No future. Punk planning, agonistics, and anarchism

6 April 2019
Presenting at: AAG Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

Don’t be told what you want
Don’t be told what you need
There’s no future
No future
No future for you

(Sex Pistols, 1977)

Top-down vs. bottom-up. Western vs. Eastern. Global North vs. South. These are the usual binary positions from which planning is approached and theorized. Even as planning theory continues the important work of interrogating who is included in their definition of the public, it continues to fail to consider those who are not included and what non-inclusion means for the city. Radicals, discontents, delinquents, undesirables: these are some of the non-public participants, or perhaps more-than-public participants in the city. Planners too easily forget that placemaking can, most frequently does, and historically has occurred through non-rational, non-predictive, non-deliberative, and non-prefigurative actions. While theories such as counterpublics (Fraser, 1990), subcultures (Hebdige, 1979), or undercommons (Moten & Harney, 2013) acknowledge nonconformity to the normative definition of the public culture, they are still etymological prefixed and conceptually predicated on a spatial relationship to the politically-defined plane of the public realm. Beyond binaries, negation is an important space of subversion and difference. One potential dimension through which to consider why and how some of these non-publics are excluded from planning is through their negation of future.

This temporal rather than spatial dimension of exclusion might force planning to confront its privileging of future and those who position themselves relative to (a shared imaginary of) the future; those who are not in the business of imagining and planning for another world of tomorrow, but those who make space for themselves in another’s world everyday (Muñoz, 2006). This paper works through critical auto-ethnography of punk placemaking to consider alternative ways in which what I am calling non-public and more-than-public placemaking position an uncommon commons beyond political constitution of the public and back in the everyday struggles of space, time, and human relationship.

Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy.” Social text 25/26 (1990): 56-80.

Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The meaning of style. Routledge, 1979.

Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. “The undercommons: Fugitive planning and black study.” New York: Minor Compositions (2013).

Muñoz, José Esteban. “Queers, Punks and the Utopian Performative.” The SAGE handbook of performance studies (2006): 9-20.

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