Neoliberal urbanism and spatial composition in recessionary Glasgow

Gray, Neil (2015) Neoliberal urbanism and spatial composition in recessionary Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis argues that urbanisation has become increasingly central to capital accumulation strategies, and that a politics of space - commensurate with a material conjuncture increasingly subsumed by rentier capitalism - is thus necessarily required. The central research question concerns whether urbanisation represents a general tendency that might provide an immanent dialectical basis for a new spatial politics. I deploy the concept of class composition to address this question. In Italian Autonomist Marxism (AM), class composition is understood as the conceptual and material relation between ‘technical’ and ‘political’ composition: ‘technical composition’ refers to organised capitalist production, capital’s plans as it were; ‘political composition’ refers to the degree to which collective political organisation forms a basis for counter-power. The research question is developed through a review of historical and contemporary urban literature by way of a distinctive marriage of AM and urban geographical literature, with a specific focus on the city of Glasgow as an exemplary case study.

Given the widely-acknowledged housing crisis and the commodification of land and property markets more generally, the urgency of addressing the research question is self-evident. Yet tenants’ and residents’ movements are very fragmented in Glasgow, and the UK more generally, despite the obvious impact that the privatisation of space has on basic social reproductive needs. This thesis addresses this lacuna in a two-fold manner: firstly, by stressing the compositional significance of urbanisation as an increasingly hegemonic tendency in capital accumulation strategies; secondly, by arguing for an immanent politics of space based on contemporary urban conditions. Empirical research was conducted through three case studies in Glasgow. The first examines the historical socio-spatial development of the city itself, while the second and third focus more closely on large-scale regeneration projects in the north and east of the city. These studies affirm the prevalence of contemporary urban accumulation strategies in Glasgow, and the pressing need for a commensurate politics of space.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from ESRC.
Keywords: Neoliberalism, Urbanisation of Capital, Autonomous Marxism, Spatial Composition, Territorial Inquiry, Territorial Stigmatisation, Gentrification, Cultural Regeneration, Rentier Economy, Social Housing, Mega-events, Social Reproduction,
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Supervisor's Name: Cumbers, Professor Andrew and Featherstone, Dr. David
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Neil Gray
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6833
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2015 09:39
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2015 10:17

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