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Faces of the City – Online event titled “Cross-national comparisons on state-civil society relations: the cases of sports mega-events preparation in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg” & “Left and Right: What do they stand for in Cities and City-regions?”
May 10, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Online event titled ‘Cross-national comparisons on state-civil society relations: the cases of sports mega-events preparation in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg (Erick Omena) & Left and Right: What do they stand for in Cities and City-regions? (Nelson Rojas)’. – Tuesday 10 May 2022, 16:00PM – 17:30PM (CAT).
Cross-national comparisons on state-civil society relations: the cases of sports mega-events preparation in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg
How is power exerted by the state to prevent and confront dissent? What are the differences found between countries when considering this issue? What are the main underpinnings of such differences? By exploring international cases of urban redevelopment projects associated with sports mega-events, this research presents some reflections to help answer these questions. As such, the specific objectives of this study are 1) to understand what kind of strategies and tactics have been used by governments to respond to the action of groups unhappy with the impacts of urban developments associated with the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg, particularly with their land clearance demands and 2) to contrast the respective results found for each host city.
Left and Right: What do they stand for in Cities and City-regions?
As it is widely known in the fields of public policy and urban studies, research work on the impact of ideology and party politics on cities’ policy outputs is few and far between. Even though ideology and political orientation have been placed in a central position in the studies on elections, voter’s choice, electoral coalitions, and government formation, they have been destined to a marginal position as a variable able to explain policy outputs, both at the national and subnational levels. As Douglas and Sharpe (1984) remind us, until recently “output “analyses were the domain of disciplines such as economics and sociology. Policy results were mainly explained by sociodemographic factors.
While following the same intellectual path of output research, we have tried to evaluate to what extent the neoliberal wave that swept Latin American cities in the last two decades has been either fastened or braked by political factors. In a word, if Latin American cities, severely affected by huge national deficits, have resorted to neoliberal regulatory practices, and have been acting more and more like “growth machines”, it was reasonable to expect that the neo-liberalization process could be, if not completely reversed, hindered in left-oriented municipalities. With the database of 5,570 Brazilian municipalities in Brazil, we have correlated over 20 years the cities’ political orientation with their commitment to neoliberal practices and regulations. We found no “left-wing” or “right-wing” effect on the degree and direction of such commitment.
Thus, if at the local level the left-right divide has little or no impact on the cities’ spending patterns or the extension neoliberal practices are put in place, the academic research should try to spot where this divide makes a difference in the life of cities. Assuming that the left-right axis has evolved in its meaning over time, in this paper we have tested the hypothesis according to which left-oriented municipalities would be more prone to support and enhance pluralism than right-oriented cities. Resorting to the 2019 Census database (MUNIC) of Brazilian municipalities, we have tested the hypothesis according to which left-oriented cities would be more likely to protect and enhance minority rights than right-oriented municipalities. Resorting to data on the 5570 Brazilian municipalities and their policies regarding the protection of minority groups and the defense of human rights, we did not find any ideological cause behind the variation of those policies along Brazilian municipalities. if the left/right divide says little about spending patterns and economic policy, it also does not make a difference as far as pluralism is concerned. Academic research is still challenged to find where such a divide makes a difference in the life of the cities.
Erick Omena is a lecturer at the Institute of Research on Urban and Regional Planning / Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPPUR-UFRJ) and member of the Observatório das Metrópoles research network.. He has a PhD in Spatial Planning and Urban Politics awarded by Oxford Brookes University. His research interests focus on the interface of social theory, urban planning and political economy.
Nelson Rojas de Carvalho is political scientist and associate professor at PPGCS/UFRRJ. He holds a MSC in Comparative Politics at LSE ( London School of Economics and Political Science) and a Phd in Political Science at IUPERJ. He is member of the Observatório das Metropoles and leader of the research team LEPPEM. He’s been carrying out research in the following fields: elections, electoral geography, congress, metropolitan governance and local power.
Zoom link: https://wits-za.zoom.us/j/93584078767?pwd=VThtaGxWODZpSUI0Ukg0enh5eFZzdz09
Meeting ID: 935 8407 8767