Multiplying Resistance: the power of the urban in the age of national revanchism

In Keith Jacobs & Jeff Malpas (eds.), Towards a Philosophy of the City: Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Perspectives. London, UK: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 233-244 (2019)
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In this chapter, we evaluate the politically generative dynamic of urban space. Notably, we put forward the notion of the ‘multiplier effect’ of the urban, referring to its ingrained tendency to multiply resistance to oppression and violence being exerted against subaltern groups and minorities and, in doing so, to turn this multiplied resistance into an active force of social change. We, therefore, look at the twofold valence of ‘resistance’: negative and affirmative. Resistance initially takes form as a defensive response to oppression and violence. When this happens, the urban becomes the living platform for a multiplying dynamic of encounter and, potentially, of inter-group solidarity, thus laying the foundations for a cooperative – rather than competitive, as in neoliberal rationality, or inimical, as in national-populist reason – way of ‘being together’. After having developed this argument against the backdrop of the women’s movement in Tehran and the urban disobedience to anti-immigration policies in Italy, our chapter concludes by reflecting on the multiplier effect of urban resistance within the current context of national revanchism.
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