Small Group Project 2021
This project seeks to bring together for the first time a diversity of scholars for an interdisciplinary workshop series focused on municipalist strategies in a time of crisis. In response to the 2007-9 global financial crisis and the ensuing period of fiscal austerity, we have seen a dramatic upsurge in political experimentation at the municipal level. Setting this so-called ‘new’ municipalism apart from technocratic strategies of municipal governance is a distinctive theory of change which begins with citizen-led collective action, and which seeks to transform the state starting from the local level. This experimentation poses a series of questions relevant to urban studies, social movement studies, political theory, gender studies, and place-based economic theory: How have municipalists sought to intervene in the course of prevailing neoliberal urban trajectories, and what limits to these strategies can be inferred? How are municipalist strategies shaped by crisis conditions – economic, ecological, epidemiological? How do municipalist experiments both frame and respond to crises and, in doing so, how successful have they been?
The central aim is to facilitate long-term collaborative research and theory building, and to ensure that this reflects the diverse geographical, cultural and political experiences of the contemporary municipalist turn. The workshop series has three corresponding objectives: 1. To launch an international research network that brings together municipalist scholars and civil society practitioners; 2. To identify, and to provide material support in publishing, municipalist scholars where English is not a first language, supporting the inclusion of scholars and cases of the Global South; 3. To produce a forthcoming special issue for the Urban Studies journal.