Mapping Disruption and Resistance in Critical Political Economy, Wednesday 12 June (10.15 – 12.00)
This session will explore what it means to do critical political economy, and especially how we can do this in a way which focuses on acts of disruption or resistance. Critical political economy seeks to conceptualise and critique the relationship between social, political and/or economic developments, and the wider context of capitalism within which these are located (Shields et al. 2011). This raises a number of important, but difficult, problems and questions: What does it mean to do critical social science (Sayer 2010)? How do we adopt a critical approach to political economy (Montgomerie 2017)? What is capitalism and what effects does it have (Boyer 2018)? How do we conceptualise capitalism without at the same time denying the possibility of agency, resistance or change (Huke et al. 2015; Fishwick and Connolly 2018)? How, in our empirical work, can we go beyond the simple re-description of structures that we already knew to exist (Gibson-Graham 2006)? This session will provide an introduction to critical political economy and a number of these related problems, as well as highlighting some of the solutions that have been suggested. In particular, it introduces what it considers to be an approach that focuses on mapping forms of resistance and the way in which, if at all, these challenge contemporary capitalism (Bailey 2019; Bailey et al. 2018).
Researching Everyday Life in Austerity, Wednesday 12 June (13.00 – 14.45)
It is now widely acknowledged that austerity seeps into everyday life in all kinds of ways; from the places people go, the relationships they can maintain, to the politics they practice and the futures they dream about. In this session we will explore specific ways of exploring everyday life in austerity, by paying attention to daily practices, routines and rhythms. The approach will be broadly ethnographic, creative and participatory, and will require participants to undertake a very brief task before the session. Using a range of techniques from observations, to photos, to objects, we will also be interrogating everyday methods more generally. We will cover what these research methods involve and trying them out, to exploring the types of data they produce and how they can be used to create something meaningful and shareable. I’ll be drawing on my experience of conducting the Everyday Austerity research project, as well as engagement and activism resulting from this work.
Researching Urban Policy Mobilities, Thursday 13 June (9.15 – 11.00)
This masterclass on Researching Urban Policy Mobilities is a participatory engagement aimed at exploring the diverse range of research designs and attendant benefits and challenges of conducting qualitative fieldwork across multiple sites. From Burawoy et al.’s (2000) ‘extended ethnographies’ to new forms of ‘relational comparison’ advocated for by Ward (2010), Robinson (2016), and Hart (2018) there is renewed interest across the social sciences in studying and theorizing ‘the urban’ across many different locations. Taking as its starting point a critical engagement with the social production of policy and its effects on the social and political processes involved in shaping cities and urban life, this workshop begins by asking where is the site and where is the field? Participants are invited to consider how their own research is multi-sited and we will work through the nitty-gritty logistics of how to do fieldwork across a range of sites and spaces. Together we will explore challenges and joys of what Peck and Theodore (2012) have called ‘following’ or ‘tracing’ policy mobilities and immobilities and doing multi-sited fieldwork, and we will workshop research design, data collection, and data analysis.
Researching World City Networks, Thursday 13 June (11.15 – 13.00)
This masterclass will explore the question of how to make sense of the global urban. It asks how we can conceptualise and operationalise urban research at the global scale, and engages with the challenges and critiques encountered by those employing macro-perspectives on global urban change. Starting with an overview of different ways of theorising and doing global urban research (Harrison and Hoyler 2018), we will focus on a specific approach to analysing world city networks (Taylor and Derudder 2016). The session will discuss how this approach conceptualises external urban relations, the process of data collection and the analysis and (limits of) interpretation, as well as reflect on how findings are being used once they get into the public realm. We will consider the need to integrate agency and practice related perspectives from relational economic geography into the analysis of world city networks (Hoyler et al. 2018) and discuss the methodological challenges this creates.