Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy

Montag, 01.07.13 -18h // Dr. Darshan Vigneswaran vom Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser und multiethnischer Gesellschaften:

In this presentation I want to talk about epochal change in the international system (Ruggie 1993). Over the long term evolution of modern global politics, cities and territorial states have been locked in an ongoing struggle for primacy (Tilly 1985, Spruyt 1994). After over a century in which state boundaries have provided the primary spatial contours of international politics, many believe we are seeing the relocation of power at the urban scale (Sassen 1998, Brenner 2004). The talk addresses these broad questions by examining the potential for change in the way governments decide where people live. If UN projections are correct, protean shifts in global demographic patterns are underway, fundamentally reshaping how we problematize human mobility and settlement. As international migration between the developing and developed worlds tapers off over the next 40 years, most governments around the world are (surprisingly) satisfied with current levels of border control. The same cannot be said for patterns of urbanization over the same period. The vast majority of projected growth in the world’s population will occur in the cities of the developing world. Yet, developing countries have by-and-large failed to meet the challenges created by the urban populations that they already have (Davis 2007). Approximately 1 in every 6 people on earth currently lives in an urban slum in the Global South. Unsurprisingly, cities in the developing world are all looking for new ways of conditioning, controlling and limiting people’s right to move to their rapidly expanding urban areas. Given this, the talk seeks to explore the following proposition: will cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America replacing European and North American borders as the primary locus of state power, communal differentiation and territorial control?
It is in this spirit that I turn to Neil Smith’s (2002) classic work on ‘Gentrification as a Global Urban Strategy’ for inspiration. While the literature on gentrification is vast, Smith was primarily responsible for advancing the claim that gentrification was not a minor theme, only noticeable in financial ‘command centres’ like New York, London and Paris but a way of controlling human movement to and within a larger number of production centres in cities like Manila, Shanghai and Lagos. Unfortunately, the gentrification literature has largely failed to take up the recent call by researchers to empirically demonstrate these broad themes by relocating the gentrification research agenda to the Global South (Parnell & Robinson 2012, Comaroff & Comaroff 2012). In response, I will try to outline a set of theoretical resources and research strategies that we can use to address this gap, drawing primarily on my own data sets from Johannesburg and Mumbai.

zum Think & Drink programm hier.

Raum 002 im ISW
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin
Lehrbereich Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie und
Georg-Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung

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