Mean Streets Metastasized: Homelessness and Public Space after the Urban Revolution


Uppsala University

March 30, Wednesday, 17:30

Prof. Don Mitchell is renowned for his studies in critical geography, and his research topics include the cultural and political economy of landscape, social theory, labor, Marxism, and geographies of power and marginalization. In his talk, Mitchell will show how the very meanness of contemporary streets and public spaces (as evidenced in the United States by the violent control and expulsion of homeless people) is a function of the ways capital circulation and accumulation have become primarily urban, that is, reliant on circulation and accumulation in and through the built environment. Public space is both a limit and a necessity to this new mode of accumulation – and so are homeless (and other marginally-housed) people. Mitchell will suggest that the meanness of the streets does not operate by some psychosocial logic, but a political-economic one, and the implications are profound even for those of us who are comfortably housed. Though examples that will draw on his research from the United States, he will show that many of his theoretical arguments are adaptable to other contexts.

Mitchell’s book The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space (2003) is translated to Turkish by Ayrıntı Publishing House.