Insurgent Practices and Decolonization of Future(s)

Authored by: Faranak Miraftab

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138905016
eBook ISBN: 9781315696072
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315696072.ch22

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Abstract

This chapter further elaborates the concept of insurgent planning (IP) and why it needs to be taken seriously in planning education, scholarship, and practice. Without strong conceptual elaboration, ideas can be easily dismissed as fanciful or become buzzwords that fail to engage deeply with transformative practices and actions. I therefore build this chapter on three sections. The first section describes the crises and social contradictions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and the implications of the resulting political and ideological shifts for planning. This supposedly post-political era, which has exposed the liberal democratic promises of inclusion and equity, places citizens’ insurgent practices high on the political and intellectual agendas. I discuss the political philosophies that drive liberal democratic and insurgent citizenship practices and argue that IP ontologically departs from liberal traditions of so-called inclusive planning that have held the inclusion of disadvantaged groups as an objective of professional intervention. The second section takes a closer look at the range of citizens’ direct actions and conceptualizes them through the analytic devices I offer as invited and invented spaces of citizenship. I discuss the potential flexibility of these forms of action and dispel a binary misconception of invited versus invented spaces for citizens’ direct action; instead, I focus on the theoretical construct of IP as practices that are transgressive, counter-hegemonic, and imaginative. In the third section, inspired by anticolonial scholars and activists of liberation, I discuss the urgency in decolonizing the future as a realm of political contestation and imagination. I conclude the chapter by stressing the opportunities ahead as the crisis of capitalism leads to aggressive shutdowns of democratic spaces and citizens innovate strategies and practices to invent new spaces of action. IP is not a set of blueprints for action but a conceptual and normative construct to guide planning thought and action that promotes humane urbanism into the future.

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