“The system tends to exclude people”, Saskia Sassen

January 19th, 2011 1 Comment

The CCCB’s cycle of debates, “Crisis”, yesterday included a talk by the Professor of Sociology at Columbia University (New York) and globalization expert Saskia Sassen. Sassen gave a talk with the title of her latest book published in Spanish by Katz, Territorio, autoridad y derechos.

In the late 1980s, Sassen spoke of “global cities” as strategic nucleuses for international finance. Thirty years on, she sees the global city as something more than a space for the strategic concentration of power. It has also become a border space for imposing globalized, standardized culture on national or local economies.

YouTube Preview Image

Sassen points to a major shift in the logic of the global market, from needing lots of consumer-workers to incentivizing the mass expulsion of people from specific territories. “There are too many people”, says Sassen, listing international cases of people rejected by the system: refugees, US prisoners, the African population displaced by the purchase of millions of hectares of territory in Africa by investors in the rich world, etc.

What can the excluded population do? Sassen thinks the global city can also be a space of confrontation, a meeting place for many of the displaced, who could be joined by cosmopolitanism. By way of example, Sassen cites the popular revolt in Tunisia, which, according to the sociologist, was made possible by cities.

  1. [...] Algunes persones encara conceben la idea de ciutats globals com Sassen l’entenia als anys 80 o quan va escriure Una sociología de la globalización, i això fa que es generin debats al voltant de les característiques que han de complir les ciutats per adquirir aquest status. Cal tenir en compte que amb 20 o 30 anys i el desplegament de la societat xarxa, el concepte de Sassen ha evolucionat, i per això, 30 anys després d’escriure el seu conegut assaig,  la mateixa Sassen torna a abordar públicament la qüestió de les ciutats globals. [...]

Leave a Reply