Erik Swyngedouw on "Designing the Post-Political City and the Insurgent Polis"

In this blog post from The POLIS, they report on the intellectual work of Erik Swyngedouw, a scholar in Critical Geography and Political Ecology with a long row of publications.

I was very fortunate in having Erik as my opponent on my thesis In Rhizomia in 2008 and since they I have got to know this most inspiring academic. Already a very popular speaker at many events, my prediction is that he will become even more influential since he has taken very seriously three increasingly important issues: equality, ecology, and the political - a combination of words that certainly will arouse more and more interest in the times we are living. We should for instance translate some of his work into Swedish.

From The POLIS blog post:
Swyngedouw points to a climate of global consensus that has become pervasive over the past twenty years, effectively suppressing dissent and excluding most people from governance. He explains this consensus as limited to a select group (e.g., elite politicians, business leaders, NGOs, experts from a variety of fields) and perpetuated through "empty signifiers" like the sustainable/creative/world-class city. He argues that this consensus serves a "post-political" neoliberal order in which governments fail to address citizens' most basic needs in order to subsidize the financial sector and take on grandiose projects designed to attract global capital. He adds that the flipside of management through limited consensus is rebellion on the part of the excluded, which he views as insurgent architecture and planning that claims a place in the order of things. Swyngedouw calls for open institutional channels for enacting dissent, fostering a democratic politics based on equal opportunity for all in shaping the decisions that affect our lives. He envisions the city as "insurgent polis" — a new agora where democratic politics can take place, where anyone can make a case for changing the existing framework.
Please read the well-written post on The Polis about Erik Swyngedouw, and listen to his presentation below of how he describes the key concept of the post-political condition and what this means for a material political practice towards equality and freedom.

Lecture: "Designing the Post-Political City and the Insurgent Polis" by Erik Swyngedouw by Polis CoLab Collaboration

The POLIS is a rich forum for debate on urban issues that ties together social, economic, planning, political and ecological issues in and through the urban. It reports on artistic, academic and activistic interventions in how we can think about the city, but also how we can act in and through the city to upset things taken for granted in pursuit of more equal urban spaces.


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