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School of Geography

Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship Projects

Contested Cities: Contested spatialities of urban neoliberalism - Dialogues between emerging spaces of citizenship in Europe and Latin America

PI: Michael Janoschka (Autonomous University of Madrid)

Co-I: Sara Gonzalez 

Other participating members: Stuart Hodkinson, Paul ChattertonPaul Waley (University of Leeds), Patricia Olivera (National Autonomous University of Mexico), María Carman (University of Buenos Aires), Marcelo Lopes de Souza (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), Rodrigo Hidalgo (Catholic University of Chile), Ernesto López-Morales (University of Chile), Daniel Hiernaux (Autonomous University of Querétaro) 

What is Contested Cities?
Contested Cities is an international network of action, investigation and exchange of researchers from eight European and Latin American universities located in Madrid, Leeds, Mexico City, Querétaro, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Which topics does Contested Cities tackle?
From a perspective that is critical with traditional political actors and committed with the action of social movements, Contested Cities will provide research about the consequences of the widespread neoliberalisation of urban politics in Europe and Latin America. It will carry out a comparative analysis of the variegated geographies and politics of gentrification, of the multiple and geographically uneven impacts of neoliberal politics in urban life and the strategies of resistance and re-appropriation of urban space by counter-hegemonic social movements in Europe and Latin America.

What makes Contested Cities a special project?
Contested Cities aims at establishing effective channels for knowledge transfer, especially for learning from the experiences of Latin American cities. We understand that for decades, Latin American cities have been laboratories for social change in which urban conflicts and innovative politics are taking place.

Contested Cities proposes to connect urban contention in different places worldwide, overcoming the existing knowledge gaps between Anglo-Saxon urban debates and those produced in the ‘Latin world’. 

Contested Cities will develop and implement innovative research methodologies based on participative approaches and the elaboration of visual methods for the study and analysis of contemporary urban politics and counter-hegemonic resistance.

Contested Cities will develop recommendations and propositions for both practitioners and politicians that raise concerns about those who suffer the negative consequences of the neoliberalisation of urban politics. It will develop seminar series and workshops based on methodologies to give a voice and promote critical attitudes towards existing urban policies. 

Contested Cities will develop relevant cooperation between academia and social movements.

Upon which conceptual ideas is Contested Cities based?
A key aspect for the configuration and implementation of contemporary urban policies consists in the hegemonic position that neoliberalisation has achieved in general terms. We understand neoliberalism as an expression of domination that is not limited to institutionalised politics but also defines the perception, the imaginaries and the possible appropriation of urban space through internalised cultural and social scripts. Critical studies of urban neoliberalisation have overseen some of the key challenges that are inherent to the configuration of the neoliberal city, for instance with regard to the social construction of urban space, the multiple transformations of citizenship and the logics of collective action. 

Contested Cities will tackle these gaps and produce novel and relevant interdisciplinary debates.  

Funding opportunities
Contested Cities funds research stays in our 4 Latin American research partner cities (Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City). In order to benefit from this funding you need to have a contractual relationship with the University of Leeds either as staff or Phd student.  If you are looking to do a PhD in a theme related to this project, the School of Geography in Leeds would be an ideal place as you would get funding for up to 12 months to carry out fieldwork in a Latin American city.  Get in touch with Sara Gonzalez to discuss options for Phd funding.   

Start date: 1 October 2012

End date: 30 September 2016

Funder: European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

Grant reference: FP7-PEOPLE-PIRSES-GA-2012-318944

Project website: http://www.contested-cities.net