Back to All Events

GPEIG Breakfast Roundtable: Insurgent Planning From Within - New Conversations in Development

GPEIG New Conversations – Breakfast Roundtable
Our panel explores shifting state practices in the context of market-oriented urban change. In the last two decades, formerly socialist and communist (or state capitalist if you will) countries enacted well known economic liberalization policies. The deepening of these “reforms” laid the groundwork for a contemporary economic globalization characterized by global supply chains, mobile capital, migration and, more recently, an emergent nationalism in economic policy. The resulting urban transformations are reshaping land, work and nature at multiple scales while at once blurring the north-south divide. The changes corresponding to liberalization attracted rich scholarly attention from the perspectives of mobilized civil society, postcolonial theory and international law from below. However, scholars in the historically north and south alike are only now grappling with the implications of more recent economic movements and counter movements. In this panel, we are particularly interested in insurgent planning from within the state. Drawing from our work across India, Italy, Middle East, Latin America among others, we expect to explore some key questions, including: What are the conditions under which reformers (guerrillas) emerge from within the bureaucracy? What are the new sites of contestation and accommodation that open up spaces for progressive politics on the ground, including the alliances that bureaucracies forge with actors outside the state? Under what conditions does the nested local state, particularly in the face of intensified globalization, gain autonomy for progressive social action? How can practices of accountable discretion by local state actors become the basis for new planning theories and policies? 
By focusing on insurgent planning from within, we hope to reframe the theories and practices of progressive social change in three ways. First, looking at insurgency from within the public sector has the potential to reveal deep fissures within and expose the heterogeneities of ‘the’state. Second, it makes clear the contested as well as generative tensions that shape the work that state actors do as they confront -- and instigate – change. Third, it can help reveal how progressive spaces and outcomes actually come about through the work of local state actors, even at a time when the meaning of progressive politics is coming into question globally.

Sai Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Meenu Tewari, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Atul Pokharel, Assistant Professor, New York University
Mona Fawaz, American University, Lebanon
Justin Steil, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kian Goh, UCLA (TBC)
Ashok Das, University of Hawaii (TBC)

Location: Colorado D