Contesting austerity, de-centring the state: anti-politics and the political horizon of the urban

Beveridge, R. and Koch, P. (2021) Contesting austerity, de-centring the state: anti-politics and the political horizon of the urban. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 39(3), pp. 451-468. (doi: 10.1177/2399654419871299)

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This article draws novel links between ‘anti-politics’, austerity and a political horizon centred on the urban. Research on anti-politics often invokes a binary understanding of a politics of and within the state and an anti-politics at a distance from or hostile towards the state. This article argues that in the context of austerity, this binary loses traction. Austerity has intensified the transformation towards networked forms of governance within which the state becomes a more hybrid entity of contradictory ideals and practices. Austerity not only calls into question the legitimacy of formal politics because of its devastating social outcomes, it also disaggregates the political authority of the state and opens up a particularly urban terrain of politics. We capture this development by examining the intersections between the local state and the urban field of politics. Looking across the struggles against austerity in Europe, and focusing in more detail on housing politics in Berlin, we assert that the urban is important not only as a setting (as typically argued) but also as the basis for a different rationality of political action in and against austerity. In the context of austerity struggles, state authority becomes ever more contingent and other, more urban, forms of politics advance. In sum, the article contributes to a spatial reading of (anti-)politics against austerity, points to the de-centring of the state in transformative political projects and emphasizes the analytical purchase of a distinctly urban perspective on contemporary politics in Europe.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Beveridge, Dr Ross
Authors: Beveridge, R., and Koch, P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):2399-6552
Published Online:31 August 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 39(3): 451-468
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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