Saturday, October 29, 2011

2030세대와 한나라당 - 드림콘서트 기획을 보며

서울시장 선거 열풍이 지나간지 며칠 채 지나지 않았는데, 재밌는 소식이 들린다. 안철수/박경철의 청춘콘서트, 문재인의 북콘서트 등에 시샘을 냈는지, 한나라당판 청춘콘서트인 '드림콘서트'가 개최된다는 것이다 (기사 참조: http://goo.gl/n7Maa). 전국 순회를 하며, 드림멘토와 오피니언 리더를 초빙해서 젊은 대학생들 대상으로 한다는 것. 며칠전 서울시장 보궐선거에서 20, 30, 40세대가 압도적으로 통합야권 박원순 후보를 지지한 것을 보고 충격 받은 한나라당의 몸부림 같기도 하고, 선거 며칠 뒤 바로 기사 나오고 장소 섭외도 완료(?)된 것 보니, 미리 문제의식 갖고 있던 당내, 당외 인사들 몇몇이 사전준비를 했던 것 같기도 하다. 한나라당 여의도연구소에서 주최한다고 하니 나름 여권내에서 '바른 말'하기로 유명한 정두언 의원이 추진하는 것 같기도 하다.

기사가 나오자 마자 트위터, 페북 등 온라인 여기저기서 소리가 들린다. 멘토로 선정된 이들에 대한 평가와 실망도 나오고, 짝퉁으로서 얼마나 잘 되겠냐 라는 소리도 나오고. 하지만 내 생각으로는 드림콘서트가 되었든, 뭐가 되었든 한나라당에서 (또는 후에 이를 이을 짝퉁 '한나라당'에서라도) 이런 기획들을 제대로 했으면 한다. 멘토를 선정하더라도 진정 '보수의 가치와 행동규범'을 지지하고, 이를 삶으로서 보여주는 사회인사를 선정, 이들을 본받으라고 젊은이들에게 얘기하였으면 한다. 최소한 가진 자의 '노블리스 오블리제'를 실천하는 이, 민족에 대한 무한 애정으로 친일청산에 입바른 소리 할 수 있는 인사를 내세우고 이를 논의하는 드림콘서트가 되고, 당내/당외 뜻있는 인사들은 한나라당의 문제점은 무엇이고 당을 개혁하기 위해 이런 보수의 가치를 지지하는 젊은이들을 영입해서 보수진영 개혁의 동력으로 삼았으면 한다.

현재의 한나라당을 보며 뜬금없이 중국 공산당이 생각난다. 재작년 중국 어느 도시에서 현지 연구조사 활동을 하던 중 도움을 주던 어느 중국 대학생과 중국 공산당에 대해 장시간 얘기할 기회가 있었다. 그 학생은 학사졸업을 앞두고 있었는데 이미 공산당에 가입했던 것으로 기억한다. 대략 당원수가 8000만명 정도 된다는 중국 공산당은 전도유망한 중국 대학생들에게도 (모두에겐 아니겠지만) 선망의 대상이 되며, 공산당 가입은 여러 절차와 추천을 거쳐 이루어지는데, 그 학생은 중국 공산당의 관료주의 및 일부 부패 등 여러가지 문제점을 자기도 충분히 인식하고 있으며 이를 고쳐야 할 것 이라고 한다. 중국 공산당이 중국의 발전에 기여할 것이라는 것을 믿으며, 여기에 자기도 기여하고 싶다는 희망도 피력하면서. 문제는 이런 비판의식과 당에 대한 충성이 얼마나 오래 유지되고 기층당원에 전반적으로 확산되냐 일텐데 이는 앞으로 두고 볼 일이다. 문제점이 많은 중국공산당의 발전적 미래는 이런 젊은층들의 활약에 달려 있다고 봐도 무방할 것이다.

위의 얘기를 꺼낸 이유는, 우리나라에서 보수를 지향하는 사람들이 어느 정도 세력을 형성하고 있다면, 제대로 된 보수정당이 출현하고 자리매김하기 위해선 앞서 얘기한 중국의 어느 청년공산당원 처럼 당에 대한 비판과 문제의식을 지닌 보수당원을 한나라당과 같은 보수정당이 확보해야 될 것이며, 내부로터의 개혁을 이루어야 할 것 이라는 점이다. 그리고 그 젊은 보수지지층이 멘토로서 삼을 수 있는 제대로 된 role model을 내세워 그들과 함께 묶을 수 있어야 할 것이다. 문제는, 과연 이것이 가능하냐는 것.

며칠 전 서울시장 보궐선거에서 젊은 세대 중에서도 대략 2~30%가 한나라당 후보를 지지한 것으로 조사되었다. 이들을 무시할 수 없다면, 이들이 개혁적 보수로 발전할 수 있도록 하는 것이 한국 진보정치의 발전을 위해서도 바람직 할 것이다. 고(故) 리영희 선생님께서 '새는 좌우의 날개로 난다'고 하셨는데, 한국에선 '좌'를 논하기엔 '우' 자체가 너무도 수구화 되어 있다. 한국에서 '좌'를 지지하는 사람들에겐 이중고다. 진보정치의 뿌리를 내리기에도 여러가지 험난한 여정이 놓여 있는데, 제대로 된 파트너 '우'가 없어 그 길이 더욱 가시밭길이다.

한국 보수의 발전은 결국 지난 선거에서 한나라당을 지지한 20~30세대가 얼마나 제대로 된 보수로 성장할 수 있느냐에 달려 있을 것이다. 그리고 이런 견인을 과연 현재의 수구보수세력이 할 수 있을 것이냐는 것은 또 다른 문제이다. 오히려 중도에서 좌우로 요동치며 다소 '우'로 가 있는(?) '민주당'과 같은 정치세력이 분화하면서 정치지형이 재편되고 새로 '좌우'가 성립되면, 그 때 새로운 '우'가 이들 젊은 보수를 끌어들이는 것이 더 한국의 '좌'를 위한 길이 되지 않을까? 앞으로 두고 볼 일이다.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

칠레에서의 학생 시위 격화, 남 일이 아니다

칠레 수도 산티아고에서의 학생시위가 격화되었나 봅니다 (http://goo.gl/bDeIt BBC 기사 참조). 산티아고에서는 지난 5월 부터 무상 공교육, 교육의 질 개선 등을 내건 학생투쟁이 이어지고 있습니다. 과도한 교육비, 등록금 등이 큰 이유 중 하나로 알려져 있지요.

BBC 기사에 따르면 칠레의 경우, 2007년도 기준, 전체 교육비 중 40%가 일반 국민의 주머니에서 나온다고 하는군요. OECD 국가 중 최고치라고 합니다 (칠레는 2010년 OECD 가입). 좀 더 자세한 내용은 OECD에서 발간하는 Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators를 참조하면 알 수 있습니다 (바로가기: 2011년도 보고서; 2010년도 보고서)

2008년도의 경우, 칠레에서의 전체교육비 가구 분담 비율은 39.2%로 다소 낮아지지만, 여전히 최고수준입니다. 반면 대학교육비만 따지면 2009년 79.3%로 무척 높군요. 조사된 OECD 국가 중 최고치. 학생들이 뿔날만도 합니다.

다른 사례로, 지난 9월 나온 영국 일간지 기사를 보면 (goo.gl/TMNMm) 영국의 대학등록금 인상으로 인해 OECD 국가중 등록금이 3번째로 가장 비싸진다고 합니다. 그런데 영국 보다 더 높은 곳은 미국과 한국(!) 영국 대학등록금이 인상되어 일본, 호주 보다 높아지고, 프랑스, 네덜란드, 스웨덴에 비할 바도 안된다고 하는데, 한국은 이들보다 경제력이, 생활수준이 얼마나 높길래 대학등록금은 OECD에서 미국 다음으로 높은 것일까요?

좀 더 자세히 한국 상황을 살펴 보면, 2008년 기준, 전체 교육비중 일반가구 분담률이 29.5%로 조사된 OECD 국가 중 칠레에 이어 2위. 공적 부담율은 59.6%로 칠레에 이어 두번째로 낮고, OECD 평균 83.5%에 비해 턱없이 낮습니다. 한국 정책입안자들이 그렇게 좋아하는 미국만해도 전체 교육비 중 공적 부담율이 71%나 되며, 일반가구 분담률은 21% 이지요. 대학교육비의 경우, 한국은 일반가구 분담률이 52.1%로서 칠레에 이어 OECD 최고수준. 공적 분담률은 고작 22.3%로 칠레 이어 OECD 최저수준. 과도한 대학등록금, 일반가계에 큰 부담인 것이 국제통계로도 확인됩니다.

칠레 만큼 심각한 우리나라 교육, 민간 부문에 의한 의존도가 높다는 미국보다 더 악화된 상태입니다. 유럽 국가들에 비해서 교육비의 많은 부분이 우리 부모님, 학생들 주머니 쌈짓돈으로 지탱되는 교육이 우리나라 현실이지요. 교육개혁, 사학개혁의 또 하나 이유입니다. 우리나라 학생들이 이러한 문제의 심각성을 좀 더 제대로 인식하기를 바랄 따름입니다.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

무제

내 마음속 어느 곳에 똬리를 틀고 오랜 시간 자리한 집착. 그 집착에 한 동안 지배된 내 삶. 사랑하는 이가 생기면서 두 개의 축 사이에서 갈피를 잡지 못하던 지난 세월. 멀쩡한 두 눈은 서로 다른 곳을 바라보니 사랑하는 이의 시선을 맞추지 못한다.

촛점 맞추지 못해 넘어지고 쓰러지고 다치며 지나온 길. 혼자라도 가지 말아야 할 길, 어리석은 집착으로 아끼는 이 마저 가슴 아프게 한다.

이제 같은 곳을 응시하려 하지만 나약함으로 시행착오를 겪으려니 남은 세월이 불안하다. 어느 날 가고픈 그 곳에 닿고 보니 혼자 서 있으면 어찌 하나 하는 마음에 발걸음을 재촉하려 하는데, 뻣뻣한 다리 쉬이 펴지지 않고 놓인 돌뿌리에 채이기만 한다.

한번에 가면 좋으련만 결국 굽이굽이 돌아가야 하는 수행의 길. 그 동안 실망하고 아프더라도 기다려 주길 바랄뿐.

지극히 이기적인 어느 밤.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

From Apple IIe to MacBook Air: Steve Jobs, RIP

My first computer ever was an Apple IIe, which came with a shiny rainbow-coloured apple logo. It was one of the latest models at the time, and I think it came into my possession sometime in 1985 or perhaps in 1986. I was giving a lot of thoughts whether I should get an Apple or an IBM PC, but then settled down with an Apple. Thought it was fancier at the time, and maybe the apple logo appealed to me. The computer was assembled in Singapore, if my memory was correct, and it was a beauty when it first came out of the packaging box. Apple IIe's picture here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_IIe.jpg I believe I still have it somewhere in my parents' house, stored in its original box, constantly objecting profusely to my mother's occasional request to throw it away to secure extra storage space.

After a long period of using Windows PC in the 1990s and 2000s, I've finally made a full return to Apple, first with a mac mini and then with a MacBook Air. I somewhat feel strange to find the apple logo staring at me once again, though it no longer has its original rainbow appearance any more. Let's see how this new MBA would treat me in the next few years. For the moment, somehow the first statement on Page 1 of MBA user guide brings some of the old memories back: "you and your MacBook were made for each other".

ps. After having written the above piece at the end of September, in the early morning of 6th October 2011, I woke up, checked the news and found out Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, has passed away. He's lived the life to the fullest, and will be remembered by many. May he rest in piece.

Friday, August 12, 2011

고래사냥

아마 노래방이라고 하는 것이 처음 생겨나 사람들 발길을 끌던 것이 1992년 즈음 이었던 듯 하다. 그 이후, 특히 90년대 중반 이후에는, 노래는 노래방 등에서 반주 따라 하는 것으로 고착되었다. 하지만 그 이전에는 그냥 통기타 반주 또는 무반주에 자기 멋대로 노래를 부르곤 했다. 특히 동아리, 학과 친구들, 선후배들이 우르르 몰려가 학사주점 어느 한 구석, 방 한칸에 몰려가 술 마시다 보면 온갖 노래 (주로 운동가요였지만) 가 튀어 나오고, 때론 다른 패들과 경쟁이 붙어 목청껏 노래 부르는 것이 무척 자연스런 모습들이었다.

그 와중에 마무리 할 때 즈음에 항상 끼여 들던 노래, 어느 정도 취기가 돌아 얼큰해지면 나오던 노래 중 하나 - [고래사냥]. 송창식이 부르는 노래야 편안히 높은 음도 즐기며 들을 수 있지만, 술 취해 합창하던 무반주 고래사냥은 목청 찢어져라 불러 제끼던, 젊은 날의 시름과 분노 등이 뒤섞여 나오던 고래사냥이었다.

가끔씩 그런 날들이 그리워지곤 한다. 반주기도 잘 갖춰진 그런 자리에서, 또는 망가진 모습 보일 수 없는 그런 자리에서 절대 부를 수 없는 고래사냥, 그 고래사냥을 목청껏 부르며 어깨동무 하던 그런 날들. 지금은 부르라고 해도 체력이 따르지 않을 것 같고, 다 부르고 나면 손발이 저릴 것 같다. 아니, 나이들어 술 마시고 길에서, 술집에서 왠 주책이냐고 온갖 비난이 쏟아질 것 같다. 그래서 그냥 가끔 혼자 방에서 읊조린다.

술마시고 노래하고 춤을 춰봐도
가슴에는 하나 가득 슬픔뿐이네
무엇을 할 것인가 둘러 보아도
보이는 건 모두가 돌아 앉았네

자 떠나자 동해 바다로
삼등삼등 완행열차 기차를 타고

간밤에 꾸었던 꿈의 세계는
아침에 일어나면 잊혀지지만
그래도 생각나는 내 꿈 하나는
조그만 예쁜 고래 한마리

자 떠나자 동해바다로
신화처럼 숨을 쉬는고래 잡으러

우리들 사랑이 깨진다해도
모든 것을 한꺼번에 잃는다 해도
우리들 가슴속에는 뚜렷이 있다
한마리 예쁜 고래 하나가

자 떠나자 동해 바다로
신화처럼 소리치는 고래 잡으러

자 떠나자 동해 바다로
신화처럼 소리치는 고래 잡으러


Saturday, April 30, 2011

1781 Globe at the Chateau de Versailles: G. de Coree (Sea of Korea)


How to name the sea between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese islands has been subject to disputes between the concerned governments for some time now. The Japanese government prefers it to be named as the Sea of Japan, and their international dominance during its imperial expansion period from the late 19th century led to the consolidation of this name in a number of historical archives. When the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) was established in 1921 (later re-named as the International Hydrographic Organisation), it published its first resolution on the "Limits of Oceans and Seas" that adopted the inclusion of Japan's preferred name, Sea of Japan. Korea did not get a chance to voice out at this time and in subsequent years due to the country's colonial occupation by the Japanese (1910-1945) and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953).

Obviously, the two Koreas, North and South, on the Korean peninsula are strongly against the use of the name Sea of Japan, as they believe the sea had been long known as the Eastern Sea, East Sea or Sea of Korea (with a couple of variances such as Coree or Corea). This claim is justified when one examines numerous historical archives published hundreds of years ago. For example, on my recent visit to the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles), I happened to notice a huge globe, located in the Dauphin's Study attached to one of the wings of the palace (pictured above). Apparently, this was a terrestrial and celestial globe, commissioned by the then King Louis XVI for his son's education in 1781. It is impressively accurate in terms of its delineation of coastal lines and countries, all clearly marked and expressed in letters. And, I also found out on the East Asian part of the globe that the sea is vividly named as the G. de Coree (or Sea of Coree). The French had a good sense of geography back in the 18th century.

Clearly, how the sea is going to be officially called and internationally known has a number of implications. People's adherence to one particular name represents their nationalistic sentiment, and this is reflected in the way the dispute is being handled. The naming issue has also become more complicated due to the territorial conflict over the ownership of Korea's Dokdo island located in the middle of the sea. The Japanese government has been challenging this ownership for some time now, evidently having a great interest in the territorial expansion that its successful claim might lead to. These conflicts seem to negate the hypothesis that the territorial boundary becomes meaningless in the globalising world. While the increasing volume of international travel and transnational investment brings the world together and allow room for mutual understanding, globalisation has also engendered nationalism, neo-imperial expansion to capture resources (c.f. agro-imperialism), heightened barriers against international migration and so on.

Ultimately, the dispute over the naming of the sea between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese islands stem from the lack of historical understanding of how the sea has been shared by the people in the region before the rise of Japanese imperialism. It is also the result of lack of consensus on how to understand the colonial occupation of the two Koreas by the Japanese in the early 20th century. It is perhaps timely here to remind us that Japan still owes North Korea reparations for their colonial occupation and exploitation. Without resolving these issues, the dispute over the naming of the sea as well as any other territorial conflicts between the two Koreas and Japan would continue. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how this is ever going to be resolved in any near future.

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끄적거림

가장 소중한 것일수록 내 곁에 잘 두었다 생각하며 안심하지만
그 만큼 방치하기 쉽다.
마치 서랍장 깊숙히 넣어두고 어디 두었는지 몰라
찾아 헤매는 애장품 처럼

물건도 발이 달려 도망갈 수 있는데
하물며 마음이야

떠나가지 말라고 어거지 부리며 붙잡아 두려 한들
그렇게 남은 마음,
언제나 불안한 법

떠나지 말라고 가두는 것 보다,
떠날 수 있음에도 스스로 남을 수 있도록,
장애물 없이 선택할 수 있게 해야지

항상 긴장하자
소중한 만큼, 아끼는 만큼
언제라도 쉬이 떠날 수 있음에

Thursday, April 28, 2011

En route to where?

I suppose coming to office during the school closure period has taken a toll on me. Or, it's about time to go on a journey again?

Living on the boundary has been a way of life for some time now. It's like being in an interstitial space without knowing which direction the next move will take me to. Perhaps more like being in a constant flux of time and space, dropping out and thrown into by some force known as fate.

What will you do? What can you do? Just live the present. You will know where you are when you reach there, but is it so important?
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

South Korea's Gwangju uprising in 1980 and people's protests in Egypt in 2011

Coming across with all the news reports about people's protests against dictatorship in Egypt reminds me of South Korea's own history of democratisation movements, which often ended in the bloodshed due to brutal suppression by the military, police or thugs.

One major uprising that still haunts people's memory in South Korea is the violent oppression of people's uprising in one of the southern provincial capital cities, Gwangju in Cholla South Province. In May 1980, ordinary people bravely stood up against the military government. In the course of this uprising, civilians were forced to arm themselves in order to defend them against military forces that repeatedly attempted to suppress them. For a brief period, the city was in an autonomous status, an urban commune that was governed by the people themselves with no real disorder and violence. Eventually, the city fell. More than 2,000 people were thought to have died or gone missing due to the military operation that ended on 27th May 1980. The operational code name for this military exercise that resulted in the massacre was 'splendid holiday'.

Owing to the severe military containment of the city at that time, much of the national population were not aware of what was really going on in that part of the country. Reports were repeating government accusations that communists were behind these protests, and no exact details of military action were delivered. For many years, talking about Gwangju uprising was a taboo. One of the causes that drew university students towards student movement was knowing the truth about Gwangju uprising. Some rare video footage could be found on these YouTube links:

Gwangju massacre (Part 1)


Gwangju massacre (Part 2)


Gwangju massacre (Part 3)


In 1987, another big round of people's uprising took place in Seoul, which led to the concession by the military government that agreed on a direct presidential election. Although this did not led to the change in power due to the division within the opposition leaders at that time, one of the key factors that led to this concession was the non-intervention by the military force at that time. Military actions in the form of coup d'etat no longer took place since 1980. I suppose there were too many risks involved for the military to intervene, now that they had witnessed escalating protests and discontents and that the whole world was carefully following the development of democratisation movements in places like Seoul. Perhaps, Seoul's status as the host city of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games was another reason for such world-wide attention, making it even more difficult for the dictatorship to make any wrong moves.

Civil uprising in June 1987

Now that I see the series of protests in Egypt, my only hope is that the military does not intervene and let the people decide the course of history.

Total incompetence of Lee administration in South Korea fails to contain the spread of foot and mouth disease

I still remember the pig that was being taken away from my grandmother's house when it was sold to a butcher. This was when I was a very small child probably before schooling age. It was a big pig, at least in the eyes of a small child. Several adults had to wrestle with the pig, pulling the rope that was securely tied around its neck and legs, in order to tow him towards the vehicle that was to carry him to the slaughterhouse. Somehow, the pig knew about its destiny, I think, as it was resisting the men with all his might, crying out as loud as it could. It was a shocking, horrible scene.

In South Korea, as of now, horrible acts of killing pig and cattle stock are being carried out on a daily basis. The Lee administration in South Korea is showing total incompetence in containing the 'foot-and-mouth' disease, which broke out in November 2010. The Lee administration failed to take any significant actions in its early days of outbreak. Now it's killing animals en masse. One of the most recent reports here: http://goo.gl/jLULR. It is reported that more than 2 million pigs and cows have been killed since its outbreak, many of them being buried alive. Yes, alive!

One TV programme known for its progressive journalism covered this story, and some of the screen shots can be found on this link: http://twitpic.com/3uga4d. The sub-titles are all in Korean, I am afraid, but the images tell the story. It talks about deep sympathy towards culled animals, how brutal the killing has been, how much those people involved in killing suffers mentally and physically, and the threat of infection from the killing site.

Now the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has announced on 27 January 2011 that "coordinated, multinational response" is necessary in order to contain the disease spread. The organisation's Chief Veterinary Office, Juan Lubroth, has said "The current FMD dynamics in eastern Asia, as well as the magnitude of the outbreak in South Korea, are unlike anything that we've seen for at least a half century". More details of this announcement can be found on this link: http://goo.gl/sHfbb.

The size of culled pig and cattle stock is expected to rise to 3 million by the lunar calendar new year (3rd February this year). And yet, the government has 'asked' the media not to send out images of culled animal in fear of rising discontent. One of the top government officials has even tried to blame the disease spread on farmers, accusing them of not fully cooperating.

My sincere condolences to these brutally culled animals, farmers who lost their beloved livestock, and anyone else who's directly exposed to this killing and who may suffer long-term trauma from this cruel act they were forced to commit.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Gentrification in the Global South: Dilapidation, Obsolescence and Land Exploitation

First Call for Papers
RGS-IBG 2011 Conference: The Geographical Imagination
31st August – 2nd September 2011 (London)

Gentrification in the Global South: Dilapidation, Obsolescence and Land Exploitation

Organisers:
Dr Hyun Bang Shin (Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics) h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk
Dr Ernesto López-Morales (Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Chile) elopez@uchilefau.cl

Sponsors:
Urban Geography Research Group

Summary:

The proposed session aims to examine how gentrification as an urban phenomenon is played out outside the domain of the European and North Atlantic regions. In particular, we invite contributions that address the production of gentrifiable properties and areas through the interaction between obsolescence (fall of exchange value) and dilapidation (decrease in the use value), reinforced by the re-appreciation of landed value and rent gap exploitation. Dilapidation may occur as a result of physical deterioration caused by either deliberate actions/inactions by property-owners or state institutions (e.g. redlining or blockbusting). Obsolescence, on the other hand, may result from changes in the preference for a particular building style or aesthetic tastes, but increasingly, it is the deliberate acts of market agents that affect the artificial decline of the exchange value. As these processes of devaluation take place, they produce waves of displacement and eventually eviction, prompting potential urban segregation. However, although the public policy usually sees the construction of ‘trendy’ commercial buildings as a neighbourhood ‘saviour’, this form of urban production overshadows existing buildings and often leads to the obsolescence of the latter, prompting a further chain reaction of redevelopment that aims at higher rates of financial gains.

In the Global North, obsolescence is said to concentrate on areas with the highest return on investment in a market that has been increasingly entwined with the global financial capital. In the Global South, the question seems to centre on the extent to which the state and market agents (at local, regional or national level) interact with each other to boost property-led redevelopment and create a series of market incentives to attract (globalised) financial capital. These activities often rampantly bypass mechanisms of social participation and political accountability.

In this regard, we aim to explore these issues in relation to the cities in the Global South, with reference to (but not limited to) cities in Asia and Latin America. We expect to establish a platform for a dialogue among researchers in order to shed light on how gentrification can be understood and experienced against the backdrop of its very political, economic and social roots. This, we expect, would contribute to the restoration of a debate that has been ‘evicted’ from the global academia . We welcome papers that address issues like (but are not confined to):
  • Usefulness and applicability of ‘gentrification’ as a conceptual framework for the study of cities in the Global South;
  • Usefulness and applicability of ‘neoliberalism’ in the way it is established out of the North Atlantic realities, for the study of gentrification in cities in the Global South;
  • The role of state institutions and market agents in relation to neighbourhood changes;
  • The role of global (real estate and/or financial) capital in urban development and real estate projects in the Global South;
  • Socio-political issues arising from these processes, insofar as the state involvement becomes crucial for redevelopment
  • Examples of urban strategies that produce dilapidation and obsolescence;
  • Displacement and eviction;
  • Methodological and conceptual challenges pertinent to urban contexts in the Global South
Papers that tease out the differences between the gentrification processes in the North and South are particularly welcome. Interested participants are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to the session organizers (Hyun Shin, h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk and Ernesto López Morales, elopez@uchilefau.cl) by 11th February 2011.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Urban Utopianism Workshop @ Hong Kong Baptist University

(The original deadline for abstract submission has passed, but please contact the organiser to see if there is a place available)


Call for Papers

Urban Utopianism workshop

The utopian perspective, according David Pinder, is one that involves “the expression of desire for a better way of being and living through the imagining of a different city and a different urban life”. David Harvey charts a course to construct the future, or what he calls a ‘dialectical or spatiotemporal utopianism’. This approach underscores a study of the historical geography of capitalism to provide clues as to how a dialectical utopian project can be grounded in both the present and the past. In particular, it requires us to unravel the internal contradictions and then consider how to develop the collective mechanisms and cultural forms necessary for the realisation of alternative urban visions based on these contradictions. For Henri Lefebvre, the world space has been colonised by commodity capitalism and state management and planning. Nevertheless, out of the isotopias in urban space, there are heterotopias developed out of contradictions. Heterotopic spaces can further be developed into utopia, as the May 1968 Movement in central Paris, a utopia, originated from the earlier heterotopia of Nanterre has illustrated. More specifically, for Lefebvre, our utopia is the differential space. This search can be achieved by his much-celebrated regressive-progressive method. For the non-West, the search for utopia must work harder to counteract the hegemony of current urbanisation in co-determination with the world. It is the objective of this international conference (1) to identify the spatial contradictions, (2) to argue conceptually different ways to imagine a different city, (3) to propose ways to build the collective mechanisms/autogestion/the reformed state, (4) to detail cases of experiment all over the world, and (5) in particular, compare and contrast experiments in the developed, developing and socialist worlds.
Call for Papers
This workshop is interested in papers that focus on one or more of the following sub-themes:
  1. Conceptual discussion of utopia by invoking theoreticians like Foucault, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Harvey, and others;
  2. Documentation of experiments around the world including examination and critique of the present, into the possibilities of imagining a future transformation;
  3. Compare and contrast more than one cases in different categories of city and in various types of society;
  4. Cases of experiment in East Asia, in general, and Hong Kong, in particular.

Please send abstracts to Wing-Shing Tang (wstang@hkbu.edu.hk) at the Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, before the 31st December, 2010.
Output
It is intended to publish some of the papers in a monograph.