Posts Tagged 'Lefebvre'

‘A Spectre is Haunting’ paper: Lefebvre and urban politics

The  papers from yesterday’s ‘A Spectre is Haunting’ conference will be uploaded in due course. If for any reason anyone wishes to republish these papers please seek the permission of the author. For starters, mine is below

Henri Lefebvre; or a politics of urban space and everyday life for the 21st century – Jon Piccini (jon.piccini [at] uqconnect [dot] edu [dot] au)

In today’s green anti-capitalist discourse, the urban question is too often seen as predetermined. Cities are hives of CO2 emissions and other pollutants, we are told, centres for poverty and dispossession alongside repositories of great wealth for a select few. With the UN now indicating that 50% of the earth’s population live in the metropolis, we are told by luminaries of the ecological left that this mode of habitation is unsustainable. Some unfortunately vocal intellectuals advocate what amounts to a ‘return to the countryside’ – accompanied by a massive decrease in human population – as the only answer to our current environmental conjuncture, seemingly mirroring Engels’ quaintly 19th Century understanding that the city would simply disappear in a post revolutionary situation.[i] To change contexts briefly, in Shanghai, I was recently informed, it is possible to visit the preserved home of Zhou Enlai, leading Chinese Maoist and Foreign Minister. The building is a tribute to revolutionary austerity, containing the few meagre possessions which Enlai lived from over the decades. Problems arise, however, when one leaves the house – only to be surrounded by advertisements for Prada, Gucci, and other western commodities. Here the urban revolution has been decided firmly in global capital’s favour.

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