The post-democratic city? Urban Politics and Governance in Thessaloniki's port restructuring

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Lazaros Karaliotas

Abstract

This thesis is about urban politics and polic(y)ing. It seeks to mobilize theories on post-democracy and the post-democratic city as a framework for the analysis of urban politics in Thessaloniki. In doing so, the restructuring of the city's port over the past twenty years or so serves as a heuristic case study. To this end, the thesis first delineates a theoretical framework to analyze the articulation of urban politics and polic(y)ing with processes of post-democratization. It proposes an understanding of post-democratization as an inherently contingent and incoherent ternary process. Post-democratization, the thesis suggests, articulates three intertwined mechanisms: a. governing mechanisms beyond the people, b. the conceptual legitimization of consensus politics and c. the ordering of the urban with a view towards foreclosing dissent. Insisting on the historically and geographically specific character of these mechanisms, the thesis understands the urban as a pivotal terrain in and through which post-democratization is consolidated and contested. The thesis employs four instances of the restructuring of the port to gear its analysis. These are treated as moments of dis-articulation and re-articulation of the politico-economic and discursive coordinates around the port. Hence, in methodological terms, the thesis seeks to bring into dialogue discourse analysis with the analysis of politico-economic choreographies of power and the reading of the ordering of urban space as these are articulated in Thessaloniki's port case. Through the four instances of restructuring for the port, the thesis analyzes how post-democratization unfolds through its collision and fusion with previous institutional regimes and practices. It documents how the neoliberalization of urban polic(y)ing around the port, at a multiplicity of scales, has configured a complex web of governance beyond the people. The thesis unearths how the discursive post-politicization of urban politics by local and national politico-economic elites sustains the conceptual legitimization of post-democratization despite the failures of hegemonic politics. In reading such failures, the thesis suggests that performing neoliberalization is a central element in the re-production of politico-economic elites in positions of power. In parallel, it highlights the centrality of spatial practices and of the ordering of the urban spaces of the port in constructing and consolidating a post-democratic horizon for urban politics. Yet, the thesis insists that post-democratization is never a complete and immutable order. To this end, it also provides an analysis of the incoherencies and contradictions of the post-democratization of urban politics in Thessaloniki as well as of the efforts to stage dissent against the hegemonic order.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2014