Doreen Massey Lecture

My attempt to send some live updates from this lecture were scuppered by the lack of a mobile broadband connection in the lecture theatre, in the bowels of the Student union at Sheffield University.
I made some notes during the lecture, and these are reproduced below - these are my own notes, and may make no sense, and not be representative of the actual points that Doreen was making. It was a very enjoyable lecture, and had a glass of wine and chat to Margaret Roberts, GA President after the event:

Doreen Massey

Beyond critical: it is possible to make a difference

Voices of places: meanings of place – places as victims of globalisation – social fora: ‘fighting back’ ?

Place can be divisive – requires a boundary: an ‘inside’ & an ‘outside’ – parochialism, and ‘othering’

Identity defined as an antagonistic reaction to the ‘outside’.

Defining means ‘drawing a line’, but doesn’t mean all relations which define a place are antagonistic.

Places can have relations with other which challenge neo-liberalism.

Stories of interdependence: opportunities for radical politics.

3 places:

High North

Images often as ‘victim’ – expansion of Stansted – public enquiry – impacts – connect to Mystery resource

Travelling to develop solidarities against climate change e.g. Many Strong Voices

London: “World City” book

Positioning of London in relation to global forces not correct: responsibility as well as a ‘victim’... Involved in dissemination of neo-lib

Politics of responsibility

Ken Livingstone: discussion – we need to go beyond the place itself...


World map: “I asked for a map with Venezuela on”

Cultural exchange.. Caracas: oil production to London... – used for public transport / reduced fares for people on benefits – in exchange for advice: transport planning, waste disposal, environment - consultancy

Connection made – redistribution of the benefits: a politics of relations – bypasses the market – cooperation rather than competition – small scale: not challenge

Stands for a wider proposition: that there could be alternative forms of globalisation and relationships - had the potential to change the identities of the cities: as ‘equals’ – not the usual binary relationships of local/global – “the global is made in places” “the global is within the place itself” – similar to development of Fairtrade Towns

Can be made powerless and guilty for food we eat and what we wear. Recognition of interdependence as an opportunity.

Conflict in the 2 places: press reaction in Venezuela questioned why ‘poor’ country should give oil to a ‘rich’ city

Care and responsibility starts with the family and works ‘outwards’...

London: criticism in media – “third world” – disrupted identity of London & idea of multicultural city.

To be really ‘loyal’ to a place we need to challenge its current form and ‘renegotiate’ its place – a lot of negotiation because of the ‘thrown-togetherness’/ physical proximity: have established certain ‘rules’ – need to open them up to contest (politics)

Election: Boris Johnson – cancelled the agreement

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez – 1998

2006-7: “A socialism of the 21st Century” – importance of oil: nationalised industry since 1976 – different relation than to the power of finance in the UK – project work : polyclinics, education – also looking to develop links with Cuba, China etc. (Bolivarian revolution) – tried to give more recognition to indigenous people.

Politics beyond place

High north – Alaska – oil production important here too: different position in social conditions: oil companies take profits out of Alaska, and oil prices locally are high / low incomes

Chavez sends heating oil to Alaska: over 150 tribal communities get free heating oil, and 40% discount to everyone

Agreement signed in Kotzebue – George Bush opened up the area for oil exploitation (legislation passed before Obama takes office) – struggle in Sakhalin: oil project – biggest in the world, and contested

Indigenous solidarity or making a political point ? – debate increased awareness of Venezuela – only 4 from over 400 villages said “no”

Historically Venezuela has garage chain in USA – money donated to tribal groups within the USA - annually negotiated – 100 gallons of free oil, and “Citizen’s Energy corporation” – problems with identifying households in Alaska

Not a smooth flow of capital which is how globalisation is often viewed: effort taken to add one extra address to database...

Debate on relations between places: are market relations the only acceptable ones ? Alaska has always been dependent on grants – gifts reinforce a culture of dependency..

Battle against extraction - Map: CASIN, 2005 – NGOs

London: 25% of stock exchange connected with oil & gas – global connections with industry – social activism: Platform – reminding Londoners of relationship between London and other places – link with oil companies – challenging companies’ social license to operate

Wider awareness and “embeddedness” – local not the alternative – changing spaces