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Routledge Law Author of the Month for December 2012

Henri Lefebvre

Our Routledge Law author of the month for December is Chris Butler, author of Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City. Dr. Butler is a lecturer at the Griffith Law School in Australia. Read on for Dr. Butler's explanation of how this book came about.

'This book is the product of my longstanding interest in Henri Lefebvre’s work, which dates back to my reading of a number of key thinkers in the development of critical geography in the early 1990s. These writers included David Harvey, Edward Soja and Mark Gottdiener. As I began to explore this literature, I became aware of the profound influence that Lefebvre has had on the study of space, and more broadly on the development of the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities and social sciences during the last 40 years. This prompted me to think about what could be done to address the apparent absence of any serious engagement with Lefebvre’s writing within legal scholarship.

Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City is the result of this period of research. The book provides an introduction to Lefebvre’s central ideas, including his open and original approach to marxist philosophy, his contribution to the study of the everyday and his theory of the production of space. I have used Lefebvre’s theoretical categories to conceptualise how law and state power are shaped by political struggles over the control and inhabitance of space. As a result, the book makes contributions to ongoing debates over Lefebvre’s work in relation to: the role of law and the state in the production of the ‘abstract space’ of contemporary capitalism, the politics and esthetics of everyday life and the utopian implications for new forms of spatial ordering that are inherent in his concept of the ‘right to the city’. In the book, I have tried to demonstrate why I have found continuing inspiration from Lefebvre’s refusal to lapse into reductionist modes of explanation and his enthusiasm for the emancipatory possibilities which lie in our capacities to remake the spaces of everyday life.

In a global political environment where both the destructive power of neoliberalism and the bankruptcy of social democracy are increasingly apparent, Lefebvre’s thought has as much academic and practical relevance today as it did during the events of May ’68. I hope this book will stimulate further interest in his work amongst scholars investigating:

i. the spatial dimensions of legal and administrative power,
ii. contemporary struggles for the construction of new forms of spatial justice, and
iii. the emergence of radical political movements and participatory models of decision-making.'

Chris Butler

Related Products

  1. Henri Lefebvre

    Spatial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City

    By Chris Butler

    Series: Nomikoi Critical Legal Thinkers

    While certain aspects of Henri Lefebvre’s writings have been examined extensively within the disciplines of geography, social theory, urban planning and cultural studies, there has been no comprehensive consideration of his work within legal studies. Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life...

    Published August 2nd 2012 by Routledge-Cavendish