The Power Struggle over Urban Space: Spatial Violence and (In)Justice. Part I

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC21 Regional and Urban Development (host committee)

Language: English

As Edward Said (1994, p. 6) once said, “none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography” and this struggle over geography “is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings” (Said, 1994, p. 6). Urban space per se is an area of this struggle through the practice of production of space (Lefebvre, 1992). As recently we have been experiencing globally, the control over urban space creates (1) the practices of power struggle such as the increase in appropriation-by-dispossession (Harvey, 1985) in urban space and the struggles over urban commoning; (2) symbolic or physical violence such as the exclusion of vulnerable groups from public space through hostile architecture and people’s solidarity against those practices; and (3) (in)justices such as forced displacements and the global movement of refugees welcome to support the displaced.

In wake of these practices, this session aims to discuss the contemporary power struggle over geography through practices of the spatial (symbolic or physical) violence and spatial (in)justices. The session particularly welcomes papers focusing on the tensions created by attempts of controlling over urban space and its production practices.


Harvey, D., 1985. The Urbanisation of Capital: Studies in the History and Theory of Capitalist Urbanisation. John Hopkins University Press.

Lefebvre, H., 1992. The Production of Space. Wiley.

Said, E.W., 1994. Culture and Imperialism. Random House.

Session Organizer:
Bilge SERIN, Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom
Oral Presentations
Urban Commons As Emancipatory Spatial Practice? Challenges and Potentials in the Post-Democratic Era
Lukas FRANTA, TU Vienna, Austria; Alexander HAMEDINGER, TU Vienna, Austria
Violent De-Politicisation: (sub)Urbanising a Palestinian Middle-Class
Oded HAAS, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Canada
Collusion of Interests Led By Developer: A Case Study of Rural Urbanization in China
Yexing SHA, Tsinghua University, China; Ruanzhenghao SHI, Tsinghua University, China