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Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy
by Jeff Ferrell
From New York to San Francisco, Times Square to the Tenderloin, graffiti artists, young people, radical environmentalists, and the homeless clash with police on city streets in an attempt take back urban spaces from the developers and "disneyfiers". Drawing on more than a decade of first-hand research, this lively account goes inside the worlds of street musicians, homeles ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 6th 2002 by Palgrave Macmillan
(first published 2001)
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He’s listed as a criminologist on the book’s jacket, which gave me pause, but he’s actually a professor who studies the authorities from an anarchist perspective! Not in this book, though, which is a great read: a personal study of temporary urban shelters, Critical Mass, BASE jumping (weird), pirate radio, graffiti, and how these challenge the increasing control of public space by the private sector/government collaboration of money-making control. Thankfully, Ferrell eschews the typical academ ...more
I first read this book about six years ago, when I was just out of college and living in Utah - and I thought it was incredibly powerful and insightful. After going to grad school and living in Chicago, I picked it up again and was very disappointed by its weak arguments and poor organization. I still agree with the main tenants of the book: that cities should be open, free and centered on authentic human activities. While the first and last chapters of this book offer stirring essays that inspi ...more
I quite enjoyed this book on anarchist practices (as opposed to the many and often warring books on theory) and certain forms of outlaw culture. Bicyclists, graffiti artists, pirate radio operators, all try to redefine public space in the increasing control and privatization of it, and Ferrell tells their stories well and seamlessly weaves his observations about the anarchist sensibilities behind the action. I look forward to reading it again and making use of the copious endnotes.
A great book that explores how people, either individually or in groups, take back, supposedly, public land. The author has a bit of an ego but he covers a wide variety of topics like graffiti artists, buskers, and critical mass bicycling demonstrations.
Jeff Ferrell is Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. His books include Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti and The Politics of Criminology. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.More about Jeff Ferrell...