Bio-Gentrification: Vulnerability Bio-Value Chains in Gentrifying Neighbourhoods

September 16, 2015  • Posted in Member Publications  •  0 Comments

Karen Bridget Murray, York University, Department of Political Science

This paper develops the concept of “bio-gentrification” as a way to broaden critical theoretical debates on the relationship between gentrification and “social mixing” policies. Bio-gentrification weds urban Marxist political economic insights to the neo-Foucaultian notion of biopower. The former stresses spatial tactics of removal and displacement and value generated through land and property. The latter assesses a wider terrain of spatial tactics, their relationship to knowledge produced about humans as living beings, and their alignment with capitalist urbanization. The Vancouver example illuminates how social mixing “truths” and the practices to which they are tied generate value by naturalizing human insecurity in situ and turning the biological existence of disadvantaged peoples, and specifically “vulnerable populations,” into raw material for profit through, what this paper refers to as, a “vulnerability bio-value chain.” Bio-gentrification highlights the tension between removal and embedding of disadvantaged peoples and points to the need for a bio-gentrification politics that addresses this dynamic.

Download the PDF

Leave a Reply