• The Political Aesthetic of the British City‐State: Class Formation through the Global City

    John Welsh (see profile)
    Environmental Humanities, Political Philosophy & Theory, Urban Studies, World-Ecology Research Network
    Political science, Economics, Ecology, Urban geography, Sociology
    Item Type:
    Political ecology, Historial Materialism, Critical Urban Theory, political aesthetics, Poststructuralism, Political theory, Political economy, World ecology
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    The British State has been terraformed over recent decades through the changing spatio-temporal dynamics of capital accumulation in the world-system entailed in financialisation, neoliberalsiation, and the emergence of global cities. A new post-industrial constellation of political domination has thus emerged in that state that requires urgent re-conceptualisation. This need has become acute in light of EU/Scottish referenda, hung parliaments, and endless ‘national’ Austerity. I claim a metropolitan oligarchy has arisen over the state-territory through this strategic reconfiguration, and the concept of the Axiomatic City-State (ACS) as a politically potent means of understanding this emergent constellation of social relations. The concept allows us to grasp the strategic re-territorialisation of surplus appropriation in the State, the political establishment of concentrated positionalities of surplus ‘capture’ in the world system, and new ways of understanding class formation in the state-territory. The concept therefore constitutes a heuristic and rhetorical device for formulating a new class politics beyond the dominant discourses of populist nationalism and social-democratic state managerialism. Furthermore, by conceptualizing the ACS in explicitly ‘territorial’ terms, a more radical critique can be achieved of ‘state-centric’ spatiality, monochromatic mapping of sovereignty, and the uncritical normative cartography of inside/outside, which dominate the current register of political analyses.
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    5 years ago
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