Society and Space Volume 34 Issue 4 now online — Society and space

The August issue of the 2016 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space is out now. Sophie Cranston’s piece is free to access. All others require subscription. Articles The Politics of Pleasure: Promenading on the Corniche and Beachgoing Laleh Khalili 583-600 Feeling precarious: millennial women and work Nancy Worth 601-616 With, against and beyond Lefebvre: planetary urbanization […]

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Gramsci and Foucault in Central Park | New article in Society and Space

My latest article, ‘Gramsci and Foucault in Central Park: Environmental hegemonies, pedagogical spaces and integral state formations’, is now available online on the early view webpage of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (requires subscription).

The piece draws on the conceptualizations of power and the state by these authors to develop an explicitly political understanding of landscape struggles and the governmentalization of urban environments, using Manhattan’s Central Park as a historical  illustration of such processes. In fact the article is articulated not only through the dialogue between both thinkers, but as a more open conversation that also includes Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer, architect-in-chief and superintendent of the park, as well as other figures and institutions related to its material and symbolic construction. The Greensward project and subsequent management of the park premises under Olmsted’s attention are depicted as a pioneering example of how design mediates new local state formations that reshape the boundaries between regulatory apparatuses, civil society and subjects.

Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault & Frederick Law Olmsted

Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault & Frederick Law Olmsted

The piece was a great opportunity to expand my previous research on Central Park (e.g. see here and here) and the parallels between Gramsci and Foucault (e.g. see here), but especially to focus more consistently on a —much needed, in my opinion— reflection on the nexus between design, landscape and the evolution of state-forms.

Here is the original abstract:

Gramsci’s and Foucault’s readings of power provide critical illuminations for understanding the linkage of state formations to urbanization and the spatial production of subjectivity. This article uses Central Park to illustrate how a combination of their insights helps to elucidate the emergence of pedagogical spaces and environmental hegemonies. I first propose a conceptual framework drawing on diverse parallels and tensions in Gramsci’s Quaderni del carcere and Foucault’s investigations in the 1970s, reassessed here from the vantage point of the implicit debate with Marxism in La société punitive. Urbanization and the built environment are theorized as material apparatuses of a form of capillary power that reconfigures the relations between state, civil society and individual subjects, striving to forge common senses of space that buttress political hegemony. This analytical toolkit is then applied in a political reappraisal of Central Park, exploring the role of design in the pedagogy of subaltern spatialities and the normalization of a consensual regime of publicity. The discussion pays special attention to the park’s assemblage of liberal and disciplinary spatial techniques, its connection to broader agencies beyond core state apparatuses, and their effect on the advent of an integral state formation.

As usual, you can contact me if you don’t have access to this piece from your institution.

Publicado en Antonio Gramsci, Arquitectura y crítica, Central Park, Diseño urbano, Espacio público, Espacio y política, Historia del urbanismo, Landscape architecture, Landscape theory, Marxism, Marxismo, Michel Foucault, Mis publicaciones, Nueva York, Planning history, Political urbanism, Politics, Social History of Planning, Space and politics, Urban design, Urbanismo crítico | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comentario

A dark day for the UK – my early thoughts on the EU referendum — Progressive Geographies

Yet again I find myself in a minority in a national vote. It was hard to take in the past – 1992, 2010, 2015 – but with those there was always the hope for the future. Now it is hard to see where. This is a backward step that cannot be reversed. This vote was […]

Stuart Elden reflexiona sobre el Brexit en su blog, Progressive Geographies: A dark day for the UK – my early thoughts on the EU referendum

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Saba Mahmood 2016 AAG Society and Space plenary lecture now online — Society and space

Professor Saba Mahmood (University of California, Berkeley) delivered the Society and Space plenary lecture at the Association of American Geographers meeting on March 31, 2016. A video of her excellent talk, titled “Secularism, Sovereignty, and Religious Difference: A Global Genealogy?”, is now available on our publisher Sage’s website. A written version will appear in an upcoming […]

a través de Saba Mahmood 2016 AAG Society and Space plenary lecture now online — Society and space

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Visualizing major ‘urban world’ metanarratives

Daniel Ibañez, a member of Neil Brenner’s Urban Theory Lab, has produced a telling video for urbanNext, summarizing four major metageographical visions of the city, the urban and the world that animate contemporary discussion of world urbanization: the global-city network model, the urban-age discourse, Richard Florida’s spiky world of urban nodes of activity, and critical approaches to the idea of planetary urbanization. The visualization builds upon previous discussions in the forum ‘Reframing the world as one city’, which Daniel himself and Roi Salgueiro coordinated a few months ago.

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Seminario ‘Áreas urbanas y cambio social’

El próximo 21 de junio se celebrará en la Escuela de Arquitectura de Madrid el encuentro ‘Áreas urbanas y cambio social’, organizado por el grupo de investigación Re-Hab en desarrollo de uno más de sus proyectos. Puede encontrarse la información completa del evento aquí.


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New issue of URBAN | New Urban Languages: Rethinking Urban Ideology in Post-ideological Times

The journal URBAN, edited at the Town and Regional Planning Department of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, has published a new, double issue, including the contributions to the 2014 conference ‘New Urban Languages: Rethinking Urban Ideology in Post-ideological Times’. All the papers and materials are open access here.


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