2nd CfP: Entreprepreneurial urbanism 2.0: Local and comparative perspectives

Second call:  AAG 2018

Entreprepreneurial urbanism 2.0: Local and comparative perspectives

AAG Conference 2018

Session organizers: Ugo Rossi (University of Turin, Italy), June Wang (City University of Hong Kong).

Sponsored by: Urban Geography, Political Geography, Cultural Geography, China.

We live in times of ambivalence in which many traditional wisdoms are now revisited/retaken to allow two-sided readings. Gaining centrality of such scholarly debates are cities, which illustrate the ambivalences, contradictions and promises of existing global societies. Using “urban entrepreneurialization 2.0”, this session invites reflections on the present urban process that has unfolded both new-neoliberal economies and insurgent practices of municipal, community-based democracy.

First of all, the term entrepreneurship deserves revisiting. Post-recession societies offer a powerful illustration of what Michel Foucault identified as the ‘entrepreneur of the self’ in his writings on neoliberal governmentality (Foucault, 2005). In this regard, one can observe a qualitative shift with respect to the entrepreneurialization of urban governance that David Harvey brought to light in the late 1980s (Harvey, 1989). The writing by Hardt and Negri (2017) in their recent book Assembly retakes the word to argue for collective bio-political agency of the multitude to demonstrate autonomy in the production in factories and beyond. Nevertheless, the flip side of the happy and self-actualization project promised by “self-entrepreneualism” and “everyone has become an entrepreneur” has also witnessed an array of well documented critiques on self-disciplinary and self-exploitation. With an emphasis put on the procedural reading, we use the term ‘entrepreneurialization of city life’ to call for studies that involve not only the governance structures of capitalist cities but the mobilization of society at large and life itself for both capitalist and non-capitalist purposes.

Amalgamating urban and entrepreneurialization, this session also tends to revisit the machinic assemblage. In other words, how to study the relational interaction of body-environment and the anthropogenetic constitution of urban economies and societies. For some, the ‘mobilizing potential of place’, that is, the ambient power of place is a process of encounter, where various human and non-human elements assemble in a way that particular moral value or social norm is enacted, sensed, felt, and also reacted (Allen, 2006; Roberts, 2012; Thrift, 2007).  For some others, machinic subjectivity is inherent in the ‘cooperative intelligence’ of human being, such that “a multitude is formed capable of ruling and leading itself to conceive and carry out strategic goals” (Hardt and Negri, 2017). In one way or another, today’s urban environments offer evidence of a wide array of practices, projects and experiments – on both capitalist and non-capitalist sides – that draw on what we have defined ‘the mobilizing potential of place’ and the cooperative intelligence of human being.

If you are interested in taking part in this session, please contact June (june.wang@cityu.edu.hk) and/or Ugo (ugo.rossi@unito.it) with an abstract of no more than 250 words by 20th October 2018 (earlier the better!). We will then get back to you by Monday 23 October with a decision.



Ahmed, S. (2010) The Promise of Happiness. Durham, NC: Duke UP

Amin, A., & Thrift, N. (2013). Arts of the political: New Openings for the Left: Duke University Press.

Foucault, M. (2008), The Birth of Biopolitics. Lectures at the College de France, 1978–79, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia (B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis MN, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2017). Assembly. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Harvey, D. (1989) From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: The transformation in urban governance in late capitalism. Geografiska Annaler B: Human Geography 71(1)