CfP | The Normalcy of Urban Neoliberalism and its Limits

Session at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in New York (February 24-28, 2012)

Orga­ni­zers: Susanne Heeg, Robert Pütz, Felix Silomon-Pflug and Anne Vogelp­ohl (Goe­the Uni­ver­sity Frank­furt (Main), Germany)

[Spon­so­red by the Urban Geo­gra­phy Spe­cialty Group]

The neo­li­be­ral “re-ordering of cities” has to be under­s­tood wit­hin the stress ratio of glo­bal con­di­ti­ons and spe­ci­fic local requi­re­ments. As a result urban neo­li­be­ra­lism is shaped by local adap­tion, trans­for­ma­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of glo­bally avail­able urban poli­cies. Sol­ving local cri­ses and pre­pa­ring cities for inter­ur­ban glo­bal com­pe­ti­tion can be seen as pur­po­ses of this “tra­vel­ling of poli­cies”. The mobi­lity of urban poli­tics has led to the nor­ma­liza­tion of neo­li­be­ral urban deve­lop­ment as well as the cor­re­spon­ding ana­lytic per­spec­tive on cities. As this pro­cess of nor­ma­liza­tion yet remains a con­tes­ted pro­cess that is resis­ted, obstruc­ted or avo­ided in many ways it can be under­s­tood as a con­stant stret­ching of limits – e.g. through poli­cies that strengt­hen the abi­lity to co-opt cri­ti­que or de-politicize social move­ments. But limits to urban neoliberalism’s nor­malcy may also hint at a post-neoliberal change.

We invite paper pro­po­sals that eit­her ana­lyze the pro­cess of enfor­cing the urban neo­li­be­ral cha­rac­ter or that ana­lyze limi­ta­ti­ons to neo­li­be­ra­liza­tion and poten­ti­ally post-neoliberal urban deve­lop­ment. The for­mer include re-orderings of admi­nis­tra­ti­ons or policy gui­de­lines; the lat­ter include re-interpretations of fai­led poli­cies and deepe­ned ine­qua­li­ties (shrin­kage, mar­gi­na­liza­tion etc.) or con­cepts and per­spec­tives for alter­na­tive cities (“just city”, “right to the city”, peoples/participatory bud­gets etc.).

  • Wit­hin this field the papers may address, but are not limited to the fol­lo­wing questions:
  • How are mobile urban poli­cies adap­ted, trans­for­med and imple­men­ted and what are the effects for the re-ordering of urban configurations/assemblages?
  • Which role does the tra­vel­ling of urban poli­cies play for the nor­ma­liza­tion of neo­li­be­ral urban development?
  • How are con­tra­dic­tions bet­ween mar­ket– and competition-oriented restruc­tu­rings on the one hand and a soci­ally just/ livable city dis­course on the other reconciled?
  • Is the neo­li­be­ral city depo­li­ti­ci­zed and, if so, what are the con­se­quen­ces for modes of participation/ (self)representation?
  • Is the neo­li­be­ral cha­rac­ter of the urban reinven­ted or over­come in the course of the ongo­ing eco­no­mic cri­sis? What are the limits of neo­li­be­ral adaptability?
  • Which theo­ries and con­cepts can be used to con­ceive a post-neoliberal change?

Please sub­mit a ~250-word abstract by Sep­tem­ber 16, 2011 to Anne Vogelp­ohl (

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