How do voices of emerging civil societies across the globe articulate public space? Produced both by imaginaries as well as neoliberal market reforms, changes in urban landscapes are closely intertwined with changing social relations. This seminar will explore these dynamics and the local networks of power and/or socialities that resist strategies of marketing in ways that propose “being together” in order to subvert the neoliberal project. How does corruption negotiate neoliberal accumulation? Do the desires of new middle classes appropriate and transform neoliberal policies by dislocating and transforming consumption into a banner for political action? A larger question for investigation is how do alternative conceptions of urban spaces develop? The seminar will also explore the role of traditional social movements, such as the feminist movement, in inhabiting and transforming the public sphere as a physical as well as discursive place. This includes an investigation of immaterial spaces such as virtual and online arenas and a discussion of new forms of liberty and control that are developed therein.

Participants