March 30: Adrift in the City: Anarchy, Order, and Spatial Imagination

Adrift in the City: Anarchy, Order, and Spatial Imagination

Jeff Ferrell
Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Texas Christian University 

The City Talks: Adift in the City: Anarchy, Order, and Spatial Imagination


Cities in North America, Europe and elsewhere today find themselves awash in drifters of all sorts: homeless populations, immigrants and refugees, peripatetic part-time workers, gutter punks and nocturnal graffiti writers. In many of these cities, a particular irony is in operation: emerging consumerist economies and new forms of policing serve to cast and keep such groups adrift, while at the same time seeking to erase drifters from public space and public consciousness. Yet those adrift are not passive victims of these circumstances; individually and collectively, they engage in alternative, often anarchic spatial practices and develop subversive understandings of urban life. The contested place of drifters in the urban environment in this way reflects a larger conflict over the meaning of city life itself, and a fundamental battle over anarchy, order, and spatial imagination

Jeff Ferrell is Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, USA, and Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent, UK. He is author of the books Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets, Empire of Scrounge, and, with Keith Hayward and Jock Young, the first and second editions of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation, winner of the 2009 Distinguished Book Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of International Criminology. He is co-editor of the books Cultural Criminology, Ethnography at the Edge, Making Trouble, Cultural Criminology Unleashed, and Cultural Criminology: Theories of Crime. Jeff Ferrell is founding and current editor of the New York University Press book series Alternative Criminology, and one of the founding editors of Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, winner of the ALPSP 2006 Charlesworth Award for Best New Journal. In 1998 Ferrell received the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award from the Critical Criminology Division of the American Society of Criminology. He is currently completing a book on drift and drifters for University of California Press.

This City Talk was co-sponsored by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union through the Jean Monnet EU Centre of Excellence at the University of Victoria.

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