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  Öffentlicher Vortrag | Public Lecture
 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 | 5 p.m.

New Gilded Age in a Broken World? The Super-Rich, Urban Life, and City Politics

Rowland Atkinson, University of Michigan

 


 

 
The extent of social inequalities was well known before the pandemic arrived. Poverty and staggering wealth had already reappeared at levels not seen since the gilded age of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This wealth, and those who wielded it, brought power to craft city settings according to the needs of the rich. Political actors, seeking capital investment and sometimes personal enrichment, declared the rich a mark of the city’s success. Today, as the pandemic eases, we might ask what a social politics of inequality will look like in an apparently “new” urban context that, in reality, contains the same public “bads” that existed before. While a “capture” of the city by the rich will continue, it may be that systemic constraints and public anger propel the taming of wealth. Will an egalitarian enlightenment grow, as some have suggested, or will pro-market orientations prevent a commitment to tackle excessive wealth and increase social investment?

 
Rowland Atkinson is Research Chair in Inclusive Societies at the University of Sheffield. He is an urban sociologist whose work crosses the boundaries of urban and housing studies, sociology, geography and criminology. The central focus of his research is on how social divisions find spatial expression in urban contexts. He is the author, with Sarah Blandy, of Domestic Fortress: Fear and the New Home Front (Manchester University Press) and, with Gareth Millington, Urban Criminology: The city, Disorder, Harm and Social Control (Routledge). His most recent book, Alpha City (Verso, 2020), looks at how the super-rich have co-opted the political and property machine of London.

 
Selected Publications
  • Atkinson, Rowland. 2020. Alpha City: How the Super-rich Captured London. London: Verso.
  • Atkinson, Rowland, and Gareth Millington. 2019. Urban Criminology: The city, crime, disorder and harm. London: Routledge.
  • Atkinson, Rowland. 2016. "Limited Exposure: Social Concealment, Mobility and Engagement with Public Space by the Super-Rich in London." Environment and Planning A 48 (7): 1302–1317.
  • Atkinson, Rowland, Simon Parker, and Roger Burrows. 2017. "Elite Formation, Power and Space in Contemporary London." Theory, Culture and Society, 34, 5, pp. 179-200.
  • Atkinson, Rowland, and Sarah Blandy. 2017. Domestic Fortress: Fear and the New Home Front. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Atkinson, Rowland. 2015. "Urban Policy, City Control and Social Catharsis: The Attack on Social Frailty as Therapy." British Journal of Criminology, 55, 5, pp. 866-882.
  • Atkinson, Rowland, and Gary Bridge (eds.). 2005. The New Urban Colonialism: Gentrification in a Global Context. London: Routledge.
  • Atkinson, Rowland, and John Flint. 2004. "Fortress UK? Gated communities, the spatial revolt of the elites and time-space trajectories of segregation." Housing Studies 19 (6): 875-892.

 
Preparatory reading  

 
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