PhD Candidate, University of Oregon
Alex Farrington is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Oregon. Broadly, he is interested in the ways in which local communities engage in self-organization and direct action to grapple with social problems that the state has failed or refused to solve (e.g. housing precarity and police violence). His current research examines the production of community-controlled housing alternatives in the United States, including community land trusts and autonomous homeless villages. His work sits at the intersection of radical political thought, housing politics, and urban studies. Alex is a passionate educator who believes strongly in participatory modes of pedagogy.
REORIENTING THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE: RHYTHMANALYSIS, DESIRE, AND THE SIEGE OF THE THIRD PRECINCT IN MINNEAPOLIS
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (2020) https://doi.org/10.1177/2399654420970948
Whenever scholars inquire into the relationship between space and power, you can almost invariably find a reference to Henri Lefebvre. However, his initial popularization by David Harvey involved an overemphasis on the political-economic dimensions of his work. This article revisits The Production of Space to show that Lefebvre considered rhythmanalysis – and not a political economy of space – as the ideal method for transforming space and everyday life. Lefebvre argues that a more embodied and intimate knowledge of spatial rhythms can inform the appropriation of space by its everyday inhabitants, in opposition to capital and state power. To demonstrate the radical political potential of rhythmanalysis, I follow my reading of The Production of Space with an examination of “The Siege of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis,” a rhythmanalytic account of the recent Minneapolis uprising. This account, which was circulated online to share tactical insights with other protesters, evokes a number of new avenues for rhythmanalytic research.
REAPPROPRIATING PROPERTY: THE PRODUCTION OF COMMUNITY-CONTROLLED HOUSING ALTERNATIVES IN THE UNITED STATES
My dissertation project analyzes two cases in which local communities developed their own grassroots housing alternatives in the face of severe housing precarity. I examine the creation of the first community land trust by civil rights activists in Georgia in 1969 and the creation of Dignity Village – one of the first self-managed transitional villages for the unhoused – in Portland in 2001. I then trace how these alternatives have spread and evolved, both through translocal social movement networks and through the state’s partial formalization of these new housing models. For each case, I draw on local government archives, local news coverage, written accounts by community organizers, open-ended interviews with key actors, and participant-observation in contemporary organizing meetings
INSURGENT PLANNING AND FLEXIBLE FRAGMENTATION: THE FIGHT FOR AUTONOMOUS HOUSELESS VILLAGES IN PORTLAND AND MIAMI
This paper contributes to recent literature on insurgent planning and insurgent citizenship by examining the grassroots movements for autonomous houseless villages in Portland and Miami. Drawing on fieldwork, interviews, and archival research, I trace how organizers for Dignity Village in Portland and Take Back the Land in Miami managed to act strategically in relation to city officials while still retaining the autonomy of their broader movements. When faced with new invitations for formalization, both movements faced internal tension over the dangers of cooptation and de-radicalization. But rather than accept a binary choice between the formalization of their gains and the ability to continue their insurgency, these movements were able to do both simultaneously through a process I label flexible fragmentation.
MARX AND RADICAL THOUGHT
University of Oregon
Recently, Marxism and anarchism have been the target of much ire by both the Trump administration and its supporters. But what exactly are these movements? What are their connection to contemporary politics? This class explores key thinkers, debates, and movements within Marxism, anarchism, and related currents of radical thought. It covers foundational texts by Marx, examines the historical origins of (and key differences between) the Marxist and anarchist traditions, and explores some of the intellectual legacies of these traditions (e.g. critical theory and critical geography). It also explores the intersections of race, gender, and colonialism within radical thought and analyzes a diverse sample of radical movements from around the world.
SPATIAL POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES
Summer Enrichment Program, Oak Hill School
This course provides an introduction to spatial politics – with a focus on the control of land and housing – in the United States. The first module introduces theoretical questions and concepts for the course, highlights major historical trends in the spatial and urban development of the United States, and reviews some of the major problems and contestations over space today. The second module compares three different approaches to dealing with spatial dilemmas: privatization and markets, public control, and grassroots organizing by local communities and activists.
833 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall
Department of Political Science
1284 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1284