Volume 53, Issue 6 November 2021

From time to time, it is not only worthwhile to think about how the themes of radical geography evolve and shift, but also to reflect upon what keywords radical geographers mobilize to think through (and disrupt) the socio-spatialites, materialities, and temporalities of capitalism, its “others”, and its alternatives. Not too long ago, Antipode dedicated an open access book to what we thought were Keywords in Radical Geography. This November editorial has been written in that spirit: turbulent circulations of rent; control and abandonment; bordering/debordering; social recomposition; hope; military urbanism; hostile environments; justice as subject; privatized labour rights; surplus life; modulating eventfulness; jugarse la vida (wagering life); common space; slow financialization; and differential diversification are the keywords deployed by our authors in this issue, building on and extending a rich archive that has been nurtured within and beyond the spaces of Antipode. We hope our readers pick up some of these keywords, and the larger texts held together by these.

A first set of papers contributes to critical debates on the connections between socio-institutional arrangements/socio-political configurations and processes of capital accumulation. Arboleda and Purcell offer an integration of literatures on critical infrastructure/logistics, on global commodity chains, and on the political economy of property and ownership in an effort to place rent relations at the centre of global supply chain capitalism and its material and regulatory grids. Prentice engages with the problem of regulatory unevenness and how the post-Rana Plaza worker settlements aligned with the existing landscape of neoliberal, voluntary labour governance as business-driven settlements packages represented nothing more than what the Bangladeshi state should have enforced in the very first place. Shaw* and Waterstone warn us that in “an era of globalised neoliberal repression, automation, and financial extraction”, many people’s labour is increasingly being treated as a disposable surplus to capitalism; they also offer conceptual resources for making capitalism itself surplus. Williams unpacks the actor assemblages and socio-political context in which the financialization of water services in Kenya has evolved. Although the author shows that this is less straightforward a process than it may appear at first sight, his findings nevertheless serve as a warning about the new socio-spatial inequalities emerging through financializing solutionism.

A second set of papers further contributes to the rich archive that Antipode has been building on the practices of migration biopolitics, bordering, securitization and state violence. In Antipode’s first regular COVID-19-paper, Ye shows how pre-pandemic modes of state-sanctioned migrant biopolitics in the arrival-city of Singapore have shaped the actual management of the crisis, and how the pre-pandemic framing of low-wage migrants from other parts of Asia as morally deviant has shifted to them being primarily treated as a risk to public health. Aru problematizes new configurations of abandonment, agency, and control in the shifting landscape of migrant containment in Western Italy, focussing particularly on the interplay between migrants’ agency and migration regimes in both formal and informal camps. Blank engages with the socio-spatial institution of municipal refugee accommodation in Frankfurt am Main and the praxis of neighbourhood-based volunteering. A complex interplay of exclusionary-cum-disciplining bordering, as well as debordering processes working with and against the former, lie at the centre of her account. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in the UK, Mosselson shows how “statist anti-immigrant practices disrupt spaces and practices of sanctuary”, thereby contributing to scholarship that shows how migrants navigate hostile environments, and how bordering as a continuous process moves beyond actual borders. Hodge and Hodge use Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders as a case study to centre hope as concept and differentiated affect more firmly in research on asylum seeking and border security.

A third set of papers is concerned, in differentiated ways, with critical geographies of planning justice. Writing on the urban geographies of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, Genç shows how post-war municipal planning combining with the authoritarian governmentality of the AKP-led state creates new injustices, having resulted in the displacement of those sections of society that are rendered a surplus by post-war growth coalitions. Drawing on fieldwork on conservation-related resettlements in Mozambique, Otsuki calls upon us to move away from “justice as object” to “justice as subject” in order to capture the full dimensions of livelihoods disruptions that resettlement projects bring to affected communities. Taking the example of liaison policing, Sylvestre shows how settler-colonial modes of governing Indigenous communities and land in Canada increasingly mix pre-emptive strategies such as community liaison policing, surveillance, and paramilitary tactics (rather than ad hoc force), to legitimize ongoing resource extractivism. In the last paper in this batch, Valdivia complicates the relationship between toxic environments, daily struggles among Afro-descendants in Ecuador, and questions of environmental justice. How those affected by toxic environment may understand their lives does not always correspond with what researchers with other social, geographical, and epistemic positionalities have constructed for them. The notion of jugarse la vida (wagering life) is a reminder of that.

The two remaining papers contribute to debates on alternative forms of work and ownership. Taking the example of social cooperatives, Castellini flags the tensions between the desire to engage in post-capitalist work, and practices of casualized work that often characterize workers’ experiences in such organization. Castellini shows how the quest for social recomposition can be read as an effort of organized labour to incorporate the sphere of social reproduction into workplace arrangements in the social economy. In their paper on the “Public Land Grab” initiative in the London borough of Lambeth, Volont and Dobson explore the practices and potentialities of grassroots-driven commoning projects when it comes to an alternate utilization of space. Most interestingly, this practice subverts existing municipal institutions and works with them. Contrary to what a narrow Rancièrian reading would suggest, this form of politics is continuous and quotidian, and shines beyond brief moments of disruption.

Finally, we’d like to thank our referees, again, for all their labours. Without our community of dedicated, generous reviewers – over 600 of them in the last year – none of this would be possible. They’ve committed inordinate amounts of time and energy to the work of unknown colleagues, and each one of them has done so at an incredibly trying time. Capacity has been limited everywhere in this pandemic year, and yet we’ve witnessed countless acts of generosity and goodwill.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, November 2021

*Please see our statement prompted by recent allegations made against a number of academics, including Dr. Ian Shaw: https://antipodeonline.org/2021/11/15/struggling-for-a-right-to-the-discipline/

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