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Alex Schafran
Matthew Noah Smith
, and
Stephen Hall

commodities or objects or outputs, a common way of seeing in economics. Then we reimagine ideas familiar to economists such as substitutability, excludability and rivalry through the lens of systems thinking, as opposed to the commodity-focused approach from mainstream economics. Not only do we work to detach these ideas from commodity-focused imaginations, we also use these ideas to show the limits of ideologies attached to institutional type and scale. Finally, we bring the two parts together in a series of questions which offer an initial – and partial

in The spatial contract
Exploring the session space
Daithí Kearney

community or organisation. Rather, they comprise a multi-layered, multi-regional and even multi-national culture that contributes to the Irish economy and the social life of many. The representation of Ireland and Irish culture on the global stage is an integral part of the politics and economics of the nation, exemplified by the prominent role of the arts in discussions at the 2009 Global Irish Economic Forum (White, 2010). Irish traditional music is integrally connected to Irish identity but the identity represented by Irish traditional music has changed greatly, as

in Spacing Ireland
A new politics of provision for an urbanized planet

This book examines how material systems such as transportation, energy and housing form the basis of human freedom. It begins by explaining this linkage by defining reliance systems, the basic way in which we become free to act not only as a result of our bodily capabilities or the absence of barriers but because of collectively produced systems. As virtually all of us rely on such systems – water, food, energy, healthcare, etc. – for freedom, the book argues that they must form the centre of a twenty-first-century politics. Rather than envisioning a healthier politics of reliance systems exclusively through rights or justice or deliberative democracy, we argue that they must become the centre of a new social contract. More specifically, we discuss the politics of reliance systems as a set of spatial contracts. Spatial contracts are the full set of politics governing any given system, and as such they are historically, geographically and system specific. In order to fully understand spatial contracts, we develop an analytical framework focused on three areas. Seeing like a system shows how systems thinking can enable us to avoid ideological approaches to understanding given spatial contracts, repurposing key ideas from mainstream and heterodox economics. Seeing like a settlement shows how systems come together in space to form human settlements, and exposes key political divides between urban and rural, and formal and informal. Adapting Iris Marion Young’s five faces of oppression enables an understanding of the specific ways in which reliance systems can be exploitative.

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Peter Kalu

Social class, the left-behind, migration and the history of underclass occupations as exemplified by the demographics, including ethnicity, of car wash attendants. Mobilities, the cocooning effect of the car cockpit and the discombobulation of temporarily evacuated drivers bringing their car for valeting at car wash enterprises. Employment structures and practices of car washes and the economics of the geographical distribution of car wash enterprises within urban landscapes. Semaphore, sign and cross-languaging in bottom-rung car wash businesses. Aspiration, rags-to-riches myths and film fantasies connecting British car wash work with the American Dream. The interrelated economic histories of car wash employment and taxi driving.

in Manchester
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Infrastructure, financial extraction and the global South

No struggle for social justice that lacks a grounded understanding of how wealth is accumulated within society, and by whom, is ever likely to make more than a marginal dent in the status quo. Much work has been done over the years by academics and activists to illuminate the broad processes of wealth extraction. But a constantly watchful eye is essential if new forms of financial extraction are to be blocked, short-circuited, deflected or unsettled. So when the World Bank and other well-known enablers of wealth extraction start to organise to promote greater private-sector involvement in ‘infrastructure’, for example through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), alarm bells should start to ring. How are roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways being eyed up by finance? What bevels and polishes the lens through which they are viewed? How is infrastructure being transformed into an ‘asset class’ that will yield the returns now demanded by investors? Why now? What does the reconfiguration of infrastructure tell us about the vulnerabilities of capital? The challenge is not only to understand the mechanisms through which infrastructure is being reconfigured to extract wealth: equally important is to think through how activists might best respond. What oppositional strategies genuinely unsettle elite power instead of making it stronger?

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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

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Something rich and strange

Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.

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Steve Hanson

tied to, from the steps of the Cotton Exchange. This is more difficult now, but Manchester – contra the cliches surrounding the city – was a forerunner in alienation. Of course, bonds and shares do not emerge directly from Manchester; they have a much longer history, in the form of loan certification to pay for wars and other urgencies. But the high abstractions of contemporary finance, the ways in which economics, people – labour – and social life, become viewed instrumentally and thus divorced from each other, is very particularly Mancunian. Manchester’s bee symbol

in Manchester
Louise Amoore

formulation the ‘economic’ is conceived as the realm of market interactions characteristic of world trade, held to be separate from the ‘political’ as the realm of state interactions characteristic of IR. IPE becomes a field of study ‘concerned with the political determinants of international economic relations’ (Krasner, 1996: 108). The separate and unitary realms of politics and economics are conceived as in a linear relationship of tension: ‘The tension between these two fundamentally different ways of ordering human relationships has profoundly shaped the course of

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Urban presence and uncertain futures in African cities
Michael Keith
Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

’ in African cities, whether it is conventional understandings of housing markets, received wisdoms on city resilience or transport planning or the ‘modernisation’ of waste, water and energy systems. It explores what it might mean for citizens and city halls to consider what happens if different forms of knowledge production – for example urban economics, risk and resilience, ecosystems analysis and engineering logics – are deemed fundamentally incommensurable. In this sense it makes an old case for cities to understand the importance of local

in African cities and collaborative futures