Open Space aims to facilitate dialogue between advanced PhD students, early career researchers and academic staff across the School of Environment, Education and Development and the Faculty of Humanities more broadly. The initiative emerged from a dialogue and an initial workshop co-organied by a group of PhD students in 2011, and is facilitated and coordinated by Professor of Human Geography, Maria Kaika. It is funded through the support of cities@manchester.
This event features two speakers:
Melissa García Lamarca (Geography, SEED) - Mortgaging lives: the biopolitics of the housing boom-bust in the Barcelona metropolitan area
During Spain’s third and most extensive real estate boom from 1997-2007, housing prices increased by 220% and 9.4 million mortgages were granted as homeownership came to characterise over 85% of the population. But the boom’s bust has resulted in a housing emergency, with over 415,000 foreclosures and 250,000 evictions since 2008 that leave many families indebted for life. The talk will focus on the role that mortgages have played as a mechanism to regulate and discipline the population, to optimise a state of life where the financialisation of housing is a key engine of urban capital accumulation. This process of accumulation by dispossession at the biological level will be detailed through empirical research uncovering the experience of people with mortgages who are now unable to pay and are struggling for debt forgiveness, highlighting differentials across race and class.
Julie Ann Delos Reyes (Geography, SEED) - Mining Shareholder Value: Financialization, extraction and the geography of gold mining
The ownership and activism of institutional investors (e.g. hedge funds, pension funds) in large publicly-traded mining companies are seen to have re-oriented business strategies towards creating more value for shareholders. This paper examines these strategies in the context of the commodity boom (and bust) of 2003-2013, and the new geographies and political ecologies that they create. A study of the investment patterns and activities of some of the largest Canadian gold mining companies reveal how miners are aligning company operations to satisfy the yield requirements, investment motives and risk tolerance of institutional investors. By prying open the blackbox of corporate activities, the expansion and subsequent contraction of mining activities are shown to have in part been enabled by the investment appetite of a particular class of investors and to have proceeded unevenly, in certain periods deepening the concentration of mining investment in favour of high reserve, low-cost assets located in low-risk, politically stable countries. This makes the case for a more situated analysis of the corporation, a recognised key but understudied actor in political ecology studies.
Open to all postgraduate students.
Refreshments will be provided.