Presentation Title

Desecrating Public Space: An Affirmation of Capitalist Realism

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Switzer

Start Date

18-11-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 10:15 AM

Location

15-1807

Session

Social Science 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Abstract: The manner, in which public space has traditionally been defined relative to the self in Western states, has been centered on a public giving agency towards the state. On the contrary, the “Occupy” movement’s organizing strategy was one centered on forcing people to reconceive these frameworks, instead thinking of public space as contested space. This presentation indicates that the agency that the state holds in defining public space justifies Occupy’s ultimate eviction from parks and public land. Mark Fisher’s “Capitalist Realism,” an apathetic sensibility that treats the existence and advancement of Capitalism as inevitable, plays a large part in analyzing Occupy’s eviction. I hope to address how the deficiency in the traditional framework of public space allows for an affirmation of Capitalist Realism, as exhibited by the eviction of Occupy.

Summary of research results to be presented

Occupy Toronto's organizing strategy of reclaiming public space was incompatible with how courts in liberal democracies treat property rights. The Canadian courts accused the encampments of privatizing public space because they did not receive input from local businesses regarding the encampment of St. James Park in downtown Toronto. The assumption of businesses as integral to the definition of "public" in Toronto solidifies the connection of privatization within conceptions of public space. This opens up conceptual space for the failings of Occupy Toronto to be explained by Mark Fisher's "Capitalist Realism". "Capitalist Realism" is a sensibility in which capitalism occupies the entirety of the epistemological realm, reifying its inevitability. Occupy's eviction serves as an advancement of Fisher's Capitalist Realism and the battle for public space supports this.

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Nov 18th, 10:00 AM Nov 18th, 10:15 AM

Desecrating Public Space: An Affirmation of Capitalist Realism

15-1807

Abstract: The manner, in which public space has traditionally been defined relative to the self in Western states, has been centered on a public giving agency towards the state. On the contrary, the “Occupy” movement’s organizing strategy was one centered on forcing people to reconceive these frameworks, instead thinking of public space as contested space. This presentation indicates that the agency that the state holds in defining public space justifies Occupy’s ultimate eviction from parks and public land. Mark Fisher’s “Capitalist Realism,” an apathetic sensibility that treats the existence and advancement of Capitalism as inevitable, plays a large part in analyzing Occupy’s eviction. I hope to address how the deficiency in the traditional framework of public space allows for an affirmation of Capitalist Realism, as exhibited by the eviction of Occupy.