AAG CFP: Financialization of Urban Governance in the Post-Entrepreneurial State

This just came over the AAG wires. I’m hoping Benjamin Lozano from Speculative Materialism submits a paper.

CFP – AAG Conference April 8-12, 2014

Financialization of Urban Governance in the Post-Entrepreneurial State

Writing in 1989, David Harvey documented the transformation of urban governance from managerialism to entrepreneurialism. By this he meant the shift in the aims and practices of urban governance from managing urban services and infrastructure to innovating entrepreneurial arrangements, such as public-private partnerships, for financing urban projects.

Now, nearly twenty-five years later, many observers point to financialization as the next generation in the continuing transformation of urban governance. Financialization, in this context, refers to the repurposing, redesign and implementation of urban governance as a practice serving the needs of a financial instrument rather than a practice aimed at addressing urban needs. Financialization as a process reflects a reversal of ends and means: whereas previously the profitability of financial instruments and arrangements served as a means (via taxation) to achieve the ends of urban policy, now urban policy serves as a means (via financialization) to achieve the ends of financial profit.

This transformation of ends and means is more far-reaching in its implications than the assertion that the urban is merely an epiphenomenon of capitalism, as Castells (1977) argued in The Urban Question thirty-five years ago. Under financialization, financial profitability has become the medium-the language, the conceptual frame, and the discursive field-within and through which the urban is situated, rendered knowable and understood, urban governance is practiced, and urban policy is articulated, designed, and performed. As a result, the language of social entrepreneurship and impact investing has become pervasive in the practice of urban governance.

We invite papers for a session that examines the formative effect of financialization on urban governance beyond the entrepreneurial state. Topics include but are not limited to description, analysis and/or assessment of:

  • financial instruments and practices comprising the process of financialization
  • the discursive practices of financialization
  • the language and practices of social entrepreneurship, impact investing, social impact financing, and related tropes of the privatization of urban governance
  • the implications of financialization for the practice of urban governance and for the focus, design, and implementation of urban public policy
  • case studies instantiating the practice of financialization in specific contexts
  • the effects of financialization for urban populations, neighborhoods and communities

Those interested in presenting a paper in this session should send a 250-word abstract to Bob Lake (rlake [at] rutgers [dot] edu) or Kathe Newman (knewman [at] rutgers [dot] edu) before November 15th

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