Volume 52, Issue 5 September 2020

As with the past issue, the essays presented here were in the pipeline prior to the COVID-19 pandemic’s shadow on every aspect of our lives. But as with Antipode’s “conjunctural insurrections”, the contributions speak implicitly to the current conjuncture and to efforts to promote transformational justice writ large.

With its focus on situated analysis of uneven peri-urbanisation and eschewing divisions in urban political ecology approaches, the first paper of the issue by Bartels, Bruns and Simon sets the tone. Its emphasis on relationality and relations across spaces (peri-urban and urban, resources and nature), and processes finds various echoes, albeit in different ways in the rest of the essays in the issue.

Cohen and Rosenman question the moral and reparative claims of impact investing by drawing on “green” and “social” finance literatures in their critical examination of school and housing projects in the United States. Harris, Brickell and Nowicki also focus on the social housing projects and their material effects though their geographical focus is London and their analytical approach mobilizes assemblage theory. They examine how residents in one of London’s temporary social housing experiments negotiate “fixity and impermanence” in their attempts to establish a sense of home.

Staying with the urban, Javier Moreno Zacarés’ paper examines how urban entrepreneurialism in Spain rests on an “iron triangle” of political corruption, a complex of colluding interests formed by the state, the real estate industry, and political parties. Ioanna Korfiati also examines the undertheorized issue of the state’s role in facilitating investments in wind-farms in Crete’s eastern corner, Sitia, which rest on dispossession through land appropriation. Popartan et al. also focus on urban Spain and the struggle over water in Barcelona. Like many other papers in the issue they focus on the complexities of relations (populist and anti-populist antagonism, citizens and private companies, politicization and counterpoliticization) rather than thinking of them as binary oppositions. Real estate and the state are also key themes in the last two papers of the issue with Öznur Yardımcı discussing the state’s stigmatization of insurgent squatters in urban Turkey, and Rea Zaimi offering a critical look at how race and property were co-produced in the 20th century USA through real estate appraisal.

Agatha Herman’s paper draws on the ever-inspiring Paulo Friere to urge the fairtrade community to practice solidarity, participation, and decentralization to contest the “disconnection and disenfranchisement” imposed by the marketable standards of global systems.

Melike Peterson complicates the purported inclusivity of Scottish “national multiculturalism” by examining everyday forms of othering and resistance to them in Glasgow.

The connective tissue of starchy potatoes drives Nally and Kearns’ examination of the political economic relations between plants and humans in and across continents (South America and Europe). Lisa Tilley’s paper on counter-mapping Indonesia’s resource frontiers in indigenous lands complicates all the terms of its analysis but ends with a call for just transitions away from frontier extraction.

Jennifer Tucker’s paper focuses on a different frontier – the Paraguay-Brazil border – to examine the logic of extralegal or outlaw capital. Contributing explicitly to debates about geographies of illicit commodities, her discussion of “accumulation by transgression” implicitly reflects and furthers the themes in other papers (the state, space, capital, economy). Teklehaymanot Weldemichel’s paper on how state violence and biodiversity discourses others pastoralists in Tanzania also furthers debates about violence, land, borders and boundary making, racialization.

Lastly, though not the last paper of the issue, Niels van Doorn and Adam Badger’s argument about the “dual value” (monetary and speculative) produced via the gig economy warns how data-driven economy and society obstruct social justice struggles.

Ranging across spaces and issues, these essays are grounded in rigorous empirical work and critically engage a range of theorists (Edward Said, Paolo Freire, Ernesto Laclau, and others). Their political engagement and passion further Antipode’s mission of promoting and pushing the boundaries of radical politics.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, September 2020

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