Volume 52, Number 6 November 2020

This is the fourth issue of Antipode that comes to press during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic exacerbates existing crises and inequalities, this issue is a reminder that different forms of violence, exploitation, dispossession, extraction and exclusionary biopolitics “beyond the virus” continue to remain an object of struggle in many parts of the world.

The first paper by Allen engages with a recurrent theme in this issue, namely how differently positioned subjects carve out spaces of political praxis and resistance under conditions of oppression, marginalization and structural and everyday violence. Contributing to the field of Black geographies, Allen’s account shows how Black students at Florida A&M University institute spaces of self-care, identifying relief, recuperation and resonance as key moments through which such comfort work is realized. Three other featured papers also spatialize the political. Offering a close reading of the strategies of the movement party Nuevo Encuentro in Argentina, the paper by Halvorsen challenges the privileging of the category of time in studies of social movements and political parties, instead advancing a spatial understanding of their politics. Siegrist and Thörn’s paper shows how activists co-create heterotopian spaces in the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. While realizing such spaces is a challenge on its own – facing the constant threat of commodification in the neoliberal city – the rise of authoritarian capitalism “emerging out of the dark side of liberalism” makes such spaces “even more fragile”. The last paper in this cohort, by Mallick, investigates the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement in Pakistan. The author mobilizes a Gramscian‐Fanonist understanding of how universal political aspirations are actively produced through specific group “experiences, historicities, and spatialities” in the context of “post- 9/11” and the country’s emerging urban question.

A second set of papers, in this issue, is concerned with everyday violence, gender, and reproduction in the Latin American context. Taking the example of Colombia, Berman-Aréval and Ojeda re-centre reproduction in a layered landscape of violence, where particular social structures, war, plantation logics and agrarian extractivism lead to highly gendered and racialized experiences of dispossession. Further extending the notion of “disposability” in the Guatemalan context, and drawing on Indigenous and feminist scholarship from the country and the Americas, Fuentes unravels how femicides are made sense of collectively through highly racialized, classed, gendered and spatialized imaginaries that create different categories of victims.

How speculation about particular futures reshapes the present is the theme of another set of papers. Laying bare the social and ecological impact of a high-speed rail project in Spain, and building on Harvey’s notion of the spatial fix, Buier’s paper debunks the possibility of “green infrastructure” built through conventional logics of speculative finance. Contributing to our understanding of speculative commodity futures, Manzi examines the state/capital-driven expansion of castor-based biodiesel production in North-Eastern Brazil, and its uneven and contested implications for the historically marginalized peasantry and nature in the region. Outlining two modes of speculation in relation to infrastructural politics in Turkey, Hoyng and Es demonstrate how “the will of the people”, which governing elites regularly invoke when justifying such projects, and associated post-truth practices, clashes with ecological concerns and the “right to life” promoted by activist forces.

A fourth set of papers examines the social regulation of refugee lives and other populations socially marked to be “rationally” managed and disciplined for the sake of “society”. Isakjee, Davies, Obradović‐Wochnik and Augustová engage with the often covert forms of structural and cultural violence that underpin the EU’s border management regime in France and Croatia. They expose the darker side of Europe’s liberalism, an ideology that has been marked by the racialization and dehumanization of black and brown people from the dawn of the Enlightenment project. Topak demonstrates what consequences the biopolitical apparatus of border management has for migrants in Lesvos, one of Europe’s migrant transit hotspots. By highlighting the rather neglected dimension of waiting as a key feature in the operations of the border’s biopolitics, the author extends our understanding of the dehumanizing experiences that people seeking better lives endure at the fringe of “Fortress Europe”. Rusenko offers a historical ethnography of Tokyo’s anti-homelessness policies, showing how both measures that invoke notions of care and compassion, as well as their violent others, “fail to genuinely account for the needs and interests of people deemed homeless”. In this account, imperial formations play a central role in “delegitimizing unsheltered existence itself”. Focusing on Brisbane, Australia, Clarke and Parsell explore how neoliberalization can implicate caring responses to homelessness (such as shelters and drop‐in centres) in revanchist processes of discipline and spatial control. But while care in the neoliberalizing city might be vulnerable, they argue that housing‐focused responses to homelessness also have capacity to shield people from criminalization and “prefigure and call‐forth” post‐neoliberal practices.

The fifth and final set of papers deals more explicitly with conditions, processes and narrations of dispossession. Building on two case studies from occupied Palestine, Englert shows how settler colonialism mixes both forms of exploitation that may negatively affect the settler working class and forms of accumulation by dispossession that benefit all settler classes. Gupta and Medappa explore how individuals affected by speculative urbanism in Bangalore make sense of the present via a reconstruction of past practices of community-making. These practices of affective landscape-making can be considered a first step towards challenging the historical constitution of the present.

***

The work featured in this, the preceding and forthcoming issues would not have been possible without the labour and care of our reviewers, to whom we would like to express our deep gratitude. Without them – almost 500 in the last year!Antipode papers wouldn’t be fit for the challenges of our time. Our reviewers commit inordinate amounts of time and energy to the work of unknown colleagues, and their dedication in recent months has been inspiring; capacity is limited everywhere, and yet we’ve witnessed countless acts of generosity and goodwill. We’d like to thank them, again, for all their work.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, November 2020

Journal Articles


View Journal