Episode 31 – Multiple Crises and Radical Urban Research (AfterCorona #13)

Starting off from her latest agenda-setting article “What does it mean to be a radical urban scholar-activist, or activist scholar today?” published earlier this year in the relaunch issue of the journal CITY – analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action. It was published before the pandemic shock and the current wave of Black Lives Matter protests took off. In our conversation, Margit will thus discuss with us her notion of three tipping points in light of these pressing concerns but also highlight the opportunities for political change and how the anti-racist protests have created a collective agency whose vibrancy compares to the movements of the 1960s. In this situation, urban researchs are called not only to scholarly rigor but also to a politics of mobilization.

Our guest:

Margit Mayer 

Margit has been professor for comparative and North American politics at Freie Universität Berlin, as of 2014 she is Senior Fellow at the Center for Metropolitan Studies at Technical University Berlin. Her research focuses on comparative, urban and social politics as well as social movements. She has published on various aspects of contemporary urban politics, urban theory, (welfare) state restructuring, social movements, and migrant (support) organizing. She co-authored Nonprofits in the Transformation of Employment Policies (2004), co-edited Urban Movements in a Globalising World (2000), Cities for People not for Profit(2012),  Neoliberal Urbanism and Its Contestations (2012). and Urban Uprisings: Challenging the Neoliberal City in Europe (2016).

Article Reference: Mayer, Margit, 2020. “What does it mean to be a (radical) urban scholar-activist, or activist scholar, today?”. City 24 (1/2): 1-17.


International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA) https://www.inura.org

Otto, Ilona M. et al., Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050, Feb 4, 2020, https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/117/5/2354.full.pdf

Americans for Tax Fairness, 3 months into covid-19 pandemic: billionaires boom as middle class implodes, June 18, 2020, https://americansfortaxfairness.org/issue/3-months-covid-19-pandemic-billionaires-boom-middle-class-implodes/

Essential or Expendable? Gig Workers at Instacart & Grocery Stores Demand Safety Gear & Hazard Pay, Democracy Now! APRIL 20, 2020https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/20/matthewtellesinstacartgigworkers

Angelo, Hillary and David Wachsmuth, “Why does everyone think cities can save the planet?” Urban Studies, 2020, DOI: 10.1177/0042098020919081 

Eric Reinhart: policing and jailing practices are driving COVID-19 spread in American communities. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/study-nearly-16-illinois-covid-19-cases-linked-spread-chicago-jail

Ecosocialist Conference for Climate Justice, June 26 -28: “produce less, share justly, decide together” – where participants will develop demands for industrial conversion & radical system change  http://eco-soc.net

Copenhagen Centre for Political Mobilisation & Social Movement Studies, Univ. of Copenhagen Webinar on ‘Social Movements & Mobilisation in Times of Global Pandemic’ https://www.facebook.com/Copenhagen-Centre-for-Political-Mobilisation-and-Social-Movement-Studies-105939021084459/?modal=admintodotour

Regarding the study by Lara Putnam, Jeremy Pressman, Erica Chenoweth, see: https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/floyd-protests-are-broadest-us-history-and-are-spreading-white-small-town-america andhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/06/floyd-protests-are-broadest-us-history-are-spreading-white-small-town-america/



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