City transformation and the global trope: Indianapolis and Cleveland

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This paper examines an issue that can be subsumed under one of the three theoretical points of entry for this special issue: how the idea of globalization as a deployed imagining in common urban discourses ('the global trope') has helped to produce a new socio-spatial polarizing kind of governmentality. It is recognized that globalization is now merely a new reality, but also a powerful rhetorical device whose invoking can be a potent political tool for capital in its drive to transform cities. This new governmentality-what is termed neoliberal progressivism-is shown to be shaped and emboldened by this global trope. At this rhetoric's core, a supposed new hyper-competitive reality makes rust belt cities easily discardable as places of investment, production, and business. These once enclosed and confident containers of the economic, in the rhetoric, have recently become porous and leaky landscapes rife with a potential for dramatic economic hemorrhaging. Against this supposed reality, cities are portrayed as beset by a kind of accumulation disorder and uncertainty that now haunts them. The city, as a place of becoming, is a threatened but historically resilient locale that once more must act ingenuously to survive. Through this, the new governmentality's dominant contours-a proposed shock treatment of re-regulation, privatization, and re-commodification-is grounded and rationalized. In this context, the new governmentality is shown to be generating a new low-income punishing uneven development across US cities which most decisively marginalizes low-income African-American communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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