[URBANTH-L]CFP AAG 2010: Assembling ‘parts of elsewhere’: Urban politics and policies on the move

Eugene McCann emccann at sfu.ca
Mon Sep 14 20:54:03 EDT 2009

Call For Papers, Assoc. American Geographers Meeting, 14-18 April,  
2010, Washington DC

Assembling ‘parts of elsewhere’:  Urban politics and policies on the  

Organizers: Eugene McCann (Geography, Simon Fraser University) and  
Kevin Ward (Environment and Development, University of Manchester)

A great deal of urban politics and urban policy-making is  
characterized by actors’ engagements with places elsewhere.  Indeed,  
for Allen and Cochrane (2007), urban regions are assemblages of  
‘parts of elsewhere;’ their very constitution is only conceivable and  
made operational through the way that they draw together and  
articulate various people, processes, and forms of knowledge that  
exist and extend beyond the individual locality.  This insight has  
its origins in the work of David Harvey and Doreen Massey, among  
others.  Both have emphasized, in their own ways, how places are  
moments in wider processes that link them to wider geographies and  
histories.  Yet, despite a longstanding acceptance of the relational  
geographies and sociologies of place and the problematic nature of  
the category, ‘urban,’ much remains to be done in analyzing precisely  
how, where, and with what consequences urban policy-making and urban  
politics operate in and through individual cities.

Recent work on policy transfer, policies-in-motion, or policy  
mobilities has deepened our understanding somewhat (for example, the  
2009 special issue of Geoforum on “Remaking governance, mobilizing  
policy,” (Peck and Theodore, eds.) and the forthcoming volume  
Assembling Urbanism (McCann & Ward eds., Minnesota Press)).  The  
purpose of this session is to deepen and extend the discussion by  
bringing together a range of scholars whose work analyzes how urban  
political and policy actors (broadly defined to include those working  
in state institutions, in business, and in grassroots activist  
organizations, among others) engage with places elsewhere as they  
seek to shape their place.  We invite papers from a variety of  
theoretical and methodological positions, exploring a diversity of  
empirical cases.  Possible themes include (but are not necessarily  
limited to):

1. Conceptual

·      Political economy-derived conceptualizations of urban neo- 

·      Post-structural understandings of governmentality, spatiality,  
subjectivity, and assemblage as applied to global-urban policy-making  
and political action

·      Cultural theorizations of mobility in the context of urban  
policy and politics

2. Methodological

·      Archival and documentary analysis of discourses of connection  
among cities

·      Ethnographies of institutions, organizations, and individuals  
involved in the movement of policies and in translocal ‘resistance  

·      Comparative urbanism and other techniques for understanding  
the geographies and histories of city to city inter-connections

·      Interpretations of landscapes and the parts of elsewhere held  
within them

·      Theoretically-informed mappings and quantifications of policy  
transfers and of geographies of urban policy and political knowledge

3. Empirical

·      Specific cases of globally-circulating policies and best  
practices and their impact on particular places

·      Policy tourism and the means through which actors in different  
cities move between cities, learning, adapting, translating and  
implementing policies

·      City twinning, and other formal relationships that exist in  
and through which policies can be moved about

·      Institutional infrastructures that facilitate and channel  
knowledge transfer (UN, Trade organizations, EU learning networks etc.)

·      Oppositional political movements and their use of global  
circuits to undermine existing policies (eg the World Social Forum)

Authors are invited to submit a 250 word abstract to both the session  
organizers, Kevin Ward (kevin.ward at manchester.ac.uk) & Eugene McCann  
(emccann at sfu.ca) by Monday 5 October.

Dr. Eugene McCann
Associate Professor
Graduate Program Chair
Department of Geography
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6

Email:  emccann at sfu.ca
Phone (Direct):  778.782.4599
Phone (Departmental Office):  778.782.3321
Fax:  778.782.5841

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