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‘Central London under siege’: Diaspora, ‘race’ and the right to the (global) city

Garbin, David, Millington, Gareth (2017) ‘Central London under siege’: Diaspora, ‘race’ and the right to the (global) city. The Sociological Review, 66 (1). pp. 138-154. ISSN 0038-0261. E-ISSN 1467-954X. (doi:10.1177/0038026117703251) (KAR id:61536)


Drawing upon an ethnography of recent Congolese diasporic protests in central London, this article pays attention to the traversal histories of ‘race’ and the postcolonial dynamics that precede the emergence of a contemporary diasporic ‘right to the city’ movement. The authors critically engage with Henri Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ as a way of explaining how the urban is not only the site but also, increasingly, a stake in urban protests. In doing so the authors relocate urban centrality – its meaning, symbolic power and heuristic status in protests – in a context where activists’ claims are not restricted to one city or, simply, the political present. Rather, protestors talk about making geopolitical connections between local and global scales and contemporary and historical injustices. Drawing upon Simone’s notion of ‘black urbanism’, the authors claim to enrich Lefebvre’s original formulation by unpacking the complex performative dimensions of protest as they intersect with race and, more specifically, blackness and postcolonialism. It is concluded that activists’ experience is fundamentally ambivalent; they are at once enchanted and disenchanted with protest in central London.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0038026117703251
Uncontrolled keywords: Congolese, diaspora protests, Henri Lefebvre, London, postcolonial urbanism, right to the city, urban centrality, urban social movements
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: David Garbin
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 08:29 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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