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Call for participation

The 8th ICCG in Athens seeks to elaborate on the structural relations, materialities and cultures of uneven development and everywhere war, which bring about the condition of permanent crisis we find ourselves in the world over. Building on the previous ICCG 2015 conference, we regard “permanent crisis” as a regime that needs to be radically challenged in both political and theoretical terms, in our everyday lives as well as in the host of global, national and local institutions that reproduce it. We therefore want to invoke again the notion of praxis as the realisation of collective thinking and acting that is required in order to remake, to change the world.

Since 2010, Greece has been in the maelstrom of a multi-faceted and far-reaching socio-economic and political crisis linked to EU/Eurozone reforms and to processes of global capitalist restructuring. In spite of talk about entering a post-crisis era, many aspects of the crisis and austerity regime are still unfolding and certainly the societal effects are entrenched and widespread. At the same time, Greece is geo-politically located in an area experiencing major power-shifts and population upheavals connected to the wars and global antagonisms in Syria and the Middle East. It has become one more, non-local, site of operations implicated in the perpetuation, but also resistance, of war violence.

Greece has also witnessed intense and extensive social mobilisations and resistances, and attendant political changes. Massive demonstrations and strikes were followed by the emergence of novel solidarity initiatives addressing social reproduction issues. More recently, refugee solidarity and humanitarian interventions introduced a distinct inter- and transnational dimension to local mobilisations. But, right-wing populism and far right parties are also, as elsewhere in Europe, on the rise. Mobilisations have changed in terms of scale and content. Facing the question of permanent crisis the claim for radical praxis remains open.

Taking Greece as an example, as a kind of “hot-spot” for observing key socio-spatial changes, the conference invites participants to explore different aspects of permanent crisis and the possibilities for radical praxis within local sites, as well as between local and broader determinants of socio-spatial change.

Conference sub-themes

1. Austerity Urbanism and Social Reproduction

Αusterity urbanism describes the multiple realities of cities in crisis in times of neoliberalism. Despite the diverse historical trajectories, many cities across the world seem to face similar transformations, connected to the retreat of the welfare state and the privatization of core public functions and services. Far from only representing an aggressive economic doctrine, austerity urbanism has multiple social, political and cultural implications; from the rise of new forms of deprivation and new geographies of polarization and inequality to the collapse of local economies and the subsequent crisis of social reproduction; and from changes in governance mechanisms and planning ideologies, to the rise of political contestation and the emergence of collective practices and novel solidarity initiatives. We welcome contributions that critically examine these issues and we aim to deepen our understanding on the repercussions of austerity urbanism in different cities and discuss the possibilities for radical praxis.

2. War, Security, Humanitarianism

Cities turned into battlefields, massive slaughter of civilians, military technologies in the service of architecture and spatial planning, army forces performing police operations and police forces in military raids, militarization of and killings at the borders, 'fourth-generation' wars and war games, war technologies and war infrastructure turned into consumer goods: the infiltration of 'ordinary' social life by war seems today to be more prominent than ever. The sad convergence between war and peace becomes all the more evident, for example in the systematization of the humanitarian treatment of war victims, and in the continuing securitization of issues as diverse as migration, environmental risks and radical politics. From this perspective, it is important to theorize not only the social and geographic implications of this or that war but also everywhere war (a term borrowed from Derek Gregory) as a destructive and at the same time constitutive force for people, places and cities. On the other hand, since ‘everywhere is always somewhere’, specific warscapes as well as grey zones of war uncertainty, their violence, their terror and their normalization need to be closely examined. We welcome contributions that would investigate the spatiality of contemporary warfare and the uneven geographic implications of contemporary war(s) at various scales from the global to the local.

3. Urban Contestations

While cities are characterized by increasing social divisions, polarization and socioeconomic inequalities concerning access to decision making processes, labor and resources, urban contestations emerge around a multiplicity of issues: the challenge of major economic and political restructuring; the collapse of the welfare state; the claims of collective self-determination; the growing condition of precariousness for large parts of urban populations; the rise (and confrontation) of populist and right-wing movements; the everyday life negotiations and struggles over public goods and services. These contestations not only emerge in inter-related scales but also affect wider processes, discourses and practices in different spatial and social contexts. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: the role of urban and broader social movements, as well as actors beyond them (state and local authorities, NGOs, citizens’ organizations e.t.c.), in the production of new socio-spatial configurations, the inter and intra-national diffusion of social movements’ organizational characteristics and innovative attributes, the role of contestations in the production of new modes of urban governance and collective consumption, the emergence of new subjectivities and collective identities.

4. Migration and global mobility

Although human mobilities and different forms of migration are an ongoing phenomenon, they are today associated with emergency responses and confronted with restrictive migration policies. The “management of migration” from the global to the local is related to new forms of control and the multiplication of borders, producing (il)legalities and exclusions. Migration reshapes and is reshaped by contemporary spatialities, reflecting individual and collective practices that can be analyzed through the lens of autonomy within the migration process.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: governmentality of migration policies; securitization and border control practices; vulnerabilities; immobilities and waiting; gendered and feminist perspectives on migration; solidarity responses, coexistences, co-presences and conflicts in the urban space; identities, subjectivities and in the migration process.

5. Rise of neo-fascism, nationalism and authoritarianism

These seem to be good days for authoritarian rule both in the global West and in the global South, nourished by a widespread sense of crisis and decline. Political freedoms deteriorate as opposition movements get under attack by various mutations of the war(s) on terror and state(s) of emergency. Authoritarian leaders gain massive support based on remaking or reframing external and internal enemies of the national bodies. The rise of neo-fascist movements and parties is reminiscent of what the ultimate perspective of nationalism and authoritarianism can be. Contributions to this sub-theme will discuss relevant theoretical and conceptual frameworks, as well as empirical research.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: authoritarian governments around the globe; law and order agendas and policies; geographies of the war on terror; neocolonial nationalism; far-right mobilizations; far-right violence; digital fascism; authoritarian visions within neo-liberal politics; racial scapegoating.

6. New geographies of colonialism

In the increasingly harsher terrain of international (economic but not only) domination, the competition for the control of resources and the coercive imposition of biased regulations have been debated as new and/or continuing forms of colonialism and imperialism, affecting both people and places as well as potentialities for the future. In this sense, negotiations over international and humanitarian aid agreements, debt-associated arrangements, privatizations and economic pacts, wars and the externalization of migration further exacerbate uneven development and escalate colonial legacies. In this stream we welcome contributions that examine these issues (but not exclusively) through a post-colonial or neo-imperialism lens and contributions that discuss the potentialities of developing counter-narratives and institutions in these contexts.

7. Socioenvironmental conflicts

Within the persistent, contemporary, structural capitalist crisis there is a global bourgeois project of re-making nature which basically serves the four pillars of globalization, deregulation, technocratic policy and interests of large enterprises. From China to the US and from Africa to the EU, there are hundreds of current examples of the commodification, marketisation and financialisation of nature. On the other hand, we face an upsurge of socio-environmental grassroots movements waging resistance in very heterogeneous environments both in rural and urban areas that seek to counteract the injustices and inequalities and reconfigure socio-ecological relations.
All these conflicts and movements require a better and in-depth attention and critical reflection. What practical, political and theoretical innovations will allow us to better understand them, engage with them and contest them? What kinds of (new) power relations are reproduced through the making of environmental markets, and what socio-spatial and environmental justice issues are brought to light? What can we learn from the ongoing socio-environmental movements? What are their claims for collective self-determination?

8. Geographies of gender and sexuality

As neoliberal crises proliferate and mutate, feminist acquis come under attack the world over. Bills against legal abortion in Ireland and the US, protests against same-sex marriage in France, persecution of LGBTQI activists in Latin America, are only some of the many faces of the backlash against gender rights. At the same time, war and displacement produce gendered violence, women’s poverty deepens globally, and domestic and sexual violence rise. Differential access to safety, rights, mobility, education, housing, welfare, health, water and other basic goods is conditioned by the combined effects of economic exploitation, racism, nationalism, heterosexism, ageism and ableism. Under such circumstances, it is extremely important and timely to explore different paths to resistance as well as emerging feminist and queer imaginaries that anticipate other worlds. We would like to invite papers that explore more specifically the ways in which gender and sexuality become nodal points of domination and resistance, both in material and in knowledge terms. Possible topics of interest include but are not limited to: queer politics and nationalism; gender, sexuality and violence in conflict zones; war, human and non-human assemblages; gender, migration and citizenship; gender, precarity and crisis; feminist transnational politics; post-human imaginaries; feminist and queer epistemologies and epistemic injustice.

Submit a paper and/or panel

We invite you to submit paper abstracts and encourage proposals for populated panels/session with alternative formats that address the proposed conference themes.

As indicated in the submission forms, we ask that you include (a) information on which conference theme(s) your paper or panel addresses; (b) title of your paper or panel; (c) contact information and affiliation for each author; (d) an abstract (max 300 words).

Please take into consideration that proposed activities should fit into the 90-minutes time-slots.

Important dates

30 September 2018: Abstracts submission Deadline
15 October 2018: NEW Abstracts submission Deadline
15 December 2018: Notification of acceptance Deadline
17 December 2018: Registration opens
31 January 2019: Registration deadline
19-23 April 2019: Conference