Welcome to the soundcloud page for De Montfort University's Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) – the UK’s only centre dedicated to urban austerity research. This page contains our podcast series, beginning with our pilot on “Urban Futures” where we promote cutting edge research and action on the issue of the future of urban development in the UK, and beyond. The series is made up of interviews with leading critical academics and practitioners working to deliver an alternative, more progressive, future for cities.
Watch this space – the first podcast in the series will be published in early July.
You can follow other content by browsing here - https://cura.our.dmu.ac.uk
Wolfgang Streeck - The Future of Capitalism
Wolfgang Streeck is sociologist and political economist, whose latest works “Buying Time” (2013) and “How Will Capitalism End” (2016) have made key contributions to the revival of crisis theory. Drawing widely on classics from Schumpeter, Polanyi and Marx, Streeck offers an account of the lineage of democracy, capitalism and the state since the post-war period, identifying the deeply de-democratising and self-destructive trajectory in contemporary capitalist development. Against liberal received wisdom, Streeck argues that democracy and capitalism are anything but natural partners or easy bedfellows, but have in fact been in constant historical tension. The post-war social democratic settlement represents an unusual “fix” to this tension that was relatively favourable to the popular classes, or “wage dependent”, parts of the population. However, this fix unravelled in the 70’s as the capitalist, or “profit-dependent”, class rediscovered its agency and, with neo-liberal globalisation and financialisation, began to shape a world in its interests.
Streeck argues that these processes are putting in danger not only the existence of democratic politics, which is increasingly circumscribed by the need for states to appease financial markets, but also the future of capitalism itself. Streeck’s vision for what is to come is gloomy. Capitalism continues to erode the social foundations necessary for its own sustenance, as well as the resources needed to collectively construct an alternative order. Institutional and policy fixes to capitalist contradictions are running out. We can expect the result to be the development of an increasingly uncertain and under-institutionalised social order, reminiscent of a Hobbesian state of nature, where individual agency and creativity becomes fundamental to meet basic needs and achieve even minimal goals. Politics offers hope of rupture, but is itself increasingly constrained and defiled by capitalist development and rationality.
In this podcast CURA‘s Adrian Bua talks to Wolfgang about his work on the trajectory of capitalism and democracy. Thank you for your interest.
Urban Futures # 2 - Andy Pike
In this second edition of the Urban Futures podcast we talk to Andy Pike, Professor of Local and Regional Development and Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development studies, at Newcastle University about recent work he and his colleagues have carried out into city decline in the UK. The Declining Cities report, analyses city decline in the UK and reviews international experience for learning. The research seeks to address a gap in urban research agendas that have tended to focus on successful, thriving cities rather than the situation of and policies needed in cities coping with relative decline. The report develops an index of city decline and a typology of relatively declining cities which is used to measure the scale and nature of city decline in the UK. It also includes a review of UK and international literature on policy responses to city decline as well as an assessment of the implications of the evidence for declining UK cities.
Urban Futures # 1 - Karel Williams
We are delighted to launch CURA's "Urban Futures" podcast series with this edition on the "Grounded City" with Karel Williams, Professor of Accounting and Political Economy at the University of Manchester. In his and his colleagues work on the "Grounded City" Karel argues that the dominance of theories of urban agglomeration in urban policy making reflect a belated recognition of "the urban" by neo-liberal economists. However, Karel and his colleagues argue that there are fundamental deficiencies in the agglomeration approach which rise from the imperialism, and hubris, of classical economics in social science. The "Grounded City" offers an alternative policy imaginary which is interdisciplinary in nature but draws principally on the urban historiography of Fernand Braudel and other scholars such as Charles Tilly – literatures which agglomeration theories simply fail to recognise.