Thursday, January 29, 2015

#ALISE2015 : Dr. Saskia Sassen - Keynote address

This was a tough talk to take notes on, because it was hard for me to capture her concepts.  She is fascinating and her thoughts are indeed important.

Title - "The Larger Ecologies of Meaning with Which We Use Technology and Experience Globalization"

She began by saying that there is no conclusion to her talk.  

What happens when stabilized categories - like the middle class - become unstable?

Analytic tactics
  • Destabilizing stable meanings
  • Into the shadows of powerful explanations - what don't I see when I evoke a powerful explanation?
  • When territory exits conventional framing: it becomes institutionally mobile, nomadic and can alter the meaning
    • Territory is a complex and partially material 
    • Territory is a window onto for forms of power, etc.
  • The Making of it all - "making" is a tool
We make inequality.  We make injustice.

What is the "steam engine" of our epoch?  It is the financializing of everything.  A traditional bank deals with money.  Finance does not.

2006-2013 - 14 million households lost their homes through foreclosures. 

A city is a complex and incomplete structure.  There is a profound de-urbanizing. 

Sassen talks about money, funding and GDP - the impact of finance on cities and countries is complex, yet her explanations demonstrate the the problems that are occurring.

Many of our global governments are getting poorer.  

In the U.S., over 30 years, the bottom and middle fifth of the population had no increase in after-tax income by percentage change.

Industrial crops (biofuels) vs. Food crops - I had not thought of the difference and what that means for those that live near it.
"A hidden world, growing beyond control" (surveillance)
Countries do not their citizens and have also ignored their citizens.  Because they have ignored their citizens, people are angry which also means that the countries need to be cautious of them.
The notion of membership - country membership - needs to be taken seriously.
A powerful system will abuse its own power.
Zero interest rates destroyed small, local banks and many credit unions.
The corporatizing of the economy.
Her interest is in decoding what is happening.

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