The conceptualization of justice in urban space: The case of public transport in Brno

Room F
Monday, 31 August 2015
13.00 – 14.45
The Czech Republic, neoliberal capitalism, right to the city, security, spatial justice, transport

The paper seeks to contribute to the discussion of urban process under capitalism, revealing the importance of conceptualization of space as an integral part of any proposal for the remedy of not only spatial, but also social injustice. It deals with theoretical conceptualization of spatial justice primarily based on contemporary reinterpretation of Henri Lefebvre´s writings. It explores the dispute over relationship between the production of social and spatial injustice in the city presented among others by E. Soja and P. Marcuse.  The reason why this relationship should be conceived dialectically – based on the analysis of socio-spatial dialectics – is being argued. The process of producing injustice is being exposed using the specific example of transformation of space: implementation of the so-called „prevention officers" in public transport in the city of Brno, Czech Republic. This example is considered as urban injustice drawn from the normative concepts of right to the city and right to difference. The case study reveals the modes of justification used by the public transport company such as profit increase or security and comfort, claiming to solve the problems with homeless people. Analyzing the way various actors perceive and appropriate transformed space enables to conclude that space is not only produced by social processes, but in turn, reflecting, reproducing or transforming them. In conclusion, the paper raises questions about the potential remedy of injustice by transforming not only social processes (e. g. capitalism), but also spatial relations.

Gaby Khazalová
Masaryk University
Czech Republic
gabykhazalova [at]

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