180124 The global reach of gentrification, a critical approach
Seminar Cities are back in town "The global reach of gentrification, a critical approach"
Wednesday 24 January 2018, 5 - 7 pm, Sciences Po, LIEPP’s Conference Room, 254 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris
Some concepts travel worldwide, although they remain unobtrusively attached to the contexts in which they were produced and, therefore, are insufficiently abstract and general. Gentrification is a travelling concept with lingering attachments to the Anglo-American urban context. Three issues related to gentrification’s global reach are discussed in this paper. The first is the definition of gentrification. The simple definition adopted by the current gentrification research agenda leads us to accept gentrification’s global reach literally by definition. The second issue is the question of contextual boundaries. Boundaries that are too broad and ill-defined – such as the metropolis of the Global North versus the metropolis of the Global South – conceal what contextual difference may be about. The third issue is the reification of cultural differences, which may lead to them being used to explain attitudes towards gentrification, even though such attitudes could be explained by more prosaic socioeconomic motives compatible with Western rationalism. This paper concludes that the metamorphoses of gentrification through its different waves in the Anglophone world do not provide the script for understanding other cities’ urban histories and making sense of their urban restructuring processes. These cities must realize that new processes emerging under increasingly neoliberal policy orientations are regressive compared with previous arrangements, especially when they tend to exclude political alternatives. The Anglo-American world may have been a pioneering laboratory for the application of gentrification policies, but other parts of the world have shown more effective resistance that can be an asset in future struggles and sociopolitical arrangements and make a difference in people’s lives.
Thomas Maloutas is a Professor at the Department of Geography of Harokopio University. He is the former Director of the Institute of Urban and Rural Sociology of the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE) (2001-2012) and was a Professor at the Department of Spatial Planning of the University of Thessaly (1995-2009).
He also was General Secretary for Research & Technology (2015-2016). His work is related to the changing social structures in metropolitan areas and focuses on issues of segregation and gentrification in housing and welfare regimes. His research and publications refer mainly to the South European urban context and especially to Athens.
The presentation will be in English. The collective discussion will be in French and English
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