Politics in the City-Inside-Out

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neoliberal restructuring has engendered significant economic and social changes. The advent of deregulation, diminished role of the state, and the crisis of social contract have meant that a vast number of subaltern groups are now left on their own to survive and better their lives. Consequently, a strong view in the current debates seems to suggest that neoliberal city is a lost city-where capital rules, the affluent enjoy, and the subaltern is entrapped; it is a city of glaring inequality and imbalance, where the ideal of the "right to the city" is all but vanished. While this conclusion enjoys much plausibility, I want to suggest in this paper that there is more to neoliberal urbanity than elite rule and subaltern's failure. For the new realities of these cities tend to engender a new discrete form of politics. Drawing on the recent urban transformation in the Middle East, the paper elaborates on this distinct politics by discussing how a key spatial feature of neoliberal city, what I call the "city-inside-out," is likely to instigate "street politics" and inform the "political street".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-128
Number of pages19
JournalCity and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Global South
  • Middle East
  • Neoliberal city
  • Political street
  • Spatial politics
  • Urban subaltern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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