In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective.
The contributors to Grammars of the Urban Ground develop a new conceptual framework and vocabulary for capturing the complex, ever-shifting, and interactive processes that shape contemporary cities. Building on Marxist, feminist, queer, and critical race theory as well as the ontological turn in urban studies, they propose a mode of analysis that resists the staple of siloed categories such as urban “economy,” “society,” and “politics.” In addition to addressing key concepts of urban studies such as dispossession and scale, the contributors examine the infrastructures of plutocratic life in London, reconfigure notions of gentrification as a process of racial banishment, and seek out alternative archives for knowledge about urban density. They also present case studies of city life in the margins and peripheries of São Paulo, Kinshasa, Nairobi, and Jakarta. In so doing, they offer a foundation for better understanding the connective and aggregative forces of city-making and the entanglements and relations that constitute cities and their everyday politics.
Contributors. Ash Amin, Teresa Caldeira, Filip De Boeck, Suzanne Hall, Caroline Knowles, Michele Lancione, Colin McFarlane, Natalie Oswin, Edgar Pieterse, Ananya Roy, AbdouMaliq Simone, Tatiana Thieme, Nigel Thrift, Mariana Valverde