CfP: Urban Neoliberalism in the 21st Century: Exclusion and Struggles for the Right to the City

Call for papers, deadline 30 September 2023

Special issue - "Forum Sociologico" journal 

Link ENG: 
Editors: Francesco Biagi, Redy Lima, Julia Carolino

For Henri Lefebvre, author of the concept of the right to the city, the urban margins are a privileged place of observation, as it is there that the narrative of the city is revealed. His thought develops from the threshold that divides and shatters the urban space, separating the wealthiest groups from the most vulnerable groups.

Will Lefebvre’s perspective, key to reading the processes of accumulation and expropriation in societies shaped by more mature capitalism, remain relevant in light of the socio-spatial problems raised by urban neoliberalism ? This is the question that we want to address in the proposed special issue, from a specific attention to the urban margins of contemporary metropolises both in the Euro-North American context treated by Lefebvre and in the post-colonial context of the global south.

In both contexts, Lefebvre’s observation in relation to the traits of a “new internal colonialism” (1972, p. 43) becomes pertinent when considering the way in which post-war urban development separates hyper-developed areas from areas abandoned to poverty and underdevelopment. This view is thus close to Fanon and his attention to the way in which the idea of race and the processes of racialization operate together with class and space, producing “compartmentalized cities” (1968, pp. 23-75). We rediscover this perspective in the theorization of a modern dual cartography (Santos, 2007), which corresponds to a system of distinctions that, having its genesis in European expansion and colonialism, today crosses the heart of the old metropolises. Distinguishing and separating hegemonic knowledge and practices, which assert themselves as universal, from areas of non-being (Fanon, 1968), such compartmentalization denies the co-presence of diverse forms of knowledge, representation and action on the world.

On the other hand, the urban issue is also a spatial form of struggle against inequality, fostering new resistance and the testing of alternatives. It is part of a wider space-time dialectic, with the dual purpose of global liberation and everyday emancipation (Fanon, 1968, pp. 105-106). A group of researchers, linked to scientific currents that promote academic engagement in urban transformation processes, have been embracing alternative strategies that look at urbanization as a mode, rather than a model : as something organic and collectively dynamic, opposed to the modernist/ pre-established and pre-defined colonial/capitalist, which simultaneously takes cities as territories in resistance, power and emancipation, framed in the line of decolonization of the territory advocated by authors such as Zibechi (2015) or Ela (2013), fostering a greater distribution of public resources and stimulating the specificity of the way of life of the place.

In this volume, we intend to question and document the urban transformation experienced today, based on focused research - conceptually and empirically - on the urban margins of contemporary metropolises and taking into account the way in which three planes intersect, in concrete terms - like the elements of an experience chemistry - react together in the urban space : the question of class and the ethnic-racial question, already discussed, to which, crucially, the question of gender is added. How do these three plans complicate and problematize the contradictions of the new contemporary neoliberal urban model ? We invite the presentation of articles with an interdisciplinary approach, crossing all disciplines with a focus on critical urban studies.

We propose some points to develop :

1. How did the compartmentalization of the city specifically pointed out by Fanon evolve in the present context ?

2. At a time when the suburbs of the largest metropolises in the global north and south are increasingly crossed by populisms that threaten democracy, what emancipatory resistances can we identify ?

3. The protagonism of women in urban struggles is increasingly important and much feminist literature highlights a political role of the concept of “care” in new forms of “production of space”. What agency is this and how is it related, today, with the urban issue ?


Ela, J-M (2013 [1974]). Restituir a história às sociedades africanas. Promover as ciências sociais na África negra. Edições Pedago & Edições Mulemba.

Fanon, F. (1968 [1961]). Os condenados da terra. Editora Civilização Brasileira.

Lefebvre, H. (Ed.) (1972). Le bourgeoisie et l’espace. In Espace et politique. Le droit à la ville II. Anthropos.

Santos, B. de S. (2007). Para além do pensamento abissal : Das linhas globais a uma ecologia de saberes. Novos Estudos – CEBRAP, (79), 71-94.

Zibechi, R. (2015). Territórios em resistência. Cartografia política das periferias urbanas latino-americanas. Consequência.


This special issue will be published in the 1st semester of 2024 (Jan/Jun).


Original proposals written in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish will be accepted.

All original article, review and empirical proposals must be sent in their complete version by e-mail, in .docx format, to Forum Sociológico ( with the title of the special issue in the field email subject and until September 30, 2023.

Before submitting a proposal to the journal within the scope of this special issue, all authors must i) be aware of the policies, editorial procedures and norms for the preparation and submission of texts, disseminated in particular on the pages Guidelines to Authors and Statement of Ethics and Good Practices ; ii) have substantially participated in the work ; iii) having identified all sources of funding for the research carried out ; iv) obtain all authorizations and licenses necessary for reproduction, publication and dissemination in open access (rights to use images or other material from third parties, etc.), assuming responsibility for indicating the respective credits in the works and any charges associated with obtaining it and exempting the journal and CICS.NOVA – Interdisciplinary Centre for Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA FCSH) from any responsibility in this matter ; v) have final responsibility for the content and statements made in the text.

More information, here.