Control Societies Speaker Series: Elvin Wyly

Hayek in the Cloud: Cognitive Conservatism and the Evolution of the Smart City
Logo of the Control Societies speaker series
09 Apr 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Annenberg School, 3620 Walnut Street, Room 500

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About the Lecture

"Hayek in the Cloud: Cognitive Conservatism and the Evolution of the Smart City"

What is a “smart city”? In contrast to the vast literatures emphasizing new technologies, Wyly suggests that today’s technological disruptions are the culmination of the biological philosophy of Friedrich Hayek. Today’s cosmopolitan world urban system, with its dynamic hierarchies of entrepreneurial informational innovation and promises of politically neutral managerial efficiency, encodes the automated software updates of a dominant but unstable operating system of social and cultural conservatism in Western civilization. Yet conservatism—especially American conservatism—remains ignorant of its own historical contradictions. The planetary urbanization of Hayek’s smart-cities triumph, therefore, promises a transhumanist future of apocalyptic beauty in a robotic seige of the very foundations of cultural conservatism.

About Elvin Wyly

Elvin Wyly is Professor of Geography and Chair of the Urban Studies Coordinating Committee at the University of British Columbia. He studies the relations between market processes and state policy in producing and reinforcing urban social inequalities. His approach blends elements of critical social theory, legal and policy analysis, and multivariate quantitative methods designed to engage state and corporate institutions on their own terrain, with their own data. Current and recent research projects focus on class, racial, and gender discrimination in housing finance in the U.S. urban system; the transformation and financialization of implicit and explicit housing subsidies; the role of transnational financial circuits in the reconfiguration of segregation, displacement, and gentrification; historical and contemporary conflicts between positivist and nonpositivist modes of geographical knowledge production; the quantitative algorithmic evolution of competitive dynamics among and within educational institutions; housing affordability and the evolution of suburban development in Canadian and U.S. cities; the implications of mass social networking for urban and geographical theory; and the cybernetic political epistemologies of resurgent White nationalist racism in Trump’s America.

He has served as Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Urban Geography (2005-2015). Recent publications include “Emplacement and the Dispossessions of Cosmopolitan Capital” (Geoforum), “Gentrification on the Planetary Urban Frontier: The Evolution of Turner’s Noösphere” (Urban Studies), “Make America Housing Great Again” (Housing Policy Debate), and “Planetary Kantsaywhere: Cognitive Capitalist Universities and Accumulation by Cognitive Dispossession” (City).

About Control Societies Speaker Series

Control Societies was started as part of the School of Social Policy & Practice’s initiative on Culture, Society, and Critical Policy Studies in order to feature and engage cutting edge scholarship on the enumerating acts of governmentality in computational culture and the incalculable possibilities of justice. For the 2017/2018 academic year, the School of Social Policy & Practice will continue its speaker series in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication, which produces scholarship on the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of digital information and communication technologies, networks, and systems. Through the speaker series, the organizers aim to explore the philosophical foundations of algorithms, data, and their intersections with governmentality, surveillance, social policy, and the reconfiguring of power relations.

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Additional funding is provided by the Provost Excellence Through Diversity Fund and Price Digital Humanities Lab.

This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also video stream many of these video recordings through the Annenberg web site. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by the Annenberg School for Communication. The Annenberg School for Communication, at its discretion, may provide a copy of the photos/footage upon written request.