Young and Keil 2009



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Transportation infrastructure planning only reflects elite concerns about the economy while also ignorning the everyday in favor of centralized political concerns


Young and Keil 2009 (Douglas and Roger, Professors at York University, Cities 27.2 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275109001085)

The newest – 2006 – census figures in Canada reveal that 70 percent of the population live in metropolitan areas.1 However, within those urban areas they increasingly live outside of urban cores in a new kind of urban landscape. Interestingly, more Canadians also work in the suburban parts of metropolitan areas. The number of people working in central municipalities increased by 5.9% from 2001 to 2006 whereas the number of people who worked in suburban municipalities increased by 12.2%. While there continues to be growth of the traditional suburban kind, and while inner cities experience densification of office and condominium developments, some of the most dynamic growth areas are literally in-between. But the picture in the old suburbs and the enclaves left by the last period of urban growth in Canadian cities is not as clear cut overall. There are areas of aggressive expansion, for example around suburban York University in Toronto, where a New Urbanist-styled “Village at York” has added 1000 units of residential space. Yet just one block away, the Jane-Finch district continues to lose both in economic standing and demographically. While these in-between areas in metropolitan regions experience fast paced socio-spatial change, the political and administrative realities that govern them are structured such that the concerns of these areas are literally marginalized. The Steeles Avenue corridor at the northern edge of the York University campus, for example, is a major east–west thoroughfare at the border of two municipalities – Toronto and Vaughan – that has enjoyed little attention among those cities’ investors and resident communities. Planners in the two municipalities have only recently begun to think about redevelopment possibilities in the corridor, but their policy-making is largely in isolation from each other. Just where the need for articulated urban infrastructure development is greatest, the capacity to act is least. The linear nature of public transit and other networked infrastructure – which favour either mass concentration of jobs or housing or wealthy enclaves of economically or politically influential users (industry, commerce, upper-middle class residences, etc.) – predestines the places located between designated destinations to lie in a fallow land of unsatisfactory access. This techno-material bias is corroborated by the political decision-making processes that underlie technical allocation. No politician, planner or bureaucrat will champion non-central or non-demarcated projects of public expenditure, particularly if inhabited or toiled in by socially less powerful groups. As a consequence, infrastructures that are built to connect centres actually disconnect those non-central spaces that lie in-between. The extended Toronto subway, for example, which is to connect the Vaughan Corporate Centre with York University and Downtown Toronto, bypasses the residential and commercial neighbourhoods on both sides of the designated line. In addition, we already know that while highways connect smart centres and movieplexes around the urban region, blue collar workers in the industrial malls of the sprawling Toronto productionscape rely on irregular buses to get them to and from work.

Ignorance of the practices of everyday life certifies as “natural” rhythms of life that are in fact reversible and contingent—only an interruption in everyday life slows capital by draining its labor power


Kipfer 2002 (Associate prof of polisci and French at York University, Urbanization, Everyday Life and the Survival of Capitalism: Lefebvre, Gramsci and the Problematic of Hegemony, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 13:2)

Lefebvre described everyday life as c ~ n t r a d i c t o r y . ~ ~ On the one hand, everyday life is central to "the reproduction of social relations of - - production," by which he meant not just consumption and labor reproduction but all aspects which make capitalism survive. Daily life is key to hegemony and the reproduction of capitalism54 insofar as it is saturated by the routinized, repetitive, familiar daily practices that make up the everyday in all spheres of life: work, leisure, politics, language and so on.55 Everyday life is the best "guarantee of non-revolution because it is a crystallization of what we take for granted, of what seems self-evident and inevitable irrespective of whether we like it or note5' Made effective because of our "taste of solidity and durability" as defense against the uncertainties and illusions of modern life,58 the everyday becomes a "seat of power,"59 the "very soil on which the great architecture of politics and society rise up."60 While Lefebvre located the advent of the everyday in the origins of industrial capitalism in the 19th century and studied it empirically in the French Pyrenees region in the 1930s and 1940s, he insisted that it was not until the advent of "neo-capitalism" after the war than that "capitalism had seized the ground that had escaped it in large part until then: everyday life:"61 The reproduction of the relations of production entails the extension as well as the enlargement of the mode of production and its material base. On the one hand, capitalism spread across the entire world to subordinate preexisting productive forces and transform them for its purpose, as Marx understood it. On the other hand, capitalism formed new sectors of production, exploitation and domination. These sectors include leisure, everyday life, knowledge (connaissance) and art, and, finally, urbanization. What are the results of this double process? Capitalism has maintained itself by extending across space in its entirety. Starting from a small number of countries at the time of Marx.. ..it has conquered the globe by constituting the world market and celebrated colossal victories (notably with the creation of leisure, tourism, etc.), and this despite a number of serious defeats, revolutions and revolts.62 Capital centralization, aggressive state intervention, the opening of new sectors (leisure, mass media, consumer durables, advertising), bureaucratically administered consumption, and rapid urbanization caused French postwar capitalism to "extend into the slightest details of ordinary life."63 This deepening of capitalism in everyday life was the metropolitan dimension of a world-wide, neo-colonial expansion of capitalism. Lefebvre was often pessimistic about the "loss of autonomy of everyday life" and the latent "terrorism" of bureaucratic interventionism and administered consumption under n e o - ~ a p i t a l i s m . ~ ~ That was because, under neo-capitalism, power is not simply a "front" located in macro-institutional centers (schools, factories, parliament) but also in micro-worlds of space, discourse, "commonplace notions," visual representation, art consciousness.65 But in contrast to Marcuse's thesis about the one-dimensionality of the Fordist subject, Lefebvre insisted on the contradictions and promising potentials within postwar everyday life.66 Indeed, Lefebvre never tired of stressing the role of intellectuals to extricate the possible within the real rather than to reify the systemic coherence of capital.67 The dialectical methods that permeate his work - transduction, dialectical humanism, spectral analysis, differentialism, conjunctural analysis - all pointed to the limits of the reproduction of social relations of production. These limitations and contradictions of hegemonic formations, Lefebvre located as possibilities latent in commodified everyday life. Never completely engulfed by the dull constraints of the everyday, daily life - as symbolized in neo- capitalism by the car, the bungalow, the beach, popular magazines, TV ads - includes utopian promises for non-instrumentalized, playful, and non-alienated futures. Contradictions emerge because these promises are denied by the very regressive forces of commodification that spread them.68 Latent utopian promises within hegemonizing forms of everyday life can also be articulated in organized and explicit forms by social movements, as Lefebvre indicated in his conjunctural analysis of May 1968.69 Contradictions within hegemonic formations make revolutionary strategies possible. But like Gramsci, Lefebvre insisted that these strategies (for rights to the cityldifference, self-management and cultural revolution) adopt complex temporal and spatial horizons. Warning against spontaneist conceptions of revolutionary change, Lefebvre suggested that revolutionary ruptures be situated within a broader time frame of transforming everyday life.70 T o conceive revolution as a "'magic wand' that leads directly from despotism to freedom, capitalism to Communism" would overlook that everyday life tends to change at a different rate and in a different way than the state.71 Without accepting everyday life as the ultimate benchmark of revolutionary success, Lefebvre feared that old habits and practices - the tenacity of everydayness might quickly assert itself.72 In the absence of a qualitative horizon of transforming life "in its smallest, most everyday detail" (through self-management), revolution would risk repeating the quantitative state-socialist project of "intensifying production, cultivating new space, industrializing agriculture, building giant factorie~."~~

You have an ethical obligation to reject capitalism – it’s costs are beyond calculation


Glyn Daly, Senior Lecturer in Politics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University College, Northhampton, Conversations with Zizek p. 14-16 2004
For Zizek it is imperative that we cut through this Gordian knot of postmodern protocol and recognize that our ethico-political responsibility is to confront the constitutive violence of today’s global capitalism and its obscene naturalization/anonymization of the millions who are subjugated by it throughout the world. Against the standardized positions of postmodern culture – with all its pieties concerning ‘multiculturalist’ etiquette – Zizek is arguing for a politics that might be called ‘radically incorrect’ in the sense that it breaks with these types of positions and focuses instead on the very organizing principles of today’s social reality: the principles of global liberal capitalism. This requires some care and subtlety. For far too long, Marxism has been bedeviled by an almost fetishistic economism that has tended towards political morbidity. With the likes of Hilferding and Gramsci, and more recently Laclau and Mouffe, crucial theoretical advances have been made that enable the transcendence of all forms of economism. In this new context, however, Zizek argues that the problem that now presents itself is almost that of the opposite fetish. That is to say, the prohibitive anxieties surrounding the taboo of economism can function as a way of not engaging with economic reality and as a way of implicitly accepting the latter as a basic horizon of existence. In an ironic Freudian- Lacanian twist, the fear of economism can end up reinforcing a de facto economic necessity in respect of contemporary capitalism (i.e. the initial prohibition conjures up the very thing it fears). This is not to endorse any kind of retrograde return to economism. Zizek’s point is rather that in rejecting economism we should not lose sight of the systemic power of capital in shaping the lives and destinies of humanity and our very sense of the possible. In particular we should not overlook Marx’s central insight that in order to create universal global system the forces of capitalism seek to conceal the politico- discursive violence of its construction through a kind of gentrification of that system. What is persistently denied by neo-liberals such as Rorty (1989) and Fukuyama (1992) is that the gentrification of global liberal capitalism is one whose ‘universalism’ fundamentally reproduces and depends upon a disavowed violence that excludes vast sectors of the world’s population. In this way, neo-liberal ideology attempts to naturalize capitalism by presenting its outcomes of winning and losing as if they were simply a matter of chance and sound judgment in a neutral marketplace. Capitalism does indeed create a space for a certain diversity, at least for the central capitalist regions, but it is neither neutral nor ideal and its price in terms of social exclusion is exorbitant. That is to say, the human cost in terms of inherent global poverty and degraded ‘life chances’ cannot be calculated within the existing economic rationale and, in consequence, social exclusion remains mystified and nameless (viz. the patronizing reference to the ‘developing world’). And Zizek’s point is that this mystification is magnified through capitalism’s profound capacity to ingest its own excesses and negativity: to redirect (or misdirect) social antagonisms and to absorb them within a culture of differential affirmation. Instead of Bolshevism, the tendency today is towards a kind of political boutiquism that is readily sustained by postmodern forms of consumerism and lifestyle.

Voting negative to interrupt the rhythms of capital and debate are key: rewrite the space of the everyday by denying the time as surplus labor that makes the system run—judge this debate from the perspective of the interrupter and critiquer of rhythms


Zayani 2009 (Mohamed, Professor of Critical Theory at Gtown Qatar, “Introduction to Rhythmanalysis” in Rethinking Marxism 11:1)

Although Henri Lefebvre wrote about a wide variety of issues, his most valuable contribution is arguably the formulation of a new Marxist sociology. At the center of this Marxiology is not homo economicus, as in classical Marxism, but homo quoti- dianus: not relations of production, but everyday life. For Lefebvre, the mundane, the recurrent, and the trivial are worthy of exploration because they bring to the fore “the great problem of repetition, one of the most difficult problems facing US” (1987, 10). The humdrum, repetitive movement that characterizes everyday life in the modem world is a contrived movement, one that defies the order of nature even as it emu- lates it. It took Lefebvre three volumes of The Critique of Everyday Life and over three decades to explore the extent to which “the bureaucratic society of directed consumption” (1976,32) has restructured everyday life and alerted its rhythms.’ Even at the end of his career, this problem did not cease to preoccupy him. In an essay coauthored with Catherine Rtgulier, entitled “The Rhythmanalytical Project,” Lefebvre probes the structures of temporality that characterize everyday life. The essay is a preamble to and even a condensed version of Lefebvre’s Elkments de rythmanalyse (1992), also written in collaboration with Rtgulier and originally en- visioned as the fourth volume of The Critique of Everyday Life. For Lefebvre and Rkgulier, everyday life conjures up two types of repetition that are deceptively similar: one is cyclical, the other linear. It is true that everyday life has always existed as the basis for every society, but in ways that are vastly different from the modern era. In preindustrial societies, everyday life revolves around the cycles of nature. The type of temporality associated with cycles is neither cumula- tive not circular (in the sense that no two seasons are ever the same), but instead regular and recurrent. Cyclical time unfolds within a sequence that refers to the order of existence (i.e., the movement of death or life). However, in a society that thrives on planning and measurability, the natural cycles that drive everyday life have been profoundly altered in accordance with the exigencies of the dominant mode of pro- duction. The time that defines the modem era is one that is subjected to the measur- ability of the clock and the routine of the working day. Behind the hours, days, weeks, months, seasons, and years stands an experience that is increasingly undermined by a modus vivendi that is marked by the division of labor and the automation of production. In an age of rationality, natural cycles and spontaneous movements are appropriated at the service of an intensely programmed everyday life. To put this somewhat differently, cyclical time has been progressively reconfigured into such functional categories as pledged time (time spent at work), free time (time devoted to leisure), and compulsive time (other demands that city life calls for such as run- ning errands, moving about, and the like).2 The study of the routinization of everyday life, then, is important because it puts into perspective a temporal modality that is structurally akin to the motion of capi- talism. With the hegemony of capitalism, cyclical time has gradually lost its depth, giving way to a more linear time or, what may be termed after Lefebvre and RCgulier, a time of indefinite progress. As a consequence of this change, everyday life still revolves around repetition, but the ensuing rhythm is specific to an age of mechani- cal production; it is impelled by the compulsion to repeat-and more specifically, the principle of production for the sake of production-that is at the core of capitalism. With the exigency of a sociosymbolic structured around the production of surplus- value, the noncumulative process upon which cyclical time has always thrived is folded into a cumulative process in which accumulation becomes the Ur-repetition. In a fluid society where the motion of capitalism has permeated cyclical alternations, the movement of life and death (the law of nature) is continuously undermined by the process of production and destruction (the law of value). Seen from this vantage point, everyday life is not just dominated by economic interest, but is itself a newly created sector called for by the increasing expansion of capitalism. According to Lefebvre, capitalism entered its latest phase when it managed to seize the ground that had escaped it in large part until then: everyday life. In today’s society, people are subjected to a programmed self-regulation; they are instructed in great detail how to live better, how to eat a healthier diet, how to dress fashionably, how to decorate their houses-in short, how to exist. What this means, in part, is that everyday life has become completely manipulated: “the everyday is not only a mode of production but also a mode of administering society. In both in- stances it refers to the predominance of the repetitive, of repetition in time. And this predominance of the repetitive is a way of life. It is a base of exploitation and of domination. But it is also a relation with the world of human beings” (Lefebvre 1988, 80). Such as it is, then, Lefebvre and RCgulier’s interest in everyday life is a rethink- ing of the concept of alienation in advanced capitalistic societies. Alienation is no longer confined to the work place; it takes place everywhere. In fact, capitalism as such is no longer limited to the economic principle of production for the sake of production. It is ensconced in all the spheres of vital activities; it is associated with the repetitive, the recurrent, the tautological, and the pleonastic. In this sense, to study the rhythms of everyday life is to study capitalism in its most insidious effect^.^ Implicit in this line of analysis is a commentary on the limits of Marx’s original formulations. For Lefebvre, Marx’s theories are useful but no longer sufficient. The evolution and detemtorialization of capitalism calls for both a revitalization and a rethinking of Marxism: “Marxism is an instrument of research and discovery, it is valid only if one makes use of it. Marx’s thinking cannot be conceived as a ‘pure’ object of knowledge . . . It becomes useful in understanding what has come to pass in the modem world if one is to orient and transform it. . . We must use it to discover what is new in the world. It is not a system or a dogma but a reference” (1988,77). In order to grasp postmodem or late capitalism in its full complexity, it becomes necessary to graft Marxism with fresh ideas and to infuse it with new concepts. The concept that Lefebvre claims to have added to the vocabulary of Marxism is “the everyday.” To better define this fundamental concept, Lefebvre makes a subtle but important distinction between daily life (la vie quotidienne), on the one hand, and the everyday (le quotidien) and its corollary, everydayness (la quotidiennetk)), on the other: “Let us simply say about daily life that it has always existed, but permeated with values, with myths. The word everyday as an object of programrping, whose unfolding is imposed by the market, by the system of equivalences, by marketing and advertising. As to the concept of ‘everydayness,’ it stresses the homogenous, the repetitive, the fragmentary in everyday life” (87 n. 1). For Lefebvre, as for Rkgulier, the everyday does not simply refer to the perfunctory functions that indi- viduals perform but instead designates the common denominator of these functions; it means by its sequence rather than its substance. Stated differently, the everyday is invested in a certain realism but cannot be con- founded with the real as such, nor can it be reduced to a mere enumeration of the mundane tasks and daily preoccupations that entangle the individual. Lefebvre and RCgulier have eloquently captured this nuance: The deployment of time is such that the day is fragmented into small units. A realist approach provides a detailed description of these units or segments of time (eating, dressing, cleaning, moving about, and so on); it mentions the things we use. Scientific as it may be, such a description is inadequate; it cannot capture the essence of the every- day, simply because the everyday does not consist in a series of time lapses but, in- stead, in their concatenation-i.e., their rhythm. (1985, 194)4 The everyday does not lie in the petty humdrum realities around which everyday life revolves or the mundane activities individuals perform; rather, it refers to repetition in daily life. What matters for the study of everydayness is not the prism of the ac- tivities one undertakes but their sequence, not their sum but their rhythm.



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