Gender, condominium development, and urban citizenship

Leslie Kern of Mount Allison University has written a research study focusing on condominium development in Toronto.

The back-cover blurb for the book, published by UBC Press, notes that:

“Young, single women emerged in the late 1990s as powerful consumers in the wave of real estate development that was reshaping the landscape of cities.”

The book is entitled Sex and the revitalized city: Gender, condominium development, and urban citizenship.

The blurb adds that “As filtered through condominium ownership, neoliberal ideologies are not freeing women from constraints — they are reinforcing patriarchal norms.”

By way of conclusion (p. 211), the book notes that “Despite the rampant forces of commodification and aestheticization, the heterogeneity of city life and city dwellers will not be destroyed by neoliberal urbanism. Many stories of resistance, feminist and otherwise, remain to be imagined, enacted, and written into the new urban landscape.”

Culture

Among the projects Leslie Kern has been involved in is one entitled Capitalism and culture in the Junction.

The latter project focused on how “marginalized groups, at risk of displacement through gentrification, use artistic practices to generate and share alternative knowledges about everyday experiences, in order to resist mainstream narratives about ‘neighbourhood improvement.’

The project documented a “locally-produced art show about ‘Capitalism and Culture’ in the gentrifying Junction neighbourhood of Toronto.”

The reference to culture brings to mind Brain culture (2011): The brain as frontier. An underlying theme in popular conceptions of the brain, according to the Davi Johnson Thornton in the latter study, is “that the discursive activity of popular neuroscience works through questions of human nature in ways that facilitate neoliberal social and economic arrangements.”

Globalization

Dennis Loo of Cal Poly Pomona covers similar ground in a book published in 2011 by Larkmead Press, entitled Globalization and the demolition of society. A blurb on the inside cover notes that “Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations.”

Dennis Loo’s book concludes with questions: “Which path will be taken? The world awaits. The future beckons. Who will answer the call?”

These are interesting books. My own favourites among books in this genre include Communication power (2009) by Manuel Castells. I like the latter book because of its practical, evidence-based approach to addressing relevant issues in contemporary society. Castells has remarked that “The city is everywhere and in everything.” He has also documented the salience of scandal in contemporary political discourse.

Another of my favourite books addressing communications and network theory is The information: A history, a theory, a flood (2011) by James Gleick, whose other books includes Chaos (2008).

Update

A Jan. 16, 2015 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Mapping our political divides: A team of political scientists has mapped out Toronto’s ideological landscape by ward, identifying where the city’s political left and right reside.”

 

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