The (re)turn of the revanchist city
(Philipps University Marburg)
Paper short abstract:
Through an empirically informed analysis of the practices of a neighbourhood patrol in the peripheries of Rome, I chart the ways in which degentrification and migration in securitarian neoliberalism relationally shape class belonging in the urban space.
Paper long abstract:
As far-right ideologies spread over Europe and are often interpreted as political radicalization in response to intensified migration, less attention is given to the ways in which anti-immigrant ideologies are embedded in spatial and class dynamics in urban settings. Grounding my reflection in fieldwork conducted between 2014 and 2017 on a neighbourhood patrol in the peripheries of Rome, I argue that the anti-immigrant turn in Europe needs to be analytically embedded in a scrutiny of class and space transformations in times of security-obsessed neoliberalism. On the one hand, guided by a profit-making logic and materialized through shady deals between construction magnates and the municipality, the recent construction of Roman peripheries intersects particular visions of class belonging threatened by processes of degentrification. While house values drop and infrastructure decays, class belonging needs to be fiercely defended by a revanchist city eager to protect its standing (Smith 1996). On the other hand, struggles around class belonging in the urban space occur relationally: instead of mobilizing politically against a local administration captured by the interests of capital, the revanchist city turns against a class more precarious than itself: the Roma, immigrants, and the Italian poor. It is against these that the revanchist city produces identities and coagulates communities in the security key. By claiming that their houses need to be defended against invading others, they mask their struggles around class belonging while (re)producing insecurities. Reference Smith, Neil. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London and New York: Routledge.
The new anthropology of class: relations of place, experience and (dis)possessions