Panel 2

The more-than-human politics of urban inequalities

Organizers: Rivke Jaffe (1); Francesca Pilo' (2)

1: University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2: Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Topics: Sociomaterialities of conflict and peace; Postcolonial technoscientific futures; Sociotechnologies of (in)secure worlds to come; Right to and sociotechnical imaginaries of the city; Extractivist powers, imaginaries and asymmetries

Keywords: more-than-human politics; urban inequalities; power relations; cities; socio-technical transformations; inter-species relations

Cities emerge not only through relations between humans but also through their interactions with a range of non-human entities: from biophysical flows and animals to infrastructures and technological devices. These entities play a crucial intermediary role in producing and/or mitigating forms of urban inequality: socio-technical change, natural disasters and animal-human interactions, for instance, affect different urban populations in distinct ways. This panel seeks to further scholarship on urban inequalities through a more-than-human perspective that emphasizes the political role of non-human entities in mediating urban power relations and distributions of risks and resources, in different domains ranging from security and public health to energy and transportation. Connecting insights from science and technology studies (STS) and urban political ecology, the panel welcomes empirical case studies focusing on specific socio-technical transformations or inter-species relations that shed new light on the formation of urban inequalities. We approach urban inequalities as a political outcome emerging from the relations between human and non-human entities that have distinct if sometimes overlapping interests. What is the role of specific technologies, construction materials, animals, or viruses in forming inclusionary/exclusionary socio-technical imaginaries, solidarities, and political mobilizations? How do they feature in the everyday negotiation and imagination of current and future urban socio-political orders? How are the interests of different urban populations exacerbated or mitigated through the specific material-technological or biological affordances of such non-human actants? We invite papers that address these questions ethnographically and seek to include cases from cities across the world in order to diversify the geographies through which we theorize more-than-human politics of urban inequalities.