This paper is an introduction to the special issue Contested urban territories: decolonized perspectives. Combining six articles and one interview, we examine how a relational notion of territory, territorialization, and territoriality opens up new grounds for critical urban research. The special issue is an invitation to explore new concepts and engage in a critical reflection on the conditions of knowledge production in urban geography and beyond.
The Latin American debate on territory is observed through the lens of the territorial-peace approach in the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas in 2016. The rural bias of this approach is confronted with territorial peacebuilding in Colombia's second city, Medellín, back in the 1990s. Extending this approach to urban contexts requires distinguishing between territorial peace as a political project and as an unpredictable process of territorialisation.
This article offers an example of how displaced farmers respond to cycles of de-territorialization and re-territorialization under globalization. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with displaced leaders of socio-territorial movements in Medellín, Colombia, I find that leaders understand and practice territorial production as a emotionally charged political process. By foregrounding urban reterritorialization, this study highlights how the migrants create their own spaces of belonging.
This paper analyzes the territorial organizing of two social movements in Greater Buenos Aires, showing how urban struggles produce territory as a key element of their political practice and foreground an alternative to state-centric models of territorial politics. First, unemployed workers’ movements show how the territorial organization of production and reproduction create new social relations, and that an assembly-based solidarity economy market emphasizes the relationality of territory.
In our interview with the Uruguayan researcher, journalist, and activist Raúl Zibechi, we discuss current socioterritorial movements in Latin America and beyond, the emergence of new subjects through practices of territorialization, and links between extractive geographies and the urban context. The interview is part of the theme issue "Contested Urban Territories: Decolonized Perspectives", wherein we examine how a relational notion of territory opens up new grounds for critical urban research.
The subject is the city understood as a lived territory: it develops a theoretical–methodological approach to the sociospatial construction of urban territory. The first part presents the spatial practices and the urban imaginaries. The second part integrates the territorialization of affectivity. The third part considers urban scenarios. Individual topological networks are then incorporated as sequences of urban scenarios, leading on to the crisscrossing of different topological networks.
This paper examines territorial practices of enclosure in the Russian land commune. Using archival research, it explores how the state and territory in the periphery were dialectically co-produced through spatial technologies and public discourses. This work brings a territorial dimension into Russian agrarian scholarship by positioning the imperial rural politics within the context of capitalist land enclosure, thereby introducing complexity into the state-centric Western territory debate.
I will develop a specific definition of territory, which seeks to become operative in collaboration with diverse subjects and in the analysis of territorial development based on the place. I show how this fairer society emerges in a multidimensional way, emanating from the processes of territorialization, deterritorialization, and reterritorialization. Finally, I link these processes with the current processes of territorial development in research, analysis, and active participation.