The increasing number of metropolitan areas worldwide suggests the need for a more in-depth investigation of metropolitan neighbourhoods in order to explain the complex social dynamics emerging in these new contexts. As a matter of fact, the majority of the existing studies on spatial justice provided analyses and investigations focused on metropolitan settings. However, the issue of spatial justice also involves smaller urban areas and further research is needed in that sense. Our investigation analyses a case study of urban gardening that has been developed with the aim of valorising the central neighbourhood of an Italian mid-size city through proposing participatory planning interventions and requalification of urban sites. The urban gardening initiative has included several actors within the process of implementation. The investigated group of people potentially subjected to the spatial injustice is formed by the residents and the local retailers. A comparison between different stakeholders’ perspectives is provided in order to measure the positive and negative impacts of the initiative on the local community.
The chapter investigates the relationship between urban gardening – as political gesture – and socio-spatial justice. In search for an actually existing just city, gardeners’ everyday initiatives advance a substantive micropolitics of life that point to less visible and sometimes ignored sides of urban governance and planning; and unveil the articulation of different forms of power, dominance and resistance to the unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in space. The critical analysis proposed specifically revolves around the question of whether (and how) urban gardening practices are able to tackle social and spatial injustices. It outlines the consequences, potentialities and contradictions in the constitution of urban spaces and urbanity; and its capability to mitigate material, political and social exclusions, unfairness and inequalities effects. This is complemented with an overview of the contributions comprised in the book.
It is increasingly clear that, alongside the spectacular forms of justice activism, the actually existing just city results from different everyday practices of performative politics that produce transformative trajectories and alternative realities in response to particular injustices in situated contexts. The massive diffusion of urban gardening practices (including allotments, community gardens, guerrilla gardening and the multiple, inventive forms of gardening the city) deserve special attention as experiential learning and in-becoming responses to spatial politics, able to articulate different forms of power and resistance to the current state of unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in the urban space. While advancing their socio-environmental claims, urban gardeners make evident that the physical disposition of living beings and non-living things can both determine and perpetuate injustices or create justice spaces. In so doing, urban gardeners question the inequality-biased structuring and functioning of social formations (most notably urban deprivation, lack of public decision and engagement, and marginalisation processes); and conversely create (or allow the creation of) spaces of justice in contemporary cities. This book presents a selection of contributions investigating the possibility and capability of urban gardeners to effectively tackle spatial injustice; and it offers the readers sound, theoretically grounded reflections on the topic. Building upon on-the-field experiences in European cities, it presents a wide range of engaged scholarly researches that investigate whether, how and to what extent urban gardening is able to contrast inequalities and disparities in living conditions.
This book has engaged in some reflection on the dominant ways of thinking that have shaped IPE's research agenda. This chapter seeks to open up some of the potential terrain for alternative modes of knowledge of social change, and a discussion of the utility of the social practice perspective on work and related spheres of life. Ultimately, it argues that the meanings of globalisation and flexibility directly engage with the everyday lives of people. They do so differentially, unevenly and contradictorily, as they simultaneously seek to remove the grounds for politics, while also redrawing the lines of shared experience, solidarity, and identity.
The restructuring of work and production in the international political economy
In the context of the globalisation of production, MNCs have been most commonly depicted as the key vehicles of global transformation. This chapter opens up the presumed unity of the MNC to explore the social power relationships that constitute this ‘global actor’. Defined in terms of the relationships between corporate managers, financiers, shareholders, suppliers and a diverse range of worker groups, the firm represents a site of contest in the ascription of meanings and realities of globalisation.
This chapter extends the inquiry into the contested nature of restructuring in production and work by exploring the concrete everyday experiences of workers. In line with an IPE of social practice approach, the chapter explores the everyday practices of work that variously enable, contest or confound the emerging social relations of globalisation. This chapter takes the analysis of the restructuring of work beyond a discussion of the politics of states and firms, toward an increased visibility for the concrete experiences of workers who are differentially positioned in the IPE of work.
Bringing fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate, this text reveals the social and political contests that give ‘global’ its meaning, by examining the contested nature of globalization as it is expressed in the restructuring of work. The book rejects conventional explanations of globalization as a process that automatically leads to transformations in working lives, or as a project that is strategically designed to bring about lean and flexible forms of production, and advances an understanding of the social practices that constitute global change. Through case studies that span from the labour flexibility debates in Britain and Germany to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, it examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life and argues that contestation has become a central feature of the practices that enable or confound global restructuring.
This chapter explores the conceptions of globalisation and restructuring on which the discourse of labour flexibility is based. It explores the particular representation of globalisation as an indomitable process that demands specific restructuring responses. The analysis focuses on five defining aspects of the process-centred view of globalisation: exogenous transformative forces, disciplinary imperatives, historical convergence, social prescription and the death of conflict. It argues that these guiding assumptions about the nature and form of contemporary social change have much in common with the modernisation thesis of the industrial society school. Rather than constituting a fundamental break with past practices, the global process model of social change has recast a set of ideas that are deployed to legitimate a programme of labour flexibilisation.
This chapter examines the contribution that the field of IPE can make to raise the visibility of alternative politicised understandings of social change. In many senses, the field has defined itself in terms of its capacity to shed light on the dynamics of contemporary global social transformation. This chapter sketches out the parameters of the claims made by so-called ‘new IPE’ scholars, and analyses their departure from ‘orthodox’ IPE perspectives. There are further steps to be taken in prising open some of the doors that have been closed by dominant IPE ontologies, and the discussion outlines one of them here: an IPE of social practice. It proposes that such a perspective can reveal the politics and contingency of globalisation as it is characterised by contests over the reality and representation of social change.
This chapter develops a typology that helps with thinking about the relationship between conceptions of globalisation and particular sets of interests in the framing of restructuring discourse. It considers the different perspectives on globalisation as distinctive constructions of knowledge that have significant implications for contemporary processes of restructuring. It advances a threefold typology of perspectives on globalisation, each of which has particular implications both for the study of global change and for the restructuring discourse that emerges in production and work.