in London’s Serpentine Gallery as part of the inaugural Interview Marathon—24 hours of conversations— in 2006. The interviewers and organizers were Koolhaas himself and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Well, I didn’t know that at the beginning—I was just looking for Massey material—and I was shocked when I heard that familiar Dutch accent. Nothing new here for those who know Massey’s work, although she provides an interesting answer to Koolhaas’ last question about the relation (or lack thereof) of her notion of space with that of architects. I was also wondering what Koolhaas, famous for his opportunistic critique of planning, thought each time Massey mentions the GLC…

The second video is a little not-to-be-missed television masterpiece for BBC2 from 1999. You will find a much younger Massey walking down the streets of Mexico City, talking (in Spanish) with inhabitants of informal settlements and exchange brokers, visiting factories and TV studios, even taking a (seemingly fictitious, but somewhat hilarious) ride in a helicopter and enjoying the view from above she usually criticizes. You even have a precedent for current ‘urban age’ discourses at the very beginning — but come on, this was 1999!

A very short piece, about 25 minutes, but it epitomizes Massey’s approach in a very straightforward fashion, blending diverse perspectives about economic, cultural and political issues around the question, ‘whose city is this?’. Some of the impressions about Mexico’s history reappeared later at the beginning of For Space. Recalling the only time I met her, over a memorable couple of beers in Madrid center, the passages with the indigenous interviewees are quintessentially Massey: fun and vibrant and warm, and at the same time engaged and penetrating.

I wish we could find this type of material more often. Some years ago I interviewed Stuart Elden and Derek Gregory (see English abridged version or Spanish version) and I asked them precisely about the task of translating strong theory into easier modes of reception in order to achieve broader dissemination; we all recognized how necessary but also how difficult this is.

Does anyone know about other cases/experiences that can be accessed on the internet, material similar to this or to Ed Soja’s participation in the documentary about LA, also for BBC2 (and apparently part of the same initiative by the Open University)?

Publicado en Doreen Massey, Espacio social, Espacio y política, Geografía crítica | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Society and Space Editorial team changes

EPD: Society and Space presents new editorial team — thrilled to join the board!

Society and space

Some months ago, we announced the departure of Stuart Elden and the arrival and Alexander Vasudevan and Darshan Vigneswaran alongside Natalie Oswin and Mary Thomas as Editors of Society and Space. We now have many more changes in our team to announce, including changes in Editors, Review Editors, and Editorial Board members.

First, and sadly, Deborah Cowen has recently stepped down, after seven years as one of our Editors. Deb brought a wonderful, collaborative spirit to her editorial work, as well as a strong commitment to fostering inspiring and adventurous writing, especially from junior scholars. She also brought a keen awareness of the problematic political economy of academic publishing, of the challenges of producing critical scholarship in the contemporary university, of the value of public scholarship, and of the importance of championing work that makes theory speak to social justice imperatives. Her influence will be evident in the journal’s…

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Top ten Society and Space posts of 2015

A list of the most popular posts in 2015 at the Society and Space blog.

Society and space

It was a busy year on the Society & Space open site. As a partial recap, here is a list of the top ten most visited pages amongst those we published in 2015.

10. Sacred Space Unbound
A virtual theme issue edited by Veronica Della Dora pulling together articles from the archives of Society and Space as well as Environment and Planning A. 

9. “Future fossils” exhibition
For this forum, Beth Greenhough, Jamie Lorimer and Kathryn Yusoff invited contributors to speculate on “future fossils” and reflect on the process of speculation itself as a mode of engagement.

8. Kimberley Peters and Philip Steinberg – A wet world: rethinking place, territory and time
This photo essay supplements Steinberg and Peters’ 2015 Society and Space article ‘Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking’.

7. Forum on ‘Charlie Hebdo’ and the politics of response
Angharad Closs Stephens convened this…

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The Power of Ideas: a discussion with David Harvey

Here is the video of the event held at the LSE last month, on the occasion of David Harvey’s honorary degree, including a conversation with Jane Willis, Murray Low and Michael Storper. Questions such ‘What makes and idea powerful?’ provide the space for an informal reflection on the role of research and theory and Harvey’s particular scholarly and political strategies and experiences throughout his carrer. The response to Storper when asked why does he still stick to Marxism… not to be missed.

Publicado en David Harvey, Escritura científica, Espacio y política, Marxism, Marxismo, Materialismo histórico-geográfico | Etiquetado , , , , | Deja un comentario

Especial CIUr 100 | Celebrando cien entregas de investigación urbanística

Se ha publicado el número 100 de Cuadernos de Investigación Urbanística. Aunque habitualmente CIUr lanza números monográficos con un sólo trabajo, en esta ocasión se trata de un especial de 150 páginas con 31 contribuciones de profesores del Departamento de Urbanística y Ordenación del Territorio de la UPM, en las que se exploran los campos que, en opinión de los autores, han definido más poderosamente el campo del urbanismo a lo largo de los casi 25 años de andadura de la publicación. Aunque se trata de textos breves hay aportaciones realmente interesantes por su capacidad de síntesis, proporcionando un retrato polifónico tanto de las últimas décadas de la ciudad y la disciplina como del propio departamento. Una forma inmejorable de comenzar el año, no se lo pierdan.


Publicado en Comunes, Diseño urbano, DUyOT, Espacio público, Espacio social, Estudios urbanos / Urban Studies, Urbanismo crítico, Urbanismo España, Urbanismo sostenible, Urbanismo y sociedad | Etiquetado , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Building Power | Free inaugural issue of ROAR collective’s magazine

The ROAR Collective has launched a new website along with ROAR Magazine, a ‘quarterly journal of the radical imagination providing grassroots perspectives from the front-lines of the global struggle for real democracy.’ The inaugural issue, entitled ‘Building Power’, is available to download here. It includes contributions by John Holloway and Amador Fernández-Savater, and interviews with Michael Hardt and David Harvey, amongst others. Don’t miss the specially interesting analysis of the politics of new radical city governments in Spain by sociologist Carlos Delclós.

ROAR magazine

Publicado en Crisis, David Harvey, Derecho a la ciudad, Espacio social, Espacio y política, Marxismo, Materialismo histórico-geográfico, Politics | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

CfP: Urban Form: Past, Present and Perspectives

Call for papers for a congress on urban morphology to be held in Toledo (Spain) in September 2016. More information here.


Publicado en Call for papers, Urban design | Etiquetado , , , | Deja un comentario