Critique of everyday life and post-positivist planning

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Lefebvre´s books on the ’Production of Space’, The Right to the City and the Urban Revolution have been widely discussed in planning theory, and are constantly referred to in (scholarly-activist) planning practice, e.g. in the urban protests against massive gentrification and in recent solidary struggles against post-political regimes heralding austerity policies. However, Lefebvre´s (2014) century-long oeuvre on the ‘Critique of Everyday Life’ spanning from (1) his analysis and observations of rising fascism in the 1920s/1930s; (2)the post-WWII urban modernization and the ‘internal colonization’ of everyday life routines in France and Europe in the 1940s/1950s; and (3) the advent of paradigmatic shifts between production and consumption in the city in the 1960s/1970s towards the era of global urbanization; has received few attention in the realm of urban studies, and even less so in planning. This is remarkable, as this three-volume work conveys several insights on un- and resettlement of urban routines useful to understand present changes mediated through everyday life in contemporary cities. In a context of a felt unsettling of urban and national routines, particularly marked by the years2011 and 2016, this paper pays tribute to Lefebvre´s complex spatial understanding of the critique of everyday life as an analytical perspective to detect, identify and qualitatively understand changes on the micro-, meso- and macro-levels of society. Then, focus will be set on the time span since the early 1980s to highlight contributions from social, political and cultural theory that have engaged with a more contemporary (spatial)critique of everyday life. These shifts in theorizing the city are connected to the contemporary critique of the earlier generation of post-positivist planning accounts and pave the way to (loosely) start thinking about conceptualizing a more recent generation of planning theories much more interested in affective, agonistic, performative, insurgent, relational and counter planning approaches, and thus, in the nitty-gritty political, cultural and social nuances of an updated spatial critique of everyday life.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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