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The political to come. Notes on the transformation of the public space in the late globalization

Chiara Certomà - 8 febbraio 2012 These notes are intended to explore the transformation public space is undergoing in the time of globalisation by reviewing the work of some most reputed social scholars, particularly Saskia Sassen, Manuel Castells, Arturo Escobar and Doreen Massey. The notes move from a preliminary description of the routines, procedures, institutions and cultures in which globalisation materialises. Social and political consequences of economic and financial globalisation are considered together with the re-conceptualisation of some crucial categories of political studies (such as the concept of collective identity, power relations, political actor and public space). Specifically ‘public space’ is defined as the space where political life deploys though material and discursive practices endowed with collective relevance.

Chiara Certomà 

(Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa and ASud, Roma)

c.certoma@sssup.it

 


The political to come. Notes on the transformation of the public space in the late globalization

(Draft notes for a seminar delivered as part of the course “Modelli di spazio pubblico nella filosofia moderna”, organised by prof. Anna Loretoni, in May 2011 at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa. I want to thank Marco Guerrazzi and Farah Huzair for their comments)

 

Abstract

These notes are intended to explore the transformation public space is undergoing in the time of globalisation by reviewing the work of some most reputed social scholars, particularly Saskia Sassen, Manuel Castells, Arturo Escobar and Doreen Massey. 

The notes move from a preliminary description of the routines, procedures, institutions and cultures in which globalisation materialises. Social and political consequences of economic and financial globalisation are considered together with the re-conceptualisation of some crucial categories of political studies (such as the concept of collective identity, power relations, political actor and public space). Specifically ‘public space’ is defined as the space where political life deploys though material and discursive practices endowed with collective relevance. 

Three crucial topics are focused. The first one relates to the space for the public space, i.e. where the public space happens to take place; it particularly refers to the growth of global cities and the emerging network topography. The second pertains to political agency, by considering how the loss of power of traditional political institutions at national level is compensated by the raising of new forms of power, determined by socio-economic actors able to influence public affairs. The third is represented by the transformation of local actors into global actors whose collective identity has been radically re-shaped by the use of ICT. These actors are actively involved in the structuration

of ‘the political’, interpreted as the domain where non-institutional (or non-formal) agents give rise to social, economic, cultural and political negotiations. These actors adopt a broad array of diverse means, and, eventually, originate a constructive social antagonism that shapes the current form of the public space.

On the basis of these considerations, these notes suggest some peculiar characteristics of the current ‘late globalisation’, that are suggested as worthwhile of further exploration. 

 

 

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