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eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

University of California International and Area Studies (UCIAS) is a collaboration of internationally oriented research units on eight UC campuses. The UCIAS electronic publications program is a two-tiered system that utilizes new information technologies to make digital versions of works by UC researchers available to a global network of scholars and to encourage international intellectual exchange and research collaboration.

The first tier includes working papers, research results, and other pre-publication scholarship from UCIAS-affiliated research units on all UC campuses. Using the electronic publishing tools of the eScholarship Repository, the system is designed to facilitate the free, instant, worldwide dissemination of scholarship.

The second tier, GAIA, is a peer-reviewed publishing program. In collaboration with the California Digital Library, the University of California Press, and a consortium of internationally oriented research units, GAIA publishes peer-reviewed articles, monographs, and edited volumes electronically, with selected publications also appearing in hard copy.

Cover page of Nuclear Energy Governance and the Politics of Social Justice: Technology, Public Goods, and Redistribution in Russia and France

Nuclear Energy Governance and the Politics of Social Justice: Technology, Public Goods, and Redistribution in Russia and France

(2009)

The paper analyzes the political economy of nuclear power in Russia and France from a social justice perspective. While Russia prioritizes national security over environmental safety, France follows the inverse order of policy priorities. Nuclear innovation defines the ability of any state to provide efficiently public goods and implement redistributive policies, based on its nuclear potential. The distinction between hierarchical and multilevel regulation of the nuclear sector in Russia and France is critical for my argument; because hierarchical regulation is less likely to facilitate innovation, emerging nuclear-intensive economies are less inclined to approximate energy-induced redistributive justice. Explaining the four possible outcomes of the French-Russian nuclear cooperation, I maintain a high degree of optimism that technology can serve the needs of the poor without hampering global sustainability, growth and international investment relations.

Cover page of The People Know Best: Developing Civic Participation in Urban Planning

The People Know Best: Developing Civic Participation in Urban Planning

(2009)

Urban planning impacts a broad public, but does not engage the public broadly. Drawing on planning and feminist theory, philosophy and case study, this paper discusses promoting participatory practices in planning for equity, better policy, and the public good. The public interest is promoted through building relationships and social networks as well as education and community organizing of all, but especially marginalized and oppressed groups. Collaboration empowers individuals and broadens the information and decision-making possibilities for all parties. Participation based strategies develop engagement and equalize power differentials. Gathering together disparate interests enables effective discourse, deliberation, and education. Public engagement and feedback builds direct governance, creates new forms of power, and helps level the hegemonic playing field. Both institutional, top-down and grassroots, bottom-up activism engage citizens as active stakeholders in their community directly promoting democracy. Barriers in funding, evaluation, politics, political economy, developing pedagogical techniques, and power differentials are discussed.

Cover page of Representation of Oppositional Political Actors in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Implications of PAGAD, TAC, and COPE for Democratic Government

Representation of Oppositional Political Actors in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Implications of PAGAD, TAC, and COPE for Democratic Government

(2009)

Political opposition in South Africa carries hope for the inclusion of issues that have been underrepresented in the post-apartheid: the rampant rise of crime has instigated targeted community responses in the absence of adequate government security services, activist litigation has forced inclusion of socioeconomic entitlements in the state programs, and national-level dissent presents the possibility of more inclusive political representation and improved legislative discussion. In the ANC government’s response to each of these novel challenges there exist formative consequences, and the articulation of the possibilities and limits of political action post-apartheid is ongoing. The state’s balancing of the pressing demands of coercive/regulatory government with ideal democratic systems of representation of and discussion with oppositional elements like PAGAD, TAC, and COPE carries immediate implications for the democratic project.

Cover page of Mobilizing the Grassroots from Above: Political Engagement among AIDS Associations in Democratic Brazil

Mobilizing the Grassroots from Above: Political Engagement among AIDS Associations in Democratic Brazil

(2009)

This paper investigates efforts to engage grassroots groups in the political arena from the perspective of the state. Whereas most of the current literature conceptualizes grassroots mobilization as a bottom-up phenomenon, in Brazil the state has taken an active role in mobilizing new groups that simultaneously provide social services and make policy demands on government. This paper describes the exemplary case of mobilization around AIDS in Brazil to suggest that under certain conditions the state may take an active role in breaking down socioeconomic barriers toward accessing the political arena.

Specifically, I suggest that government bureaucrats in Brazil are engaging a wide array of associations in AIDS policy as organized interests, due to a strong dependence on collaboration with grassroots associations to further their policy goals. Moreover, I highlight three principal strategies through which the Brazilian state is targeting associations for mobilization: by creating new formal “participatory” political institutions; by developing informal channels of communication between state bureaucrats and grassroots leaders; and by using large amounts of public funding to support grassroots AIDS associations. I describe in detail both the state’s role in engaging associations to participate in AIDS policy and the motivations behind this effort as a way to explore the dynamics of what may be a broader phenomenon occurring in Brazil.

The empirical data used in the paper draws from a broader research project that took place over one and a half years of fieldwork conducted in Brazil, involving in-depth interviews with approximately 90 grassroots leaders and key government officials in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, and Washington, D.C.,,observation of major political and policymaking meetings, and an ongoing mixed-mode (paper and internet) survey which to date has garnered 90 responses (39% of the sample) from directors of grassroots associations in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Cover page of Cape Town: Negotiating the Public in the Neoliberal City

Cape Town: Negotiating the Public in the Neoliberal City

(2009)

Since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s economic policies and governance models have become increasingly neoliberal. The concern of this paper is how those policies and governmental modalities play out and shape the city of Cape Town. The paper utilizes the analytic of ‘public’ to examine how a formerly apartheid city has been remade – and contested – as a neoliberal city. The analytic of public is employed as a ‘terrain’, across which neoliberal policies, privatizing practices, calls for redistributive programs, and negotiations for citizenship and the right to the city are negotiated. Examining the fields of service provision, housing, and privatization, it is demonstrated that the analytic of ‘public’ provides an entry into the task of theorizing and locating the post-apartheid project in South African cities such as Cape Town.

Cover page of Producing Globalization in the Public Space of Mexico City

Producing Globalization in the Public Space of Mexico City

(2006)

According to Davies (2000) the distopian “‘cold’ frozen geometries” of US cities are being countered by Latino populations offering “a ‘hotter’, more exuberant urbanism” that is “tropicalizing” the city with colors, smells and new public spaces. Complimentary hopes, with fewer romantic and ethnic overtones, are being expressed for a resurgent civics as Latinos recast the discursive content of the public sphere (Valle & Torres, 2000). Yet, in Mexico, debates about public space draw deeply pessimistic observations of a growing commodification and ‘globalization’ diluting the representation of national, religious and indigenous spatial identities, and concerns around crime prompting gated communities and private security measures. In the public sphere, many consider that deeper institutional democracy has afforded less space to social movements and nongovernmental organizations, and an apathy to an active civics.

This paper takes a different perspective. I draw from the “Megaproject” of Santa Fe in Mexico City the largest urban development projects in Latin America during the 1990s and widely decried as insertion of a global urbanism imposed by undemocratic means for the benefit of transnational capital. The paper follows Fabian (1998) that there are many differentiated global spaces and a Lefebvrian perspective of everyday practice to show how urban spaces have been renegotiated and reframed, partly in response to unrealized economic growth, social polarization and urban violence, as well as an incipient social and cultural resistance. Although partially privatized, appropriation through everyday practices opens spaces to the possibility of transformation and subversion of their intended use. I follow the emergence of middle-income ‘street vendors’ providing food to office workers from the backs of cars, the use of the few public spaces for recreation, of proto social movements and the ‘mall youth’. Everyday contestation reveals “the local production of the global”.

Cover page of Conflict In Copenhagen: Urban Reconfigurations, Disciplining the Unruly

Conflict In Copenhagen: Urban Reconfigurations, Disciplining the Unruly

(2006)

This paper discusses the connections between political dissent, urban spaces, normalization, conflict and national identity. Two questions are central to this paper: 1) How are social and political marginality being constructed, negotiated and resisted in Denmark? 2) What insights are generated when groups defined as 'marginal' by the state challenge state authority and compete for control of urban spaces?

Christiania is a key cultural icon in Danish society and widely known as one of the oldest, most successful and politically active squatter communities in Europe. In the center of Copenhagen, moments walk from the Danish Parliament, one-thousand citizen-activists have created an alternative, self-governed community on the remains of a former military base.

In 2002 a new government was elected in Denmark, and Christiania's future as a legitimized "social experiment" under the previous Social Democratic government was in doubt. The new government, elected on a neoliberal agenda that promised significant reform of the welfare state, began plans to close the squatter community. The stated goals are to end the flourishing illegal hash trade, privatize and develop the area. Equally important, normalization will curtail this trenchant and oppositional political voice by transforming this prime location, just minutes walk from downtown Copenhagen, from a space of alterity and opposition into a marketable place comprised of privately owned homes and businesses.

I use the example of the engagements and contentions surrounding Christiania's normalization (privatization) to demonstrate how the Danish state is attempting to minimize political dissent by privatizing this 35-year old squatter community and to examine significant changes occurring in Danish society and Scandinavian welfare state.

Cover page of Uneasy Negotiations: Urban Redevelopment, Neoliberalism and Hindu Nationalist Politics in Ahmedabad, India

Uneasy Negotiations: Urban Redevelopment, Neoliberalism and Hindu Nationalist Politics in Ahmedabad, India

(2006)

This paper examines the politics of urban space in the Indian city of Ahmedabad, focussing particular attention on the relationship of urban redevelopment to neoliberalism, Hindu nationalist politics and their intersections. While many scholars have studied the multiple ways in which urban landscapes are being re-imagined and re-configured as a result of neoliberal programs, few like Jane M. Jacobs and Arjun Appadurai have sought to specifically focus on the ways in which these neoliberal reconfigurations of the city intersect with racial, religious, and ethnic politics. This paper seeks to contribute to this slim but important body of literature so that we might better understand the multiple articulations and geographical specificities of this intersection and the challenges that it poses for creating inclusive cities in many parts of the world. Furthermore, by locating this study in Ahmedabad, a city which on the one hand has witnessed recurring violence against its minority Muslims at the instigation of Hindu nationalist organizations, and on the other hand is increasingly becoming an important local and regional site for articulating the desire to be “global,” this paper hopes to shed light on the ways in which, through their intersections in urban space, the neoliberal project and religious identity politics reconfigure each other, opening up at the same time greater challenges and new possibilities in the struggle for social justice.

The paper examines the politics of urban space in Ahmedabad largely through the lens of an ambitious urban redevelopment project – the Sabaramti River Front Development Project, a US$ 262 million project currently under implementation. By interrogating the discourses and practices that constitute the multiple visions for and claims to the spaces marked for redevelopment under the project, and by examining the ways in which various actors attempt to negotiate their desires, interests and needs through the project, the paper seeks to make three arguments. First, that there are tensions in the pursuit of the project because of frictions between maintaining local legitimacy and pursuing neoliberal rationalities. Second, that the relationship between neoliberalism and Hindu nationalist politics is an uneasy one as a result of tensions between pursuing a wider political legitimacy for the state in order to attract global investment and pursuing blatantly exclusionary projects like Hindutva (a nationalist ideology that views India as a Hindu nation). And third, that as the class bias of urban redevelopment has collided with the religious bias of Hindu nationalist politics in a city where class and religion do not neatly overlap, the project has given rise to new, albeit fragile, alliances in the struggle for social justice and the right to the city.