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Panel 56. Marxist and post-colonial dialogues for the analysis of extended urbanisation


  • Manuel Bayón Jiménez, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


Recent years have witnessed intense, increasingly distant and apparently irreconcilable discussions between Marxist and post-colonial thought (Dabashi & Mignolo, 2015; Kapoor, 2018). For instance, post-colonial critique considers Marxist theories originated in the Global North as totalising, and eroding epistemic diversity. Allegedly, the study of phenomena such as gentrification or planetary urbanisation replicate, in the field of urban geographies, a marginalisation of theoretical approaches from the Global South (Liu et al., 2021; Parnell & Robinson, 2012). Similarly, Marxist positions often see the construction of post-colonial approaches as functional to a multicultural neoliberalism that integrates relational ontologies and pluriversalism as antagonistic to class struggles at the frontiers of capital (Swyngedouw & Ernstson, 2018; Wilson, 2022).

These debates are principally based on out-of-context assumptions and mutual interpretations that largely reduce the complexity of both Marxist and post-colonial theory. Drawing on evolving discussions within critical urban theory and intersecting political economy with post-colonial theories (Hart, 2018; Wyly, 2020), this panel seeks to generate a discussion between different theoretical matrices from research on extended urbanisation. The configuration of the city of El Alto in Bolivia, the indigenous disputes of Amazonian urbanisation, or the Mapuche diaspora in Chilean urbanisation, are just some of the spaces that call for a theoretical dialogue (Alvarado Lincopi, 2021; Bayón Jiménez & Durán, 2023; Horn, 2018). The aim of this panel is to understand how is inhabited Latin American urbanization, governed by neoliberalism, while at the same time traversed by class struggles that cannot be reduced just to class struggle. For this reason, this panel is convened from experiences in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, where the different processes of peripheralisation and extended urbanisation require theoretical frameworks that are fuelled by the dialogue between Marxist and post- colonial postulates.

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