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Labour NGOs and the struggle for migrant workers’ rights

In twenty-first-century Chinese cities there are hundreds of millions of rural migrants who are living temporary lives, suspended between urban and rural China. They are the unsung heroes of the country’s ‘economic miracle’, yet are regarded as second-class citizens in both a cultural, material and legal sense. China’s citizenship challenge tells the story of how civic organisations set up by some of these rural migrants challenge this citizenship marginalisation. The book argues that in order to effectively address the problems faced by migrant workers, these NGOs must undertake ‘citizenship challenge’: the transformation of migrant workers’ social and political participation in public life, the broadening of their access to labour and other rights, and the reinvention of their relationship to the city. By framing the NGOs’ activism in terms of citizenship rather than class struggle, this book offers a valuable contribution to the field of labour movement studies in China. The monograph also proves exceptionally timely in the context of the state’s repression of these organisations in recent years, which, as the book explores, was largely driven by their citizenship-altering activism.

Re-inventing open space in Greece and Switzerland
Sofia Nikolaidou

space in the inner city through the development of long-​term scenarios of densification (Nikolaidou et  al., 2016). Hence, new flexible forms of small-​scale and temporary urban gardens are gaining popularity in green planning practices, especially within dense metropolitan centres where population and economic decline create brownfields (Hula et al., 2016). At the same time, harsh political and economic conditions and globally induced economic crisis, urban poverty and food insecurity empower the importance of subsistence gardening by enhancing its contribution to

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
A conceptual framework for considering mapping projects as they change over time
Cate Turk

as foams 209 and changing circumstances, the temporal emergence of a crisis is echoed in the ways mappings emerge during crisis response. Maps are an essential medium for organising and sharing information in emergency contexts – think of the big wall maps common in emergency coordination centres. Crisis maps are online collaborations where volunteers create maps to help understand and respond to natural disasters and ­ political ­conflicts.  For example, following the huge storm Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda)  which hit the Philippines in November 2013

in Time for mapping
Stavros Stavrides

. Foucault, as we know, has been rather skeptical about the process (or the project) of emancipation. Especially in his late work, he chooses to emphasize “practices of freedom” rather than liberation. And this has direct connection to the distinction between power and domination which is fundamental throughout his work. For him, in a state of domination, “power relations, instead of being mobile, allowing the various participants to adopt strategies modifying them, remain blocked, frozen.” In such a state “any reversibility of movement” is blocked by economic, political

in Common spaces of urban emancipation
Exploring the session space
Daithí Kearney

music, song and dance truly went global. Since 1999, I have performed throughout Ireland and internationally. Many of these trips were not only motivated by a desire to perform Irish traditional music, song and dance but were financially supported by people and groups seeking to promote Ireland to an international market. A 2009 performance at the White House for President Barack Obama as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations highlighted the importance attached to Irish heritage and the arts at an event dominated by political and business interests. Other

in Spacing Ireland
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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.

Pragmatism between rationalism and sentimentality 
Robert W. Lake

Insecurity generates the quest for certainty. (John Dewey, 1929 [1988] , 203) Anyone claiming to tell me the absolute truth is demanding from me unquestioning submission. (Gianni Vattimo, 2014 , 77) Indignation is not yet politics. (Graham Harman, 2014 , 31) Introduction Anyone engaged in the pursuit of knowledge confronts daunting challenges posed by incommensurable definitions of truth, the destabilising threat of uncertainty, the lure of dogmatism and authoritarianism, and the seductive power of sentimentality

in The power of pragmatism
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Qaisra Shahraz

Here, immigration is discussed and the negative connotations of the word are drawn into question by dismissing its use as a political weapon to win votes or cause dissent. The chapter examines attitudes to media coverage of immigrants and refugees, and questions what it means to be English.

in Manchester
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Border images and narratives: paradoxes, spheres, aesthetics
Johan Schimanski and Jopi Nyman

this book goes back to work in a previous research project, Border Aesthetics ( 2010 ), and more specifically one chapter in the book that resulted from that project: the chapter addressing the key word ‘in/visibility’, by two of our present contributors, Chiara Brambilla and Holger Pötzsch (2017) . The theme of in/visibility suggests that a central problem of politics and aesthetics in contemporary borderscapes is a contradiction, an ambiguity or a paradox concerning the role of aesthetics in the political sphere. To have agency in democracies is a question of

in Border images, border narratives