chapter  6
17 Pages

As “just” as it gets? The European City in the “Just City” discourse

ByJohannes Novy, Margit Mayer

Recent decades have witnessed profound changes in the way scholars and activists on the left have approached the issue of social justice and the city. Claims for egalitarian redistribution and social reform, once paramount cornerstones of political contestation from the left, have not entirely faded away. But the defeat of “really existing socialism” and the demise of Keynesian social democracy in the face of neoliberal globalization as well as a diffusion of struggles for the “recognition of difference” (Fraser 1995, 2000) have raised doubts about these old and trusted goals on “the left.” Though recognizing gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and even lifestyle as bases of difference, scholars writing from a political-economic perspective have found it increasingly difficult to frame justice in terms of diversity as well as equality, and for this reason have frequently limited themselves to offering critique without formulating specific criteria for what exactly defines social justice or a Just City (see Fainstein 2001: 885).