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Struggles for the right to the city: assembling politics on the streets of Barcelona
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In recent years, the ‘right to the city’ has emerged as a key concept and practice amongst both academics and social movements around which to organise a response to the crisis of Fordist production and political representation. In Spain this response has taken to the streets, with millions of people coming together and shouting ‘They don’t represent us!’. As a key site of both neoliberal urban governance and political insurgency, Barcelona provides a powerful site through which to examine the relationships between urban social movements, urban governance and struggles around the right to the city. In this thesis I build a (partial and provisional) genealogy of the right to the city, examining the relevance of those struggles that have emerged inside and against neoliberal governmentality since the early 1980s in an effort to assemble the right to the city through the material combination of struggles around urban production and citizenship rights. To do this, I return to the relation between genesis and management as an uneven dialectic in the production of rights; drawing on and building new connections between post-colonial studies, autonomous marxist debates, critical studies of citizenship and urban studies to investigate how strangers, outsiders and the governed challenge European capitalism from inside and assert a different imagination of contemporary urban life. I also explore my own role in these dynamics. In contrast to an understanding of academic knowledge as analytical and objective representation, my position as both a militant and a researcher provides the ground upon which I analyse social movements as a factory of concepts and practices capable of assembling an instituent politics against neoliberal governmentality
- Theses