Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University (www.saskiasassen.com). Her new book is Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press 2014). Recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton University Press 2008), A Sociology of Globalization (W.W.Norton 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2012). Among older books is The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991/2001). Her books are translated into over 20 languages. She has received diverse awards, from multiple doctor honoris causa to being chosen as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in multiple lists. She was awarded the 2013 Principe de Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences and elected to the Netherlands Royal Academy of the Sciences.

The talk is based on Saskia Sassen’s new book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press/Belknap 2014).

The past two decades have seen a sharp growth in the number of people, enterprises, and places expelled from the core social and economic orders of our time. This tipping into radical expulsion was enabled by elementary decisions in some cases, but in others by some of our most advanced economic and technical achievements. Sassen uses the notion of expulsions to go beyond the more familiar notion of growing inequality, and get at some of the more complex pathologies of today’s global capitalism. It brings to the fore the fact that forms of knowledge and intelligence we respect and admire are often at the origin of long transaction chains that can end in simple expulsions. The point of inquiry in this study is the systemic edge --very different from traditional borders. It is the moment when a condition (economic, political, social, environmental) takes on a form and content so extreme it cannot be captured by our standard analytic categories and concepts. 

 

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