New Democracy aims to bring about change in the way democracy is organized. Tonight we investigate the manifestation of expulsion in cities, the phenomenon that Saskia Sassen describes in her latest and eponymous book. Together with Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione, we will look at the concept of 'the commons' for a possible way out of the systematic economic, social, and democratic exclusion of large groups of people in our society. Can a reform of ownership create an answer to the undesirable excesses that a 'brutal and complex' global economy and financial system leave behind in our cities? We will discuss what that means for the city of Amsterdam with alderman Arjan Vliegenthart and social entrepreneur Jeroen Jonkers.
With the New Democracy series we investigate democratic change as a transition, looking for socio-economic trends on the one side, and practices of social innovators on the other, that simultaneously put pressure on the existing system, forcing it into change. Part of our quest is the critical analysis of the current ‘regime’ we live in. Saskia Sassen (Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University) will join us to share the insights of her research that led to the publication of Expulsions.
In this book, Saskia Sassen describes a global economic and financial system that submits whole societies with the purpose just to gain more profits for that system. It leads to the economic, social and democratic exclusion of people in many different countries and many different layers of society. Expulsion is not just about poverty or a growing divide in our society, but goes beyond it in terms of brutality. It places people and groups outside of the equation; it makes them invisible or irrelevant. Expulsion is the expropriation of society from the people. This evening, Sassen will specifically talk about the manifestation of expulsion in cities.
In an attempt to find an answer to the brutality of expulsion we connect the analysis of Sassen to the concept of the commons. Sheila Foster (Fordham University, New York) and Christian Iaione (LabGov, Bologna) will virtually join us to contribute their research on the commons as a governance scheme in an urban context. In their joint work on The City as a Commons they provide the philosophical vision and action perspective on social ownership over urban resources the commons entail. By aligning these ideas with the critical analysis of Sassen we hope to open a new perspective on making our cities more righteous, fair and democratic.
Together with alderman Arjan Vliegenthart (work, income and participation) and social entrepreneur Jeroen Jonkers we will open a dialogue on the value and applicability of this analysis and solution-oriented framework. How and where do we see manifestations of expulsion in our city? Can we identify ownership as one of the root causes to make space for expulsion? And is the commons a possible concept working towards solutions?