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Law At The Margins Of The City

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Room B01

Clore Management Centre

Torrington Square

Bloomsbury

WC1E 7JL

United Kingdom

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Law At The Margins Of The City

A one-day conference at the School of Law, Birkbeck

For the conference programme please see here.

The financialisation of capitalism is producing renewed forms of exclusion, poverty and racialisation as the urban fabric is transformed into a liquid asset class. At the same time, novel techniques of resistance and emancipation are appropriating the law to resist exclusion and effect social change. This one day conference explores the intersection of financialisation, law and urban exclusion. Bringing together researchers, activists and practitioners from multiple disciplines, the conference will explore the dual role of law in both producing urban marginalisation, and the potentials of its appropriation for resistance and the realisation of other urban futures.

First, the event explores how law is central to the construction and governance of the financialised city and its violent forms of socio-spatial exclusion. Law is integral in transforming the city into a financial asset class, and is instrumentalised for the production of exclusionary governance regimes that shape the use and users of space. Moreover, law is central to the production of particular regimes of visuality guide our ways of seeing the urban poor. While there is wide-ranging research on financialisation and exclusion in urban studies, political economy, geography and beyond, legal scholarship lags behind in exploring the specifics of how law is used to produce and govern the financialised city. This event intends to bring various disciplines into a dialogue with legal scholarship and to identify research gaps.

Second, the event explores the potentials for collective appropriations of law in order to resist and contest the city's exclusionary dynamics. Numerous urban social movements and activist groups have come to use legal rules and institutions as tools to promote their cause. In her diaries published in the 1960s, Carolina Maria de Jesus, a black Brazilian writer from the Canindé favela in São Paulo, presents the favela as the ‘dumping room’ of the city and describes her everyday struggle to survive extreme poverty. Her writings epitomise not only the challenges that marginalised urban inhabitants been facing all over the world, but also the potential of symbolic and discursive disputes over the spaces of the city. It is striking that the city’s exclusionary dynamics tend to disproportionately affect racialised groups. Then again, racialised groups often lead resistance to these dynamics.

The event also marks the launch of Raquel Rolnik’s new book, Urban Warfare: Housing under the Empire of Finance (Verso 2019).

Keynote Speakers

Raquel Rolnik is a professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of São Paulo. Her work if focused on housing and urban policies. She was the director of the Planning Department of the city of São Paulo, the National Secretary for Urban Programmes of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003–2007) and the Urban Policy Coordinator of the NGO Polis Institute. In 2008, she was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. During her six-year mandate she visited the UK, causing some controversial conservative reaction.

Keynote: Denise Ferreira da Silva is the director of the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice and professor at the University of British Columbia. Her research areas include Critical Racial and Ethnic Studies, Feminist Theory and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. She is the principal editor for the Routledge/Cavendish book series Law, Race, and the Postcolonial.

Confirmed Speakers

David Thomas, activist for the campaign for a Homeless Bill of Rights, by Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition whish also promotes street advocacy. He is also a postgraduate student at Birkbeck School of Law. Prior to this, he spent many years as a practising solicitor.

Francesco Salvini Ramasis aResearch Associate at Kent Law School. He has been working through participatory action research in community and mental healthcare in different urban contexts. He has also been working in border studies, participating in research projects as well as local public policy consultancy and activist intervention, in collaboration with local authorities, third-sector organisations and academic institutions, since 2015.

George Meszaros is an Associate Professor at Warwick School of Law whose research concerns land rights, social movements and aspects of legal change with reference to Brazil. His recent work explores the impact of the Landless Workers' Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais (MST)) in bringing about substantive social and legal change.

Josh Ryan-Collins is Head of Research at IIPP, working on the economics of innovation, inclusive growth, economic rent in modern economies and measuring public value. He has co-authored Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing (Zed books 2017).

Melissa García Lamarca, is a housing rights activist an researcher at the Barcelona Lab for Urban Envrionmental Justice and Sustainability. Her work untangles the structures and channels through which political economic processes generate urban inequalities and everyday lived housing injustices, as well as how collective urban struggles can disrupt the inegalitarian status quo and open up new alternatives.

Nadine El-Enany is a senior lecturer in law at Birkbeck. She researches in the fields of migration and refugee law, European Union law, protest and criminal law and justice. She has published widely in the field of EU asylum and immigration law

Priya S. Gupta is a Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School, Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Affiliated Faculty at the Transnational Law Institute and PhD candidate in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research is in property law and theory, law & development, race, and critical legal theory. She has also been an Assistant Professor and (founding) Co-Director of the Centre for Women, Law, & Social Change at the Jindal Global Law School in Delhi NCR, India.

Sarah Keenan is a senior lecturer in law at Birkbeck. Keenan’s research draws on legal geography, feminist and critical race theory and her current work examines how the law of land registration is used to financialise land and how this produces racial categories and socio-spatial exclusion.

Simon Elmer is a poet, writer and photographer. He is a founding member of Architects for Social Housing, a working collective established in 2015 as a means of providing an architectural response to London's housing crisis.

For the conference programme please see here.

Image: Andrea Califano


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Date and Time

Location

Room B01

Clore Management Centre

Torrington Square

Bloomsbury

WC1E 7JL

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Contact the organiser to request a refund.

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