Talks and Poster Presentations (without Proceedings-Entry):
"Governing Protest: Responses To Large-Scale Protests In The Post-Democratic City";
Talk: EURA 2016,
In the wake of the recent crisis European cities are facing myriad challenges. City governments have to respond to the socio-economic effects of a crisis of the global economy, which affects large parts of residents in diverse ways: While some profit from the crisis, large parts of the urban society are threatened to be socially excludes and, particularly by governmental responses to the crisis. As a response, these alienated from the benefits of crisis alleviation go to the streets (Bayat 2010) in large-scale protest movements, such as `Occupy Wall Street´ or the `Umbrella Movement´, putting stress on the governing institutions and requiring a corrective response.
Hence, these protests not only question the existing democratic quality of cities in crisis, but also the currently dominant logic of neoliberal urban development. Particularly radical theories of democracy focus on this context and bridge arguments about democratic quality and political-economic developments. They often refer to processes of accelerating economisation of societies, financialisation and commodification, marginalisation of certain social groups as well as to a re-feudalisation of political decision-making in describing changes in contemporary democracies. In radical concepts of democracy as in Rancière´s theory of `post-democracy´ (1999, 2001), democracy is understood as a moment of resistance to the established order, the `police´. `Democracy´ is a conflict, in which the alienated demand their equality, a revolt against the order of the `police´. Existing democratic systems are therefore criticized as post-democratic, where moments of conflict are increasingly replaced with consensus-oriented procedures and governing strategies: Post-democracy refers political questions to `experts´ in order to find managerial solutions leaving little room for political discourse on inequalities (Swyngedouw 2011).
Hence, large-scale protest movements as Occupy Wall Street can be understood as a moment of democracy in Rancière´s terms, where the alienated and excluded urban dwellers congregate to claim equality and to challenge the order of the `police´. While `democracy´ is defined as a momentary occurrence, the `police´ is a stable condition (Rosemann 2013). Rancière is very clear on the challenging moment of `democracy´, while being less precise on the means and strategies how the `police´ is reinstating the order, but also possibly changing its order in the face of a democratic moment.
This paper is set to examine how the order of the `police´ is restored in the post-democratic city when being challenged by protest. Case studies on Occupy Wall Street in New York and in Amsterdam form the basis for the analysis. The leading questions for this explorative research are:
. How did urban governments in New York and Amsterdam respond to Occupy Wall Street?
. Which mechanisms are deployed by the urban government (the `police´) to reinforce the order? What were pivotal moments in which the post-democratic mode of consensus oriented procedures became visible?
. What are the long-term effects on the policing of public space in both cities after the order is reinstalled? How can protests in public space contribute to a further democratization of cities?
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.