Three calls for papers - CRUSH members to AAG 2016

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, 29 March – 2 April 2016, San Francisco
CFP #1: Reimagining the urban: Hopeful trajectories for remaking the city

Ragnhild Claesson (Malmö University, Sweden)
Zahra Hamidi (Malmö University, Sweden)
Vítor Peiteado Fernández (Malmö University, Sweden; Roskilde University, Denmark)

Is it possible to create hopeful alternatives to the neoliberal city? Literature on the dynamics and mechanisms of the on-going neoliberalisation of the city and its consequences is extensive —e.g. dynamics of racialization, displacement, democratic impoverishment and expansion of inequalities (Swyngedouw et al. 2002; Smith,2005; Fainstein, 2010). Besides, new knowledge and spaces initially produced by solidarity networks, activist movements or governance projects of partnerships with NGOs, are often co-opted and unequally distributed in a capitalist logic (bicycle services, urban gardening or art are good examples). This session takes a wide look on alternative strategies that can come together to develop trajectories which enable imagining hopeful urban futures beyond the neoliberal city. –

The neoliberal project, as Harvey (2005) refers to it, shows strong capability to survive in mainly two ways: through appropriation and repression. First, neoliberalism shows great ability to appropriate and empty antagonist and alternative expressions that question neoliberal development. Second, when alternative actions pose a direct threat to the survival of the system itself, repression in the form of police measures, discourse, etc, has been a valuable tool to control and deactivate those alternatives with the objective of maintaining the neoliberal project. This way, alternative actions and proposals (such as squatting) implemented by grass root movements are continuously attacked and pressured to deactivate the antagonist threat that they pose to the dominating economic and political system. Nevertheless, these alternative actions should not be discarded as pointless, but acknowledged as necessary moves which challenge neoliberalism’s survival, not only through immediate interventions, but also by continuously reimagining alternative futures. Such moves can take a multitude of forms, from activism and political, social and spatial interventions, to theoretical alternatives such as ideas of diverse economies or degrowth (Purcell, 2008; Brenner et al. 2011; Harvey, 2013).

This session aims to facilitate a platform to reflect, scrutinise and seek alternatives to neoliberal politics and urban development. We welcome proposals with examples of alternative actions, reimaginations or lived experience, as well as proposals from a theoretical perspective. Therefore, this CFP encourages the submission of abstracts for papers focusing on the construction of alternatives to reimagine the neoliberal city at any scale—e.g. neighbourhood, local, regional or global—from different perspectives and disciplines—e.g. economic, political, geographical, aesthetic or social. Suggested topics are, but are not limited to:

  • Empowerment of underrepresented actors

  • Enhancing the right to the city in theory and practice

  • Just mobility

  • Experiences of challenging unjust power relations

  • Re-appropriation of public spaces

  • De-commodification of housing

  • Alternative architectural imaginations and interventions

    Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Vítor Peiteado

    Fernández ( by Thursday 15th October 2015.

    Successful submissions will be contacted by 20th October 2015 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015 ahead of a session proposal deadline of 18th November 2015. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the formal submission of abstracts to AAG.

    *The organisers are PhD students within the research environments ‘Migration, Urbanisation and Societal change’ (MUSA) and ‘Critical Urban Sustainability Hub’ (CRUSH) at Malmö University, SE and Roskilde University, DK. 



CFP #2: Narrating displacement: Lived experiences of urban social and spatial exclusion 

Session Convenors: Jacob Lind (Malmö University, Sweden); Emil Pull (Malmö University, Sweden; Roskilde University, Denmark); Ioanna Tsoni (Malmö University, Sweden)

From the ghastly spectacle of the refugees’ plight along the shores of the Mediterranean, to the myriad of imperceptible and often veiled injustices suffered by residual urban dwellers, the landscape of exclusion today unfolds into a fluctuating, yet solid, web of physical, discursive and cognitive lines of differentiation and control.

In the wake of such an era of extensive and intensive proliferation of (im)material boundaries the draconian measures that have been taken to erect barriers and assert control over certain bodies gives rise to manifold and often brutal conflicts around the construction, enactment and contestation of spaces. Exclusionary practices span scales from the global to the local, down to lines of distinction inscribed upon the ‘geography closest in’ – the body.  

In this light, this session seeks to ethnographically approach the dynamic practices of emplacement and displacement today, as well as illuminate the technologies and tactics permeating a multitude of current exclusionary policies and measures. We wish to identify today’s ‘undesirables’ –with a special focus on those found in urban settings– and foreground their narratives and lived experiences. As migrants, refugees, ‘Travelers’, people of color, the homeless, children, and the urban poor –among others- struggle to take space and make place for themselves under the pressures and paradoxes of uneven urban geographies, they claim the centre ground and threaten, even if imperceptibly, social hierarchies impinged on space. 

Two questions thus emerge: what commonalities and shared logics can be revealed through the study of narratives and the lived experiences of people subjected to a range of different social and spatial exclusionary processes; and how do the everyday practices of various actors produce, reproduce, sustain or contest these contemporary exclusionary dynamics?

The session’s theme is designed to be inclusive enough to solicit a wide range of applicants. Researchers are invited to submit abstracts that broadly serve to feed into the discussion of narratives and lived experiences of social and spatial exclusions, such as, but not limited to:
  • -       Narratives of emplacement and displacement
  • -       Intersecting inequalities: Gender, class, ethnic, and spatial dynamics in cities that contribute to urban exclusion 
  • -       Contestations over place and space
  • -       The sense of border between self and ‘other’
  • -       (Im)material urban boundaries and frontiers 
  • -       Lived experiences of exclusion and marginalization
  • -       Strategies and technologies of forced relocation 
  • -       The commodification and marketable representation of the urban poor and their spaces
  • -       The growing dissociation between border functions and border locations
  • -       The murky backside of gentrification
  • -       Renovation and eviction processes
  • -       Social categories/mechanisms by which inequalities are constituted, legitimized, questioned, and tackled in diverse societies
  • -       Political subjectivity and contestation in urban settings.
Paper Submissions:
To submit a paper proposal, please submit the following, in the order listed below, all in a single Microsoft word file or pdf document, by Thursday October 15th 2015

1. Applicant’s name, affiliation, and contact information.
2. Paper abstract of no more than 250 words.
3. Brief bio-sketch of 200-300 words.

Please email complete applications to Emil Pull at Questions or clarifications prior to abstract submission should be directed to the same email address. 

Successful applicants will be contacted by the 20th of October 2015 and will be expected to pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015.

Context and host
The session will take place at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in San Francisco from March 29 until April 2 2016, which brings together leading scholars, experts and researchers in geography, GIS, environmental science, sustainability and relevant fields. 

Submission Timeline
• 15 October 2015:         Deadline for submission of abstracts.
• 20 October 2015:         Notification of acceptance decisions sent out to applicants.
• 29 October 2015:         Deadline for AAG Annual Meeting registration and fee payment.

All conference presenters must register for the conference. For more information on how to register please visit the conference website:

Travel expenses and fees
No support will be available from the session convenors towards the cost of accommodation and/or travel and the conference fee.

Session Convenors
The organizers are PhD students within the research environments ‘Migration, Urbanisation and Societal Change’ (MUSA) and ‘Critical Urban Sustainability Hub’ (CRUSH) at Malmö University (SE) and Roskilde University (DK).
CFP #3: Towards a theoretical ceasefire? Empirical inquiries into the making of urban injustices and conflicts
Malin Mc Glinn (Malmö University, Sweden)
Maria Persdotter (Malmö University, Sweden; Roskilde University, DK)
”The other day I had a daydream [in which I envisaged] not an end to theory — but rather a theoretical ceasefire to stay in effect until we know enough about what is actually going on in a large variety of different places. During the ceasefire, we will all be obligated to do intellectual work without using the following banned weapons: ’neoliberalism’, ’state’, ’bare life’, ’state of exception’, ’discipline’, ’governmentality’ and ’globalization’.”
- Mariana Valverde (2010, p.120)
As urban researchers committed to social justice and the democratization of democracy (see Dewey, 1927), how do we do research to further these objectives? One way to think about this question is to consider the political potential and ethical implications of research methodologies that affirm the importance of empirical inquiry over abstract theoretical critique. This session is intended to provide a forum for reflection on these issues as well as an opportunity to present ongoing work in the spirit of empirical inquiry. According to Farias (2011, p.366), inquiry is “a process that eventually involves a problematization of the real” and the goal for such an investigation is to make possible “the constitution and strenghtening of urban democratic politics” (p.372).In other words, we welcome papers that address the making of economic, political, and social injustices and conflicts.
Needless to say, the debate between empirically oriented and theoretically minded researchers has been a more or less permanent feature of urban studies. Much critical scholarship has been, and continues to be, partial to theoretical critique. However, this approach frequently assumes that social phenomena “proceed from the inner workings of abstractions” (Valverde, 2010, p.120) like ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘globalization’. As such, these are treated as coherent ideologies: pre-discursive monsters with evil plans to sacrifice all common good on the altar of capitalist interests. This theoretical approach is certainly not without merit. However, we suggest that the emphasis on critique often happens at the expense of detailed, empirical observation.
Conversely, it could be said that empirical inquiry lends itself to mere description, or worse, that it might succumb to what Sayer (1992, p.45) has termed “naïve objectivism” (see also Brenner et al, 2011, p.225). However, following Farias (2011, p.367) we argue that “inquiry is not at odds with critique, but only with a version of critique that is committed to theory rather than to the empirical.”
We welcome papers from various empirical sites that focus on how urban injustices and conflicts are brought into being.  Such papers could be engaged with questions of how urban poverty is governed, how financial subjects are made, or how processes of racialisation play out in the management of bodies. We also invite methodological reflections on the strength and weaknesses of empirical inquiry as a research approach.
Paper Submissions:
Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words to Maria Persdotter ( by Thursday 15th of October 2015. Successful applicants will be contacted by the 20th of October 2015 and will be expected to pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015.
* The organizers are PhD students within the research environments ‘Migration, Urbanisation and Societal Change’ (MUSA) and ‘Critical Urban Sustainability Hub’ (CRUSH) at Malmö
University, SE and Roskilde University, DK.
Brenner, T., Madden, D. & Wachsmuth, D. (2011). Assemblage urbanism and the challenges of critical urban theory. City, 12(2), pp.225-240. 
Dewey, J. (1927). The public and its problems, New York
Farias, I. (2011). The politics of urban assemblages, City, 15(3-4), pp. 365-374.
Sayer, A. (1992). Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach, 2nd ed. London and New York, Routledge.
Valverde, M. (2010) Comment on Loic Wacquant's 'Theoretical Coda' to Punishing the Poor. Theoretical Criminology, 14(1), 117-120.