Researching Transgression in an Age of Dread

Wednesday 21 September 2016
1.00 - 2.00pm

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Madsen Rm 449, Madsen Building, Eastern Ave, The University of Sydney


Explore current innovations in geographical research and cutting edge trends in socio- spatial theory throughout this seminar series.

Geographers and the Environment with Alistair Sisson (Geosciences post-grad) 

Bradley L. Garrett

Neoliberal cities around the world are comprised of three consistent tropes: privatised “public” space and security, persistent surveillance systems and spatial inequality. As privacy is subsumed by omnipresence and daily life becomes toxified by dread perpetuated by connectivity, populist cynicism crescendos. Yet as Guattari wrote in his 1996 essay Towards a Post-Media Era, ‘new technologies foster efficiency and madness in the same flow… It can blow up like a windshield under the impact of molecular alternative practices.’ Perhaps there is hope yet for heterogeneity. Yet the logic of capitalism, based more on appropriation than suppression, often means that the emancipatory potency of successful alternative practices are sapped where their aesthetics become yoked, or that these practices lay low with awareness of that danger, remaining localised and disjointed, if effective. With this in mind, as researchers who collect information, (co)produce knowledge and raise awareness, we are capable of inflicting great harm on those we work with and on their alternative practices. In an age of dread, how are we to research transgressions against the neoliberal city without reifying, essentialising and therefore undermining the very practices we find promising?