Edmond Safra Lecture Theatre, Saïd Business School, Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1HP
'City as commodity – crucible of revolts'
Speaker: Neil Smith
(City University of New York)
Chair: Michael Keith
(COMPAS, University of Oxford)
The Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, University of Oxford, presented a series of three lectures with distinguished academics whose inspirational work has contributed significantly to our understanding of contemporary cities and societies. This event was organised in collaboration with the Department for Continuing Education
, University of Oxford.
The third and last lecture of this series pointed to two somewhat opposing trends that are likely to sculpt our understanding of cities in the near future. On the one hand, urban theory has tended in recent decades to emphasise the city as a place of consumption and/or social reproduction whereas the recent economic crisis, triggered by a predatory commodification of housing in the US has highlighted the question of city building and especially the role of construction. Smith explored this connection between construction and commodification especially in the context of the crisis and the burgeoning cities of Asia. On the other hand, the revolts of the last few years have been heavily focused in and about cities, and he argued that with the future of social and political change now radically open, it is imperative to understand how political struggles are likely to change urban landscapes. He examined some recent movements and uprising as a means to think through quite different, and opposed, trajectories from those of the city commodified.
About the speaker
Neil Smith is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he was the founding Director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He is also Sixth Century Chair in Geography and Social Theory at University of Aberdeen. His numerous authored and edited books include American Empire: Roosevelt=s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization which won several awards including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, 2004; The Endgame of Globalization (2005); New Urban Frontier (1996); and Uneven Development (3rd edn, 2008). He has written more than 200 articles, chapters and essays, and his work is translated into more than a dozen languages. He has received numerous honors including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.