Dissertation Talk: "After Revolution: Municipal Encounters and Local Politics in Tunisia" | Lana Salman

Lecture | December 2 | 12:30-2 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall

 Lana Salman, University of California, Berkeley

 Center for Middle Eastern Studies

What do ‘municipal encounters’, everyday encounters between the ‘street’ and the ‘state’, make visible about the democratizing city? The 2011 revolutions which spread across the globe renewed the interest of urban studies scholars in the city as a site of political encounter, insurgency and the formation of urban social movements. An unsettled debate animates this literature: whether contestation of the existing order should be staged from within institutionalized structures or radically outside them, from the street. Through an ethnography of municipal encounters, namely observations of participatory planning meetings in old and newly created municipalities and following the trajectories of poor women who took on debt to build their homes in underserviced popular neighborhoods, Salman argues that after revolution, urban dwellers turned municipalities into capacious and porous entities. As claims-makers, they defy the institutionalization of protest politics while reshaping municipalities into establishments responsive to their own aspirations. When inscribed in the life-worlds of disfranchised urbanites, claims-making shows that the democratization of the city is a financialized and gendered process with contradictory outcomes for institution building.

Lana Salman is a feminist scholar of international development. She is currently a PhD Candidate in City & Regional Planning at the University of California Berkeley with a designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies. Her research focuses on local governance, democratizing politics and the role of international financial institutions in reconfiguring the cities of the Global South. She holds a bachelors of Arts in Economics and a Masters of Urban Planning and Policy from the American University of Beirut. She has conducted research in Lebanon and Tunisia and worked in Djibouti and Morocco. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Lana served as a consultant to the Chief Technical Advisor of the Lebanese Prime Minister, and was an Urban Specialist at the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Urban and Social Development Unit.

 CA, dkhanaka@berkeley.edu