Deleuze & Guattari: Democrats

Originally posted on Path to the Possible:

Sorry for the delay in posting new things.  I have just returned from the Lisbon and the Deleuze Studies Conference, and Dublin and the AESOP/ACSP planning conference.  Here is the text of my talk at the Deleuze Studies conference, arguing that D&G are basically democrats (understood the way I understand democracy), but that Lefebvre is an essential addition to D&G if we want to think space well.


For Urban Democracy


Deleuze and Guattari rarely use the word democracy. So it may seem strange at first that this paper argues that it is both possible and fruitful to read in their work a deep desire for democracy. When I say democracy, I don’t mean the liberal-democratic State with its elected representatives, parties, and laws. Rather I mean radical democracy, a democracy in which people directly manage their own affairs for themselves. Democracy as a form of life in which the…

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Lefebvrebot (3) Philosophy and the City


A robot possessing the urban knowledge of French philosopher and spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) explores the multidimensional nature of the city. (part 3) This episode draws from Lefebvre’s works Writings on Cities [The Right to the City], The Production of Space, and The Urban Revolution.

Guest-edited special issue: Madrid and Urban Cultural Studies

1364971XThe guest-edited issue on the topic of “Madrid and urban cultural studies” has been published in the International Journal of Iberian Studies (26.1-2 [2013]: pp. 3-102). Click here for link to publisher’s page.

Editorial and four articles include: Continue reading

Phallocentric Space: Any Contest Over Power is a Contest Over Space


Torre Agbar in Barcelona. Photo from

In order to continue the recent thread of posts on sex and the city, I am sharing the following excerpt from an article I wrote in 2009 that can be found here.

The space of power has traditionally imitated the masculine form and has been occupied according to the logic of masculine values. The association of power with the male member finds expression in the city, as Lefebvre observes, through “the use and overuse of straight lines, right angles, and strict (rectilinear) perspective” (410). Not only is the space of power phallic in terms of form but also in terms of practice. According to Elizabeth Grosz, men occupy space “as territorialized, as mappable or explorable,” conceive space in terms “according to the logic of penetration, colonization and domination,” and do not “respect spaces and places which are not theirs” (57). Phallocentric thought as performed in space is violent and destructive. The penis, as representative of power, is weapon and wrecking ball. If capital reproduces itself by conquering space, as both Lefebvre and Harvey assert, the selling of place and the subsequent gentrification of neighborhoods are “screwing” the weak.

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Women, Chora, Dwelling.” Postmodern Cities and Spaces. Eds. Sophie Watson and Katherine Gibson. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1995. 47-58.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Biutiful Barcelona [10-15-minute video research article trailer]

My undergraduate students are busy making iMovie video final projects for a non-traditional literary survey class and I figured I might give it a try (theirs are much better I assure you). I’ve done this as a 10-15-minute video version of the argument I make in a recent article. Maybe it is more like a research article trailer… Anyone else out there making video articles? [It helps that youtube (at least for my account) allows video uploads of up to 15 minutes.]

The article is:

Fraser, B. “A Biutiful City: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Filmic Critique of the ‘Barcelona             model.’” Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 9.1 (2012): 19-34.

Benidorm and Spanish Sociologist Mario Gaviria

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Benidorm — a planned resort city on Spain’s coast between Alicante and Valencia — has long been a destination for tourists. I can’t say I’ve been there, but references to the city abound in Spain and in Spanish literature and culture since the 1970s. For example: the opening/intro sequence to each and every episode of the Spanish ‘social science fiction’ show Plutón BRB Nero, which aired in 2008 and 2009 and was directed by filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia, includes a gratuitous/humorous reference to Beniform (see here for an article on the series and on Spanish sci-fi in general) alongside such ‘world class cities’ as London and New York. I remember seeing a Spanish novel titled simply “Benidorm, Benidorm, Benidorm” and — as Álvaro Sevilla Buitrago recently pointed out to me — there is a British sitcom called Benidorm from 2007, which seems to be unavailable in the US but can be ordered on region 2 DVD from the UK. The list likely goes on and on…

The deal is:

that Spanish Sociologist Mario Gaviria — who helped to popularize Henri Lefebvre’s ideas in Spain and who edited/introduced a number of Lefebvre’s books in Spanish versions (The Right to the City, From the rural to the urban [collection]) during the 1970s — also helped to design the resort city that is regarded by many as a blight if not also a victory of consumer society over the landscape. [article here] While I have looked through Gaviria’s books at Spain’s Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, they haven’t been republished and are unavailable if not also uncatalogued (I asked around at more than a few chain and independent / even architectural-urbanist bookstores). He did some great work on tourism and urbanism, anthropological work, ecological work, but it still seems strange to me that a supposed Lefebvrian had a role in designing Benidorm, much less in touting its advantages over the years…


More links for Spanish readers:,r:0,s:0,i:66&tx=115&ty=35

URBAN – Journal – Polytechnic University of Madrid / School of Architecture

In Madrid I was able to talk with Álvaro Sevilla Buitrago — who runs the multipliciudades blog [for readers of Spanish] and is also editor of the journal “Urban” [web site in Spanish and English here]. Urban has recently published a number of interesting pieces, here is the list of the last four issues in the ‘new series’ of Urban [which was originally launched in 1997]–note the special issue on Henri Lefebvre…

urban NS04
Doreen Massey / Carlos Jiménez Romera, Jorge Leon Casero, María Mercedes di Virgilio & María Soledad Arqueros Méjica & Tomás Guevara, Jesús Leal & Miguel Martínez & Antonio Echaves & Enrique García / Alexandre le Maître / Estíbaliz López de Munain & Leire Romero & Victoria Vázquez
September 2012

urban NS03
Los conflictos de la ciudad contemporánea / Conflicts of contemporary cities
Don Mitchell / Alain Bertho, Fabrizio Bottini & María Cristina Gibelli, Cristina Fernández Ramírez & Fernando Roch Peña, Imanol Zubero, Luis Miguel Valenzuela Montes & Julio Alberto Soria Lara, Clara Irazábal & Gabriel Fumero
March 2012

urban NS02
Espectros de Lefebvre / Spectres of Lefebvre
Grégory Busquet / Jean-Pierre Garnier, Laurence Costes, Cynthia Ghorra-Gobin, Kanishka Goonewardena, Peter Marcuse, Andy Merrifield, Thierry Paquot, Claire Revol, Carlos Sánchez-Casas, Łukasz Stanek / Christian Schmid 
September 2011

urban NS01
Los futuros de la planificación / Planning Futures
John Friedmann / Neil Brenner, Jamie Peck & Nik Theodore / Erik Swyngedouw / Frank Eckardt / Jordi Borja / Stuart Elden & Derek Gregory 
March 2011