Néolibéralisation et espaces urbains : deux appels à contribution

Les effets de la néolibéralisation sur l’espace géographique et en particulier sur et dans l’espace urbain constitue une problématique très « tendance » dans les pays du Moyen-Orient, quoiqu’on pourrait observer qu’elle n’est pas très « neuve ». Les premiers travaux anglophones sur la question remontent en effet déjà à la fin des années 1990. Pour autant, il est certain que les réformes néolibérales, peut-être un peu plus lentes à s’affirmer au Moyen-Orient qu’ailleurs, s’avèrent un puissant levier de transformation spatiale – même si les réduire aux logiques de privatisation constitue à mon sens une restriction contre-productive. D’autre part, l’utilisation de l’adjectif néolibéral n’implique-t-elle pas aussi un cadre conceptuel d’appréhension de ces mutations fortement marqué par le paradigme radical (Harvey, Davis…)? Et dans ce cas, on est en droit de se demander quelles autres approches seraient utiles.

Deux ateliers organisés dans le cadre du Mediterrenean Programme 2011 de l’Université Européenne de Florence convient des contributions sur ces questions. Je pense qu’elles intéresseront particulièrement les chercheurs français qui travaillent sur cette région. Le premier propose une réflexion sur l’apport spécifique des études de cas portant sur les villes du monde arabe à ce paradigme réflexif.

What is New about “Neo-Liberal” Urbanism? Middle Eastern Cities in Comparative Perspective

Organisateurs : Najib Hourani, Michigan State University et Mona Fawaz, American University of Beirut

Since the 1980s, Middle Eastern cities have hosted several experiments in market-driven, or “neo-liberal” urbanism, yet they remain off Urban Studies’ disciplinary map. This workshop seeks to place regional cities squarely within contemporary debates about the nature of neo-liberal urbanism through historical and comparative studies of urban transformation.

We seek to evaluate two dominant approaches to the rise of “neoliberal urbanism” – that derived from “structuralist” accounts of the shift from state to market in the management of urban affairs, and the account rooted in the growing literature on “governmentality” – through historically-grounded case studies of transformations of Middle Eastern cities. How has market urbanism been adapted and adopted in the region? What local, regional and global structures facilitated or imposed the process? How have they reconfigured politico-economic institutions and practices, and so, the urban structure and fabric of regional cities? How does the region’s urban experience confirm, re-orient or undermine these currently dominant theorizations of market urbanism as drawn from western accounts?

Participants will evaluate dominant paradigms through a contemporary or historical episode of structural transformation or governmentalization of a regional city. In addition to contemporary cases, we suggest three historical moments that provide fertile terrain for the evaluation of dominant paradigms: a) late Ottoman modernization of urban administration and economy, b) colonial state formation, and c) the shift to Keynesianism and economic nationalism in the era of independence. Through concrete case studies, authors are asked to attend to the structures, institutions, technologies and strategies introduced, the problems they meant to address and the politico-economic forces that benefited from, resisted or were produced by them. The organizers hope that, in evaluating how the cases or comparisons confirm, redirect or contradict either or both of the dominant formulations discussed above, the panel will not only develop more rigorous understandings of neo-liberal urbanism in the Middle East, but to do so in such a way as to ensure the Middle East has a central place in the production of urban theory.

Pour en savoir plus.

Le second invite à une réflexion sur la fourniture des services publics et à ses enjeux politiques à l’échelle locale, un thème proche de celui du numéro de Géocarrefour que j’ai dirigé, à paraître très prochainement. J’en profite pour faire un lien vers le texte de mon introduction (tout commentaire bienvenu pour qqs dernières modifications…).

Neo-liberal reforms, local elites, and accountability in public service provision in the MENA region

Organisateurs : Dr. Sylvia I. Bergh, Erasmus University Rotterdam, et Ulaş Bayraktar, University of Mersin

This workshop aims to explore how neo-liberal reforms have affected the power bases and patronage networks of local elites, and what this means in terms of clientelism and public accountability in public service provision in MENA countries.

It aims to fill a knowledge gap by combining public policy and management theories with those on patron-client networks and public accountability at the local level. The wider conceptual framework employed and critiqued in this workshop is that of ‘good governance’ and its inherent contradiction between on the one hand enhancing pluralism and political accountability, and managerial efficiency and technocratic reform on the other.

The workshop aims to address four major themes and sets of questions. First, what is the impact of neo-liberal reforms in service provision on local elites and their patron-client networks? And how can citizens (if the notion of citizenship still applies) and communities hold providers to account in the context of “contract accountability” between (local) governments and providers? The workshop also aims to address these questions from a gender perspective. Second, given the weak state of devolved (political) decentralization in most MENA countries, do neo-liberal reforms in fact strengthen deconcentrated state structures (i.e. the line ministries), thereby further marginalizing local governments? Third, what is the potential for such reforms to stimulate the emergence of (developmentally) good patrons that are constructively engaged in providing links between “government” and “the public”? Fourth, what is the role of international actors and institutions in pushing the neo-liberal reform agenda, and to what extent are they aware of its local governance effects?

The workshop invites contributions that are based on extensive fieldwork and employing a diverse array of research methods and sources from academics, policy makers in local and national governments, as well as development practitioners dealing with local public service provision in the region.

Appel long ici.

Date limite pour les deux appels : 15 juillet 2010.


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