Form D.M. Doust

Web T. Jonsson



Conflictual Democracy and Institutional Production of Space

The session interrogates the tensions between democratization as situated “powerless” counter-movements, and the need to find democratic institutions that are not organized by dominating neoliberal common sense. How to achieve radical democratization, and necessary changes in city planning? Is democratizing institutions, their scope, form and attention, not a viable way to change city planning, when democratic power structures are forming corporations to evade public insight and push for neoliberal externalization of social effects? Is looking for a democratic, institutionally organized production of space incompatible with the radical democratization of the polity – a democratization without given institutional form. The session welcome contributions from activists, artists and scholars in the field of alternative democratic city planning and urban design.

Please send paper and/or other proposals to Staffan Schmidt:

Proposed by Staffan Schmidt, School of Photography, University of Gothenburg

Invited speaker for this session is Mark Purcell, University of Washington, Seattle. Below is a short synopsis of his paper:

“Following the critique of anarchism/autonomia, do we really seek, as a political agenda, a /new/ hegemony? Or do we seek the elimination of hegemony altogether? Although I tend to favor the former, I take very seriously this anarchist challenge. Second, if a counter-hegemonic alternative were successful, should we be thinking in terms of concrete institutions at this point, before the fact? Can those institutions be imagined a priori, or must they necessarily emerge as an outcome of struggle? I say this because in terms of the /agenda /of any counter-hegemonic alternative, I tend to think in terms of radical democrati/zation/, rather than in terms of radical democracy. That is, I imagine an ongoing struggle to radically democratize the polity (and its institutions), rather than a set of ideal, democratic institutions in the place of the current, neoliberal ones. So the question of the particular character of institutions (or even routinized practices) for me is a bit premature. We must continually struggle to radically democratize whatever institutions/practices/norms of governance there are.”