Last month, we officially started work on NutriCities, one of the grants awarded through the British Academy Cities&Infrastructure Programme. This is very exciting: working with good colleagues and friends Dr Timo Bartholl and Dr Christos Filippidis (PDRAs), Dr Oonagh Markey and Dr Richard Pithouse (from Loughborough and Wits University, South Africa as Co-Is), plus two local researchers on the ground in the Maré complex of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Starting from questions on food scarcity and food sovereignty, our aim is to understand how informal populations are managed and pacified – how, beyond the official practices of militarisation and control, the city’s populations are now rendered governable and docile through and ever-increasing set of technologies of government. Stay tuned for updates from Rio!
Archives For Research projects
In Political Geography this morning.
What is a hotspot? Ask a random passer-by in your average city street and the by now ubiquitous wireless internet access point will most probably come up immediately in response: the hotspot is somewhere that connects you to the internet’s everywhere. Ask most European Union officials, however, and the very same word will make them sing the praises of the EU’s blueprint for a holistic approach to the migration crisis: a very special “somewhere” that may very well be on its way to become―as this editorial wishes to warn―a new kind of “everywhere”, one that commences with the decades-long European integration finally reaching a tangible form.
In this editorial we reflect on our fieldwork in Lesbos and Athens as part of the Transcapes project (part of ESRC’s Mediterranean Migration Research Programme, 2015–2017) in order to call for a threefold direction for future research. First, we argue geographers need to take seriously into account the ramifications of the EC’s hotspot approach for the future of the EU integration project as a whole. This will then add to, and bring to date geographical thinking over the production of EU territory in the past decade (Bialasiewicz, Elden, & Painter, 2005) below and beyond its mainstream portrayal as an ‘uncertain’ Union (Bialasiewicz, 2008); one that is to the contrary built meticulously through everyday, calculative practices (Luukkonen & Moisio, 2016). Second, we argue that the birth of the hotspot needs to be brought into, and to update the discussion on the future of the nation-state within (Leitner, 1997) and beyond (Swyngedouw, 2000) the EU project. From the revival of area studies in spite and against the prevalence of the nation-state (Sidaway, Ho, Rigg, , & Woon, 2016) to the quest of cities for autonomy from their immediate regional or even their national context (Bulkeley et al., 2016) geographers are already tracing the ongoing globally occurring shift in the relationship between political power and territory (Elden, 2009 ; Sassen, 2012) while striving to answer what the future geographical distribution of said power might look like after the nation-state. Third, the hotspot offers a stark warning on the future of mobility (Painter, Papoutsi, Papada, & Vradis, 2016); the way in which the state creates differentiated temporalities (Griffiths, Rogers & Anderson, 2014; Vitus, 2010), altered geographies (Mountz, 2016) and mobility regimes (Shamir, 2005) and exposes certain populations to these regimes through new, arbitrary and wholly flexible categories. A transformation that opens up a new chapter in the nature of citizenship and territory-related rights: Studying the EC hotspot approach is now key in answering these questions. Continue Reading…
PhD applications on Space and Communication – Loughborough University
The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (CRCC) welcomes applicants for ESRC funded doctoral studentships in Communication and Media.
The CRCC is a large, interdisciplinary research centre that has been at the forefront of research in the field internationally for twenty five years. The CRCC has a large, vibrant and cosmopolitan post-graduate community working on a range of subjects in the fields of sociology, media and cultural studies, social psychology and geography.
Dr Antonis Vradis (Geography) would be particularly keen to support applications from students with an interest or expertise in the intersection of space and communication, with a particular focus in one of the following areas:
- Critical urban studies at a time of crisis, including but not limited to both the communication and representation as much as the actual marginalisation of urban populations; the shifting representations of public space and the communication of dissent and the right to protest in cities across Europe.
- Critical migration studies, particularly on the dynamics of dominant and mainstream representation of the current migration wave in Europe and the transformations of media, state and other institutions in the process. Research here could lead up from Transcapes (http://transcapes.net), the ESRC/DFID grant where Vradis acts as PI.
- Social movement studies, including the portrayal and representation of grassroots social innovation, alternative currencies and grassroots resistance in face and in spite of the prevalence of neoliberal policies in Europe. Research here would relate to PURSI (pursi) the ESRC Urban Transformations project where Vradis acts as Co-I.
- Contemporary Brazilian social and spatial studies, with a particular focus on the representation and the lived experience of the country’s marginalised urban populations and its communication in the mainstream, in the midst of the country’s currently unfolding crisis.
For further information or to discuss your proposal, please contact Antonis Vradis at a.vradis [ a t ] lboro.ac.uk.
The CRCC leads the communication and media pathway of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School doctoral training partnership, a consortium of six research intensive universities based in the English Midlands. Full details of how to apply can be found here:
Co-organised with my colleague Yorgos Mattes as part of our research project, Police Science in Digital Environments, funded by Greece’s Research Centre for the Humanities in 2016. Our other research collective, Transcapes, will also partake in the conference, which will take place at Athens University’s Department of Philosophy and History of Science (Lecture B at UoA’s Zografou Campus) on December 7, 2016 from 5 to 9pm. Programme follows (in Greek).
Pretty much exactly one year ago, me and a group of friends found ourselves in a remote village in the countryside of the Peloponnese, watching with awe and some admitted excitement as Alexis Tsipras was announcing a surprise referendum on something whose wording didn’t quite help one understand what it was about. Yet most of us took this as a veiled suggestion, a hint at questioning Greece’s place in the euro (and potentially the EU), and voted accordingly. This is where the similarities with Britain’s turbulent moment lie: the majority of the Greek population, just like the British one yesterday, did bite the bullet and voted against both what the status quo had paternally asked for, against what was perceived to be its own self-interest.
But this is also pretty much where the similarities end. The Brexit vote was led by nationalism and racism, as we saw: the fictitious “migrant influx” into the UK elevated to a major national calamity that has to be avoided by any cost. We chilled as we watched the Nazi-reminiscent propaganda and gasped at the frivolous way in which the dominant discourse sank into a vile anti-foreigner rant. In this sense there is, of course, nothing to immediately celebrate about yesterday’s vote. The most reactionary side has won. But what was the other side ever about? Why did the progressive voices of Britain―and much of Europe as a whole―largely uncritically align themselves with the likes of David Cameron, Martin Schulz and all those Heroes of the People? Continue Reading…
Antonis Vradis lives in Athens, Greece and has recently spent time along the front lines of the European migration and refugee crisis on the island of Lesvos. He will talk about the changing political situation in Greece, solidarity work with those attempting the journey into the EU, and the challenges for antagonistic movements in this complex era. Antonis will show a short video from Lesvos and there will be a discussion following the talk.
3030b 16th street @ Mission
Thursday, 3/31/16 at 8pm
It is only too easy to be caught into the hustle and bustle of updates on the unfolding crisis: to be dragged into closely following minute-by-minute trackers from one “crucial summit” after another, in reading into a country’s swagging around, into demands raised and dropped, interim agreements reached and breached: heck, to even be caught into trying to understand what the lunch menu of attendants might have to do with this all. It is only too easy, in other words, to read this crisis and its management as an endlessly consecutive, theatre-like play of political actors entering the spotlight to decide the fate of those people dismissed as “flows”. Yet while this is all unfolding, and keeping well away from the spotlight for now, a crucial process plays out: the process of establishing and rendering operative the so-called ‘hot spots’ – including in the Greek island of Lesbos, which is where this brief video was filmed. Continue Reading…
Our research project, Transcapes, has now launched. In the following months, our collective (Anna Papoutsi, Yannis Christodoulou, Joe Painter, Evie Papada, myself – and possibly more!) will be exploring how the transient populations arriving in Europe are now transforming the continent’s political landscape beyond recognition…
For some initial thoughts check our Verso commentary on the aftermath of Paris; a brief interview with BBC Wiltshire and a much longer one with Dissident Island; an article outlining the reasoning behind the research and what it could mean to study refugees in our time. And keep an eye out for updates from the field in the coming days and weeks.
Elated to be working with Joe Painter, Paul Langley, Sue Lewis and Colin McFarlane on “The uban politics and governance of social innovation in austerity”, an ESRC-funded, Urban Transformations grant. We’re kicking off on January 1st – and I’ll be taking care of the Athens side of things.
While austerity can pose opportunities for social innovation as well as challenges, there is currently limited understanding of its implications for urban politics and governance. The Urban Politics and Governance of Social Innovation in Austerity examines these questions through a comparative study of the ongoing effects of austerity in three European cities in Germany, Greece and the UK.
Using Athens, Berlin and Newcastle as case studies, the project aims to identify the roles of alternative finance, grassroots mobilisation and community provisioning in meeting the needs of their citizens as traditional forms of authority are disrupted and competition for public services increases. To accompany this research, an Urban Social Innovation Network will be established to bring together local practitioners, activists and policy makers to share knowledge and resources.
The findings of the project will help expand the current evidence base on the links between social innovation, austerity and urban governance. This in turn will support the development of transformative approaches in the case study areas and other European cities.