Simon Springer will give a talk at the University of Wyoming on August 30 at 4:30 in room 210 of the Arts & Sciences Building. I cut-and-paste Simon’s title and abstract below. The talk is supported and co-sponsored by the Department of Geography, the Global and Area Studies Program, and the Political Science Department.
This talk examines the plight of homeless peoples in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as a consequence of their enmeshment in a new ordered logic of urban governance being effected by city officials and municipal planners. The widespread adoption of free market economics has produced conditions of globalized urban entrepreneurialism, from which Phnom Penh is clearly not exempt. The (re)production of cultural spectacles, enterprise zones, waterfront development, and privatized forms of local governance all reflect the powerful disciplinary effects of interurban competition as cities aggressively engage in mutually destructive place-marketing policies. In this regard, this talk examines the ongoing pattern of violence utilized by municipal authorities against homeless peoples in Phnom Penh as part of a gentrifying process that the local government has dubbed a ‘beautification’ agenda. Of particular concern is how city officials have begun actively promoting the criminalization of the urban homeless and poor through arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, holding them in ‘re-education’ or ‘rehabilitation’ centres. Yet these centers are not what they seem, where such euphemisms attempt to mask the systemic abuse of marginalized peoples who are unwanted on the streets of the capital city as they are deemed to present a negative image for Phnom Penh.