For Saturday, 12/1 (SOC 1102 CN)

November 17, 2018

Prep

  • TBA

In Class

  • TBA

For Next Time

  • TBA
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For Tuesday, 11/20 (SOC 1102)

November 14, 2018

Prep

  • Inge L.M. van Schipstal and Walter J. Nichols, ‘Rights to the Neoliberal City: The Case of Urban Land Squatting in “Creative” Berlin’ (2014). We looked at what life is like in the Wagenburgen, the urban land squats that are the subject of the article, and we talked about why anyone might want to live like that in the first place; we didn’t get a chance to discuss the authors’ actual argument re. the significance of such squats, or how these squats seek to survive when urban policy is all about the ‘creative city’. So we’ll do that Tuesday (note: you can still do a pecha kucha on the article if you let me know ASAP!). Be prepared to discuss the following basic questions:
    • What is neoliberalism?
    • What is distinctive about the ‘neoliberal city’, and how does it seem to differ from the city the authors would like to inhabit?
    • What are some other keywords in this text, and how would you gloss them in your own words?

By the way, here’s the brief news doc we screened in class:

In Class

  • TBA

For Next Time

For Tuesday, 11/20 (SOC 227)

November 13, 2018

Prep

I know this is a lot of reading for some of you, but you all were supposed to have finished Vol. I last week. Do the best you can to get the overall gist of the story, even if you remain fuzzy on some of the finer details. Remember to write up a Google Doc for the Jane Austen reading exercise; I’ll create a page on Blackboard where you can submit it presently.

In Class

  • HW Review: Casting Pride and Prejudice

Prep

For Thursday, 11/15 (SOC 1102)

November 13, 2018

Prep

In Class

  • Introduction: Berliner Wagenburgen
  • Q&A: Keywords
  • The Right to the City

For Next Time

We will only read one or two from this list; I just want to wait until we’ve discussed the van Schipstal and Nichols article in class to decide which one(s) would follow best from that discussion.

For Saturday, 11/17 (SOC 1102 CN)

November 10, 2018

Prep

In Class

  • TBA

Prep

For Tuesday, 11/13 (SOC 1102)

November 8, 2018

Only a handful of people did the reading for today, so we’re going to spend another day on this. Come to class prepared. Be on time. At this point, there are quite a few people who won’t be able to credibly argue that they deserve a good grade for class participation (more about this Tuesday, but I’ve posted the assignment on Blackboard, so you can start whenever you’re ready).

I forgot to send the agenda out via Blackboard before class, but by now you should know how to navigate to the blog to check on the assigned reading. Be prepared to discuss, among other things, the following questions regarding Bader & Scharenberg (2010):

  • What are the keywords (central concepts, important terms) in this study, would you say?

  • What defines the creative class? Who are its members?

  • When was this study published? What was going on then?
  • Since then, have there been any important urban developments that we might need to consider? How might they affect our confidence in the authors’ analysis?
  • Have there been any important developments in technology (specifically telecommunications technology, or computer technology) that we might need to consider?
  • Have there been any important developments in the music industry (e.g., changes in the way music is produced, distributed, or consumed)?

Prep

In Class

Prep

‘It’s Like If You Shot Prince out of an Airlock’: Globalisation, Creativity, and Techno in Berlin

November 7, 2018

How do urban economies prosper and grow under the current (changed, because globalising) economic conditions? Which factors determine where firms decide to locate? Which factors determine where today’s young ‘creatives’ decide to locate, and how crucial are they to a city’s economic prospects?

These are the big questions underlying Richard Florida’s work, and he’s spent the better part of two decades touting his answers to them around the world. These are also the questions with which Bader and Albert Scharenberg concern themselves in their essay, ‘The Sound of Berlin: Subculture and the Global Music Industry’ and their local concern with Berlin has the advantage of examining his ideas with respect to a single case. To the questions mentioned above, they add a few more parochial ones: Why has Berlin become such a magnet for young ‘creatives’ from around the world, and what does this mean for its economic prospects? Why have industries especially dependent on the creative class taken off in Berlin while others have not?

I’m not gonna lie: Bader and Scharenberg’s answers to these questions are a bit muddled, but the bottom line is that they challenge Florida’s biggest claim. Richard Florida told us that if you attract enough members of the creative class (see Florida 2003:8 for a full definition), economic prosperity soon follows. In Berlin we have a case where the creatives came in droves, but the economy is still in the doldrums — a former mayor famously described Berlin as ‘poor but sexy’.

In a similar way, then, this article is sometimes poor in its writing and argumentation — but very sexy in terms of topic. If you want to get up to speed on Berlin’s world-famous techno scene with a lot less academic huffing and puffing, there’s some great on-the-scene reporting in this New Yorker article from a few years ago. The author, Nick Paumgarten, also recorded a short podcast with a friend from the scene in which he tries to give the reader a very brief history of techno, so here you have a chance to hear the black roots (well, plus Kraftwerk) of yet another Motown sound that has taken the world by storm.

 

Further Reading/Further Listening/Notes Toward a Future Canon

 

REFERENCES

Bader, Ingo, and Albert Scharenberg. 2010. ‘The Sound of Berlin: Subculture and the Global Music Industry‘. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34(1): 76-91, March.

Paumgarten, Nick. 2014. ‘Berlin Nights’. The New Yorker, 23 March.

 

For Tuesday, 11/13 (SOC 227)

November 6, 2018

Prep

In Class

  • Guest Speaker: Nick Weissman, Producer of For Ahkeem 

For Next Time

For Thursday, 11/8 (SOC 1102)

November 6, 2018

Prep

Paumgarten offers a vivid and engaging account of the Berlin techno scene and its unique nightclub culture, but without the explicit allusions to Richard Florida’s ‘creative capital’ thesis; so this is an interesting supplementary read that you can turn to when you find the Bader and Scharenberg article to be confusing (but again, you should at least skim the academic stuff to try to get the overall gist!).

In Class

  • TBA

For Next Time

Global Cities

November 6, 2018

Saskia Sassen has had a major impact on how we understand globalisation and the way it has transformed many cities, as well as the way in which it has transformed their relation to one another. Here is one of her most anthologised statements on these topics — you might not get all the way through, but give it the old proverbial ‘college try’. Afterwards, you can kick back with the two interviews below and see how much you got out of reading the original text.