OLD BORDERS AND NEW BORDERING CAPABILITIES: CITIES AS FRONTIER ZONES

Date:
17.06.2013
Format:
LECTURES
Place:
STRELKA COURTYARD
Language:
english with russian translation


Global cities as frontier zonez will be the subject of a talk by Saskia Sassen, a famous American sociologist and economist, who coined the term “global city” and “centralities”. She is a member of the jury of the International competition for architecture and landscaping design concept for Zaryadye park.

The large complex city, especially if global, is a new frontier zone. Actors from different worlds meet there, but there are no clear rules of engagement. Where the historic frontier, as seen from imperial centers, was in the far stretches of the ‘colonies,’ today it is deep inside those imperial centers. These cities, whether in the global north or south have become a strategic frontier zone for global corporate capital. Much of the work of forcing deregulation, privatization, and new fiscal and monetary policies on the host governments had to do with creating the formal instruments to construct their equivalent of the old military “fort” of the historic frontier: the regulatory environment they need in city after city worldwide to ensure a global space of operations.

But these cities have also become a strategic frontier zone for those who lack power, those who are disadvantaged, outsiders, discriminated minorities. The disadvantaged and excluded can gain presence in such cities, presence vis a vis power and presence vis a vis each other. This signals the possibility of a new type of politics, centered in new types of political actors. It is not simply a matter of having or not having power. These are new hybrid bases from which to act, spaces where the powerless can make history even when they do not get empowered.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. Her recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2008), A Sociology of Globalization (W.W.Norton 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2012). Among older books is The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991/2001). Her books are translated into over 20 languages. Her forthcoming book is Expulsions: When complexity produces elementary brutalities. (Harvard University Press 2014). She has received diverse awards, from multiple doctor honoris causa to being chosen as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy and as the 2013 winner of the Principe de Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences.

Useful links:

Old borders and new bordering capabilities: cities as frontier zones.

The Global Street Comes to Wall Street: http://www.possible-futures.org/2011/11/22/the-global-street-comes-to-wall-street/

Five minutes with Saskia Sassen: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/05/07/saskia-sassen-interview-europe-eurozone-crisis-surveillance-london-riots-global-cities/