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Seriality and invitation : knowing and struggle in Vancouver Chinatown's Historic Area Height Review Murray, Kate M. 2017

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SERIALITY AND INVITATION:  KNOWING AND STRUGGLE IN VANCOUVER CHINATOWN’S  HISTORIC AREA HEIGHT REVIEW by  Kate M. Murray B.A., University of Waterloo, 2001 M.S.W., Carleton University, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Social Work)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  October 2017  © Kate M. Murray, 2017 ii  Abstract  In this project, I explore the 2011 Historic Area Height Review (HAHR) public hearings in light of questions of knowing-in-struggle. At issue in the hearings, were proposals to increase building heights in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood. As a participant, I perceived that this site of public debate also reflected broader tensions that recur within discursive dynamics of social struggle, especially in relation to meanings of development. Here, I develop an activist approach to thinking through such encounters. Participants on all sides of the HAHR debate conveyed Chinatown as a neighbourhood in crisis. However, when it came to interpreting neighbourhood changes and questions of how to save Chinatown, speakers expressed divergent understandings and even contradicting realities. My inquiry treats these disjunctures as entry points for a series of analytical movements towards the material, social, existential and historical dynamics through which these clashing public knowledges have emerged and are sustained. To do so, I especially draw on the Marxist-existentialist work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Paula Allman’s elaboration of Freire’s dialogical pedagogy, Dorothy Smith’s institutional ethnography and David Harvey’s work. Through this exploration, I find that divergent reports of neighbourhood change make sense when explored as accounts of complex, speculative capitalist urban development. My analysis further underscores disjunctures wherein institutional texts and policies ostensibly represent but largely misrepresent and overwrite residents’ lived experiences of (un)affordability. I trace an existential dimension of hearing debate which evokes the reversal of subject and object and relations of hostile dehumanization apparent in Sartre’s theorization of seriality. My historicized reading of discourses of Chinatown as distinct, as Chinese and as neglected potential iii  highlights their historical instrumentality within a recurring conceptual-material dialectic of colonization-marginalization and resistance. I reconsider HAHR process to explore how, given mounting development pressure and a narrow planning focus on “height,” the social welfare concerns—and the involvement—of low-income residents were gradually rendered external to the HAHR decision. My analysis thus suggests how relations of colonization-marginalization and resistance are ongoing in the context of the HAHR, and makes a contribution towards elucidating the terrain upon which local practices of justice-oriented pedagogy, organizing and “invitation” must be pursued. iv  Lay Summary  In this project, I explore the 2011 Historic Area Height Review (HAHR) public hearings in light of questions of knowing-in-struggle. At issue in the hearings, were proposals to increase building heights in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood. As a participant, I perceived that this site of public debate also reflected broader tensions that recur within discursive dynamics of social struggle, especially in relation to meanings of development. I develop an activist approach to thinking through such encounters, using the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Paula Allman, Dorothy Smith and David Harvey. Participants on all sides of the HAHR debate conveyed Chinatown as a neighbourhood in crisis. However, when it came to interpreting neighbourhood changes and questions of how to save Chinatown, speakers expressed divergent understandings and even contradicting realities. My inquiry shows how this array of clashing truths can be unpacked in layers of material and economic dynamics, history, experience and creative practice.   v  Preface  This dissertation reflects the original intellectual work of the author, Kate. M. Murray. Some aspects of the theoretical and conceptual framework used in this project have been published as Murray, K. (2013). “They Were Aware”: Activist ‘Invitation’ and Knowing as Praxis. In C. Kawalilak, & J. Groen (Eds.), Proceedings of the Canadian Association for Studies in Adult Education (CASAE-ACÉÉA) National Conference (pp. 406-414). Victoria, BC: CASAE. I conducted all of the writing and analysis for this paper.  A brief overview of this project has also been published as Murray, K.M. (2016). Fight the Height! The Historic Area Height Review and Knowing in Social Struggle. In L. Lane, & R. McGray (Eds.), Proceedings of the Canadian Association for Studies in Adult Education (CASAE-ACÉÉA) National Conference (pp. 242-248). Calgary, AB: CASAE. I conducted all of the writing and analysis for this paper. This thesis contains words from spoken presentations as transcribed (by me and by a paid transcriber) from audio-visual recordings to which the City of Vancouver holds the copyright. The Terms of Use for these recordings can be found on the City’s website at: http://vancouver.ca/your-government/terms-of-use.aspx.   vi  Table of Contents  Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Lay Summary ............................................................................................................................... iv Preface .............................................................................................................................................v Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures .............................................................................................................................. xii List of Abbreviations ................................................................................................................. xiii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................... xiv Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xvi Chapter 1: “Fight the Height!” The Historic Area Height Review and Knowing in Social Struggle ...........................................................................................................................................1 1.1 Fight the Height! ................................................................................................................ 1 1.1.1 The HAHR hearings: A story of arrival ....................................................................... 2 1.2 Activist Knowing-in-Struggle as Invitation: Recurring Tensions ..................................... 6 1.2.1 Analysis and awareness-raising: Activism as public pedagogy ................................... 7 1.2.2 Dominant discourses and counter-narratives: Discursive dynamics of struggle ......... 8 1.2.3 “Understand… and act with us”: Invitational pedagogy ........................................... 10 1.2.4 Tensions of invitation: Connection and disconnect, possibility and implausibility .. 12 1.3 Invitation as Inquiry: Working-out an Approach to Critical Learning-in-Struggle ........ 16 1.3.1 Research problematic and research questions ............................................................ 18 1.3.2 Inquiry as a theorized return to the hearings .............................................................. 19 1.4 Vancouver Chinatown and the Historic Area Height Review (HAHR) .......................... 25 vii  1.4.1 Background and context............................................................................................. 25 1.4.2 Phases of the HAHR .................................................................................................. 32 1.5 The Hearings Begin ......................................................................................................... 37 1.5.1 Addendum to a struggle ............................................................................................. 40 1.6 What Follows ................................................................................................................... 42 Chapter 2: Towards Knowing-in-Struggle as Invitation: A Historical, Material, Dialectical and Dialogical Approach .............................................................................................................44 2.1 The ‘Is’ and the ‘Ought’: Critical, Dialectical Theories of Knowing-in-Struggle .......... 44 2.2 Philosophical Foundations: Grasping Praxis and the Twin Possibilities of Being .......... 46 2.2.1 Sartre and being-in-scarcity: The materiality of domination ..................................... 49 2.2.2 The materiality of place: Attention to space, time and flow ...................................... 52 2.3 Pursuing Invitation: Conceptualizing the Twin Possibilities of Knowing-in-Struggle ... 54 2.3.1 Serial knowing: Sartre’s analytic reason and Allman’s reproductive praxis ............. 55 2.3.1.1 Ideology as practice: Ideological knowing ......................................................... 57 2.3.1.2 Reification and alterity: Analytic thinking and double learning ......................... 58 2.3.2 From serial knowing to critical intersubjective learning-in-struggle ......................... 62 2.3.2.1 Theorizing transformed being and knowing: Collective and dialogical praxis .. 63 2.3.2.2 A historical, material orientation to dialectical critique and future possibility ... 65 2.3.2.3 Knowing together in difference and struggle ...................................................... 68 Chapter 3: Projecting Possibility: Working out Critical, Dialectical, Dialogical Inquiry-in-Struggle .........................................................................................................................................72 3.1 Orientations to Inquiry: Standpoint, Problematic, Struggle Knowledge and Possibility 72 3.1.1 Inquiry as grounded in standpoint .............................................................................. 73 viii  3.1.2 Taking sides: The problematic as a recurring puzzle for someone ............................ 74 3.1.3 The hearings as a moment in the ongoing local production of struggle knowledge .. 76 3.1.4 Possibility: Inquiry as a future-oriented project ......................................................... 77 3.2 Practices of Inquiry: Documenting, Explicating, Excavating and Curating .................... 78 3.2.1 Documenting: Representing the hearings in text ....................................................... 78 3.2.2 Explicating: Unfolding the hearings’ praxes of knowing .......................................... 82 3.2.2.1 Holding my attention to practice ......................................................................... 84 3.2.2.2 Elucidating disjunctures as a point of entry ........................................................ 86 3.2.3 Excavation: Many viewpoints as windows into a complex of relations .................... 87 3.2.3.1 Problematics as rooted in intersubjectivity ......................................................... 88 3.2.3.2 Something underneath: Digging from local to translocal ................................... 88 3.2.4 Curating: Articulating a multi-dimensional analysis ................................................. 89 3.2.4.1 A layered exposition ........................................................................................... 91 Chapter 4: What’s Going on in Chinatown? Material Contradictions of Place ....................93 4.1 “The Same Facts … Polar Opposite Outlooks”: Contradictory Truths ........................... 93 4.2 Grasping Chinatown’s Contradicting Truths: Space, Time and Singularity ................... 97 4.2.1 A situated reading: The speculative dynamics of urban development ....................... 97 4.3 Tensions of Chinatown as Place: Monopoly, Pressure, Uniqueness and Tradability ... 107 4.3.1 “We need help for sure”: The competitive pressures of highest and best use ......... 109 4.3.2 “Irony of capitalist interests”: Managing uniqueness and tradability ...................... 117 4.4 “Spotlight on Civic Leadership”: Creative Destruction and the Entrepreneurial We ... 122 4.4.1 Creative destruction ................................................................................................. 126  ix  Chapter 5: Bordering, Labelling, Bridging: Interrogating Knowing as Practice ...............130 5.1 “Where Those Lines are Currently”: Chinatown as Protected Space............................ 130 5.1.1 “What about the other 4,498?” Relational critiques ................................................ 134 5.1.1.1 Absent spaces .................................................................................................... 135 5.1.1.2 Markets as shifting ground................................................................................ 138 5.1.2 “More people, more business”: The questionable promise of commercial mix ...... 139 5.2 “Empty Words”: Chinatown on Paper and on the Ground ............................................ 143 5.2.1 “There are conversion controls… in place”: Policy-based promises and critiques . 145 5.2.1.1 “Replacement,” rent increases and renoviction ................................................ 148 5.2.2 “That’s the displacement you label revitalization”: The politics of knowing .......... 152 5.2.2.1 Misrepresentation .............................................................................................. 152 5.2.2.2 Ideological bridging .......................................................................................... 157 5.2.2.3 Trumping: Ideology as lived ............................................................................. 162 Chapter 6: Dead? Or Alive? Social Mix, Seriality and Mixing-Up People and Things ......166 6.1 Dead? Or Alive? Chinatown as People and Things....................................................... 166 6.1.1 Vitality and the money-go-round flow of social mix: A “win-win situation” ......... 169 6.2 Being in Social Mix: Reversals and Reification ............................................................ 172 6.2.1 Neighbourhood “vitality”: reversals ........................................................................ 172 6.2.2 Neighbourhood ‘balance’: Reifying discourses ....................................................... 174 6.3 Missing / in Action: Narratives of Subjectivity ............................................................. 179 6.3.1 “Times change” and “the streets are quiet”: Agentless change, lifeless inaction .... 180 6.3.2 Subjectivity gone missing ........................................................................................ 184 6.3.3 Ghosting ................................................................................................................... 187 x  6.4 Scarcity, Seriality, Hostility ........................................................................................... 188 6.5 Property Relations and the (Re)production of Space .................................................... 192 6.5.1 “Revitalization for who?” Zones of Exclusion ........................................................ 193 6.5.2 Preserved buildings as lost community .................................................................... 197 6.6 “Condos are Killing Us”: Representing Violence ......................................................... 201 6.7 Inversions and Ironies .................................................................................................... 206 Chapter 7: Historicizing Place: Reading Colonization-Marginalization and Resistance ...212 7.1 Narratives of Place: Chinatown as Distinct, as Chinese and as Neglected ................... 213 7.2 Making Chinatown Distinct, Chinese and Neglected: Tracing Colonization-Marginalization and Resistance .............................................................................................. 216 7.2.1 Mapping “empty” potential and distinctly white space: Making property .............. 217 7.2.2 Distinguishing Chinese space: Marginalization and collective resilience ............... 222 7.2.3 Race and space in flux ............................................................................................. 227 7.2.4 Constructing neglect and potential: Slumming, renewal and the freeway struggle . 230 7.2.5 Distinguishing potentials: Designation, devolution and abandonment .................... 237 7.3 Complicating Truths of Chinatown as Place ................................................................. 242 7.3.1 Exclusion and designation: The twin edges of distinct space .................................. 243 7.3.2 Unpacking preservation: Chinese space as commodity, as Other, as erasure? ........ 248 7.3.3 Masking marginalization: Emptying, mix and neglected potential ......................... 254 7.3.4 Alternative histories of place: Sanctuary and capacity ............................................ 259 Chapter 8: Doing Community: Crisis, Consultation and the Not .........................................262 8.1 Dual Realities: “The Chinatown Community has Spoken” | “I Was Not Consulted” ... 262 8.2 Alternate Histories: Reading Colonizing Logic ............................................................ 266 xi  8.2.1 Derailment: “Discontinuities” .................................................................................. 267 8.2.2 Hijacking: A “new normal” ..................................................................................... 269 8.2.3 Colonization by crisis............................................................................................... 276 8.3 Incremental Deferral: Marginalization as Not Doing .................................................... 277 8.3.1 “Height, not use”: Deferral in time .......................................................................... 278 8.3.2 Mediating uniqueness and tradability: Deferral in space ......................................... 283 8.3.3 ‘Deferral’ as trade-off .............................................................................................. 285 8.4 Doing Community: A Decade of Process ...................................................................... 289 8.4.1 Engagement “in parallel” ......................................................................................... 289 8.4.2 Consultation in the HAHR ....................................................................................... 291 8.4.3 “In times of crisis”: Community as driven ............................................................... 299 8.5 Doing Community in the HAHR Hearings: Outsiders and Misinformation ................. 302 8.5.1 Following “community” around: Narratives of Chinatown as people ..................... 302 8.5.2 “The boundaries of community”: Outsider knowledge ........................................... 308 8.5.3 Misunderstanding and misinformation: Fixations and silences ............................... 315 8.5.3.1 Representing community .................................................................................. 317 Chapter 9: A Return to Invitation ............................................................................................324 9.1 From Parallel Worlds to Knowing Together ................................................................. 325 9.1.1 Towards knowing together in struggle..................................................................... 329 9.2 Knowing as Erasure and Smoothing.............................................................................. 333 9.3 An Ongoing Dialectic: Colonization, Marginalization and Resistance ......................... 339 9.3.1 Forging resistance through shared projects .............................................................. 344 Reference List .............................................................................................................................350 xii  List of Figures  Figure 1.1 Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods. ......................................................................... 26 Figure 1.2 Historic Area Height Review study boundary with planning sub-areas. .................... 29 Figure 1.3 Recommended Main Street sub-area for additional higher building sites in HA1A (Chinatown South) and possible higher building sites for approximately 150 feet. ..................... 34 Figure 6.1 DNC Fight the Height poster. .................................................................................... 202   xiii  List of Abbreviations  ALR Agricultural Land Reserve BIA  Business Improvement Association CAC Community Amenity Contribution CBA Chinese Benevolent Association CCAP  Carnegie Community Action Project CSHBA Chinatown Society Heritage Buildings Association DERA Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association DNC Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council DEOD  Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District DTES Downtown Eastside HAHR Historic Area Height Review HPHS Historic Precinct Height Study SIS  Social Impact Study SPOTA Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants’ Association SRO Single Resident Occupancy SRA Single Resident Accommodation UDI Urban Development Institute VA Vancouver Agreement VANDU Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users VCRC Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee VTS Vancouver Transportation Study xiv  Acknowledgements  I currently live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples— xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. In the time I have spent working on this project, I have learned enormously from the communities and individuals engaged in local anti-colonial organizing work and I’m very grateful for that ongoing learning.  This project has been enabled and enriched by the contributions of my supervisory committee members. Dr. Frank Tester has provided ongoing support and important guidance particularly in relation to many of the theoretical complexities I engage in this work. His editorial feedback has also been invaluable. Dr. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá has been extremely generous with her time and support, and I am immensely grateful for her close scrutiny of earlier drafts. Dr. Shauna Butterwick has likewise offered much-needed encouragement at critical junctures and has inspired me through her insightful and passionate engagement with my work. I also wish to thank the members of my examining committee, Dr. Dorothy Kidd, Dr. Henry Yu, and Dr. Penny Gurstein, whose thoughtful critical readings of my manuscript have deepened my appreciation of theoretical and methodological considerations relating to public knowing. I will carry forward this important learning in my future work. I am indebted to Amanda Bidnall for her considerate and careful editing work and to Mary Fowles for her transcription of many hours of hearing debate. The initial theoretical work for this project was supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, for which I’m very grateful.  This project has entailed many challenging twists, turns and exploratory sidetrips, and one needs a great deal of support on such a winding journey. I have benefited from the xv  continuous loving encouragement offered by many wonderful friends; although I cannot name them all here, I am profoundly grateful for their supportive presence in my life. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Robin Bajer, Amanda Rnic, Mali Bain, Cathy Mills, Vanessa Brcic, Mary Fowles, Sarah Dobson, Magali Forte, Kate Parizeau, François Clark, Tamara Herman, Erica McCollum and Erica Jeffery whose willingness to cultivate supportive co-working space has been an inestimable help in sustaining my work on this project. During various phases of this project, my thinking has benefited immensely from thoughtful and clarifying perspectives offered in conversations with Dr. Joanna Reid, Mali Bain, Dr. Kate Parizeau, Dr. Sarah Todd and Dr. Noah Quastel. I wish to thank them for so generously sharing their time and insight. Joanna Reid deserves special mention for her unending encouragement and crucial advice regarding questions of process. Thank you also to my parents and members of my (Belcher and Murray) families for a lifetime of love and fun together. Of course, I wish to express my deepest love and gratitude to my husband, Ken, without whose extraordinary patience, material support, household labour and unending energetic companionship, this project would have been impossible. Finally, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the many individuals and groups who participated in the HAHR hearings, and to those whose tireless community work in Chinatown, the Downtown Eastside and across Vancouver continues to advance possibilities for a more just and humane world.    xvi  Dedication  For Jane, who was fierce in her love of social justice.   1  Chapter 1: “Fight the Height!” The Historic Area Height Review and Knowing in Social Struggle  Every research project has a story, which is the story of an arrival. (Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life, p. 2)  1.1 Fight the Height! On the evening of March 17, 2011, around 7:30 p.m., I stepped off an elevator onto the crowded third floor of Vancouver City Hall. The large foyer outside Council Chambers was buzzing with activity; some 200 people had turned out for the evening’s proceedings, a City Council meeting that was to be the first in a series of public hearings about a planning study: The Historic Area Height Review (HAHR).  Earlier that evening, some residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood, along with allies, held a rally outside City Hall to express opposition to the HAHR policy proposals. The rally featured speakers and drumming; members of the crowd had hand-painted signs with phrases such as “No Condos in Chinatown,” “Fight the Height” and “Social Housing Not Condos.” Later, the DTES contingent arrived to find the public seating in Council Chambers occupied by delegates who had come, instead, to express support for the Height Review proposals. Many of these HAHR supporters wore matching red t-shirts and were accompanied by a giant panda mascot. Accounts of the meeting describe some tense interactions over seating for neighbourhood elders. After negotiations, some City staff members and HAHR supporters gave up their places so that individuals on both sides of the issue could be seated in Council Chambers. Later, as I entered the crowded foyer, I was struck by the visible lines of division in the room. Because there were many more attendees than could be accommodated in Council 2  Chambers, many attendees from both groups were now seated in overflow seating; rows of chairs that had been set up in the foyer. One side of a centre aisle appeared as a sea of red t-shirts worn by HAHR supporters, while across the aisle was an array of DTES residents and allies with their backpacks and protest signs.  1.1.1 The HAHR hearings: A story of arrival I had come to City Hall that evening not to study the proceedings as a researcher but to participate as a speaker; and this way I arrived at the HAHR hearings shaped how I have approached and presented this inquiry. In this project, I treat the HAHR hearings as a specific moment within a much longer and broader context of local social justice organizing and advocacy. I return to explore the hearings in light of my theorized and practical engagements with questions of “knowing-in-struggle.” I develop a philosophical, practical and conceptual orientation to working through such encounters of knowing. My analysis explores whether this approach helps to elucidate possibilities associated with what I describe in terms of justice-oriented “invitation.” In this chapter, I locate my project in relation to a broader field of practical and theoretical tensions that can be read across multiple contexts of justice-oriented knowing-in-struggle. In the second half of the chapter, I provide more detail about the HAHR hearings. The focus of the HAHR hearings was a series of bylaw amendments and policy changes laid out in a City of Vancouver report entitled Historic Area Height Review: Policy Implementation. The report, prepared by the City of Vancouver’s Planning Department and published in December of 2010, recommended allowing increased building heights in the 3  historic neighbourhood of Chinatown.1 At the time of the 2011 HAHR hearings, the permitted building height in Chinatown was set at 65 to 70 feet (approximately six or seven storeys). The zoning bylaw changes proposed in the HAHR Implementation report would, among other things, increase outright allowable heights in Chinatown to 75 feet in the northern (HA1) sub-district, and 90 feet in the southern (HA1A) sub-district. The changes would also provide for the possibility for rezoning up to 120 or 150 feet (approximately 12 or 15 storeys) on specific sites in the Chinatown South (HA1A) sub-district.2  Additional proposed recommendations related to the City of Vancouver’s Transfer of Density program. This allows landowners to transfer or sell unused density3 from one (donor) site or builder to another (receiving or “landing”) site, in exchange for the donor landowner providing certain public goods, usually, the preservation of heritage buildings located on that property. While existing City policy allowed this “bonus” density to be transferred out of—but not into—the heritage district of Chinatown, recommendations contained in the HAHR Implementation report would permit this bonus density to be transferred into or within the Chinatown sub-district HA1A (Chinatown South). An earlier January 2010 HAHR report offered rationale for these proposed changes: “The HAHR explores the need for an intricate balance between providing opportunities for additional growth and necessary public benefits, while also                                                  1 In Canadian law, land use control is a provincial responsibility generally delegated to municipalities; through zoning policy, building uses and forms are subject to municipal regulation. 2 Through rezoning provisions, developers can apply to the City on a project-by-project basis to be allowed to exceed the outright permitted heights and to build instead to the taller rezoning height. In the event of a rezoning, the applicant must pay Community Amenity Contributions (CACs): monetary or in-kind resources used by the City to fund community infrastructure such as parks, libraries, childcare centres, community and cultural facilities, and transportation services (see City of Vancouver, n.d.-a). 3 Put simply: the difference between the most space-intensive (or, dense) development permitted on a given site and what is actually built on that site. 4  maintaining and preserving the historical and cultural values that we, as Vancouverites, have maintained over time” (Director of Planning, 2010a, p. 18). I first learned about the HAHR hearings from the Carnegie Community Action Committee (CCAP), a neighbourhood organization that undertakes research, organizing and advocacy activities centred on the aspirations of low-income residents in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The DTES is a neighbourhood well-known and politicized as Canada’s “poorest [urban] postal code.” Much of CCAP’s work focuses on issues of housing, income, healthcare, involuntary displacement, community control over development, rights to dignity and autonomy and recognition of the national, territorial and cultural rights of Indigenous peoples. Although I did not live in Chinatown or a surrounding part of the Downtown Eastside, my own neighbourhood was not far away. In the years leading up to the hearings I had become increasingly aware of visible changes in the DTES and reports of escalating rents that threatened housing affordability in this extremely vulnerable neighbourhood.  Beginning in December 2010, I had received a series of emails from CCAP requesting that supporters attend a meeting at City Hall, to speak in opposition to the HAHR study’s proposals. Among other activities, CCAP undertakes yearly Hotel Report research to monitor rents in the Downtown Eastside’s many run-down Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings whose tiny rooming house and hotel-style rooms are often described as the last stop before homelessness. For years, this research had shown a steady decline in the number of DTES rooms renting at welfare rates. CCAP had been one of the community groups included in the City’s HAHR consultation process, and had thus received an advanced copy of the study’s recommendations. In the emails I received, CCAP highlighted concerns that the HAHR proposals would accelerate the kinds of development activities (especially high-end 5  condominium development) that were displacing low-income residents from neighbourhood housing and public spaces. On January 20, 2011, City Council voted to refer Chinatown-related portions of the HAHR proposals to a series of public hearings that would begin in March. Within public hearings processes, members of the public can present comments and concerns relating to the merits of a proposed zoning bylaw change and councillors are expected to enact quasi-judicial practices of procedural fairness and impartiality.4 Such hearings are among the final steps required to enact the zoning and bylaw amendments as law. I was aware of the historical patterns of vulnerability and displacement experienced by many residents of the Downtown Eastside and shared the social justice concerns expressed by CCAP. I registered to speak at the HAHR hearings as a neighbour and supporter of these low-income community concerns. In this thesis, I explore the HAHR public hearings as a clash of knowing constituted by this local moment of social struggle. In expressing opposition to the HAHR proposals, Downtown Eastside residents, activists and allies put forward justice-oriented assertions and analyses, drawing on experiences and research, formal and informal knowledge. These practices of knowing were met with counterpoints put forward in the course of arguments that the HAHR should be approved. HAHR supporters often presented different facts, perspectives and conclusions about what was going on in the neighbourhood and what needed to be done. Presentations by both groups also met with questions and/or responses from councillors. Sometimes, City planners added clarifications or comments, adding a further dimension to the multifaceted interchange about questions of development.                                                   4 Per British Columbia’s Local Government Act (see Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), 2014). 6  Hearing presentations ranged from formal to informal and reflected an array of knowledges that seemed variously technical, expert, personal and/or emotional. They ranged in scope, often grappling with difficult issues including poverty, racialization and violence. Many shared intergenerational and childhood memories. While some had prepared presentations, some spoke spontaneously—as one put it, “from the heart” (Opp 625). Some shared poetry and one stood in silence. In many cases, the same presenters spoke multiple times, developing their analysis and responding to other speakers. All told, the hearings constituted a rich and dynamic conversation, but one I found difficult to follow.  1.2 Activist Knowing-in-Struggle as Invitation: Recurring Tensions At the time of the hearings, I had been attempting to formulate a project of collaborative, activist inquiry into practical tensions of social justice work. I had engaged with the theorizing of French Marxist-existentialist author, playwright and activist Jean-Paul Sartre and with the critical pedagogical approach of British adult educator, Paula Allman. The ideas of these two thinkers meet not only through Marx’s dialectical philosophy of praxis, but also through the work of Brazilian adult educator Paulo Freire, whose literacy work led him to develop a well-known philosophy and approach to conscientização, or consciousness-raising, called dialogical praxis. These conceptual sensibilities—together with my practical engagement in the hearings and in other contexts of justice-oriented community work—shaped my experience of the hearings in light of questions I had begun to conceptualize in terms of pedagogical dynamics of “invitation.”                                                  5 I have used the prefixes “Supp,” “Opp,” “Oth,” “Coun” and “Staff” to identify different groups of speakers at the hearings. My labeling procedure is described in Chapter 3. 7  Occurring over five evenings in a single room, within the constraints posed by institutional procedure, the 2011 HAHR hearings were a specific and limited site of social struggle. But for all the ways in which the HAHR hearings were particular, I am interested in how they also reflected broader tensions that seem to recur across multiple contexts of social justice work. In the discussion that follows, I open up consideration of this broader field by briefly reflecting on the hearings in relation to a wider landscape of local activist knowing and practice; specifically, two high profile moments of local activism that are likely to be familiar to the reader: the February 2010 Olympic Winter games and the October 2011 Occupy Movement.  1.2.1 Analysis and awareness-raising: Activism as public pedagogy In the years prior to the HAHR hearings, Vancouver’s successful bid to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games brought a flurry of activity among governments and corporations eager to benefit from the impending multi-billion dollar spectacle of athleticism and internationalism. As the games drew nearer in February 2010, activists organized to highlight more troubling aspects of Vancouver 2010 as a local site of the Olympic industry. Like other mega-events, Olympics produce social, environmental and economic impacts such as eviction, displacement and arrest of vulnerable persons; unsustainable land-use development; damage to ecologically sensitive land; increased pollution and waste; and rapid gentrification (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, 2007; Lenskyj, 2000, 2002). Later, in the months after the hearings, the Occupy protest movement surged in a Global Day of Action, as “Occupy Together” events were held in 950 cities across the world, including Vancouver. As in organizing efforts related to HAHR hearings, integral to both movements were practices of public awareness-raising. These included use of public events, pamphlets, online 8  materials, press releases, petitions, creative campaigns, social media, publication of research and analysis, newsletters and protest signs. These activities can be explored in terms of their teaching and learning—or, pedagogical—qualities, as sites of popular education, social movement learning and/or public pedagogy (e.g., Cadena, 1991; Hall, 2006; Sandlin, O'Malley, & Burdick, 2011). Much activist dissent also seeks to educate: Grassroots organizations, neighbourhood groups, and art collectives act as public pedagogues who enact “critical public engagement” to collectively interrupt inequality and “hegemonic forms of discrimination” (Brady, 2006 as cited in Sandlin et al., 2011). In such contexts, dynamics of teaching and learning can be inseparable from practices of analysis and research; many groups “combine grassroots work with various forms of research, publication and knowledge generation” (Bazán et al., 2008 as cited in Choudry, 2014a, p. 98). Further, movement organizers, participants and publics can learn in and through activism through “interrogation of knowledge from the perspective of struggle” (Scandrette, 2012 as cited in Choudry2014a). Learning occurs in complex and contradictory ways that are shaped “by intrapersonal, interpersonal and broader social forces” (Newman, 2000 as cited in in Choudry, 2014a). During the 2011 Occupy movement, Vancouver protest participants not only set up an encampment, but also engaged in daily public general assemblies and a variety of pedagogical (teaching and learning) activities. They formed education, outreach and media working groups, assembled books in a Peoples’ Library and co-hosted speaking events and marches with other groups.   1.2.2 Dominant discourses and counter-narratives: Discursive dynamics of struggle Via this public educational and opinion-building work, activists signal how social struggles entail struggles of knowing. Political clashes are also clashes of popular understanding 9  wherein critical and/or oppositional forms of consciousness push up against status quo versions of the world. Activist pedagogies thus frequently entail attention to public discourse—the collective text, talk and negotiated meanings of a society (Doane, 2003). Through discourse, “individual and collective… understandings are continuously being contested, disrupted and redefined through everyday experience, cultural images and political struggle”: “Code words, labels, claims, and mental models” can be used to legitimate privilege, to express positions in “politically palatable” terms, or to challenge existing social arrangements and conditions (Doane, 2003, pp. 555-556). Even minor changes in discourses can “actually represent major shifts in belief structures and value assumptions” (Cannella & Lincoln, 2004, p. 166). Discourse can thus be understood as both a product and an instrument of struggle: “a reciprocal relationship exists between discourse and power so that power necessarily manifests itself in discourse and discourse plays a key role in the production and reproduction of power” (Farkas, 2013, p. 401, after Fairclough and Van Dijk). Writing about urban struggle in Vancouver, Pell describes how public discursive practices “work to configure and enact the political” (Pell, 2014, p. 30). They enable “some types of statements about urban redevelopment to be made, and not others, encouraging some forms of political engagement, and not others” (Pell, 2014, p. 39, after Foucault).  In response to dominant discourses, activist pedagogies often entail the development of “counternarratives” (Rogers, 2012, p. 927). These alternative assertions can work to “question dominant knowledge and provide context to understand and transform established belief systems”; to build community by “putting a face to social issues and helping people realize they are not alone”; and to teach how new understandings can, over time, play a role in creating new realities (Rogers, 2012, p. 927, after Solórzano & Yosso). Often, such practices entail presenting 10  underreported information and perspectives. During the Olympics, slogans such as “Homes not Games” and “End Poverty: It’s Not a Game” highlighted how significant public funds were being allocated to this spectacle for relatively wealthy visitors, while for the city’s most vulnerable residents (especially indigenous people, women, seniors, mental health survivors and people with disabilities) the daily realities of grinding poverty remained significantly unaddressed. Likewise, Vancouver Occupyers issued a public statement outlining concerns, including an acknowledgement that they were camped on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples who never ceded their rights and title to the British Crown.6  The myriad ways of being and knowing within social justice work frequently entails differences and debate, however many local efforts can be said to share a commitment to challenge contemporary relations of domination in the most fundamental way possible. This is pursued, in part, by drawing on a range of critical, radical and indigenous traditions of knowledge and practice that grasp local injustices as connected with global, historical and material relations of, inter alia, racialized colonialism, imperialism, capitalism and hetero-patriarchy.  1.2.3 “Understand… and act with us”: Invitational pedagogy Taken together, the philosophical and theoretical work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Paula Allman and Paulo Freire put forward a compelling model of collective activist pedagogy (see Chapter 2). Their combined thinking suggests practices through which a series of actors might work from within contemporary conditions of capitalism to critically investigate dynamics of injustice                                                  6 For an analysis in the context of the Olympics, see Peterson (2010). 11  and—on the basis of recognizing some shared needs and goals—work together toward transformative, justice-oriented social change. In this project, I think through how this ensemble of philosophical and pedagogical theories might work to strengthen communicative practices of activism in relation to discursive dimensions of struggle. These theorized emphases on collective action formed the conceptual basis from which I began to consider activist pedagogies in terms of dynamics of “invitation.” Through awareness-raising and education, advocates seek to facilitate popular critical learning and broader participation in justice-oriented social change. These pedagogical practices resemble public invitations to “understand things the way we do” and based on this, “act with us.” The familiar idea of invitation helps to think through pedagogical tensions of autonomy-and-reciprocity that play out in contexts of activist education. In such contexts, advocates are often not invited or sanctioned as teachers or experts. Instead, activist teaching is often offered autonomously, in relation to various interlocuters or publics who are not necessarily oriented towards learning in or from the encounter. Practices of activism and advocacy are often construed as inappropriate interruptions of accepted social (e.g., government or corporate) processes.  As with the oppositional understandings put forward in activism, everyday practices of invitation are rooted in the location and sensibilities of the initiating subject. A future-oriented practice, invitation reflects the inviter’s practical pursuit of a possible, envisioned and desired, intersubjective future that is not yet realized. Further, invitation entails everyday navigation of the tensions of commitment and partiality. Although an invitation can be extended autonomously—and is thus rooted in the committed agency of the initiating subject—to be fulfilled it must be actively acknowledged and received via the reciprocal action of the invitee. 12  The invitation is also a kind of inquiry: it is oriented to learning, to hearing and understanding another’s response and to acting in light of this reply. Invitation is inherently an open-ended (versus predetermined) practice; an invitation cannot be imposed or bestowed (otherwise, it is some kind of command rooted in authority). Reciprocity is not guaranteed and is often subject to negotiation: “I can’t do that with you today,” “could we do something else,” or “can I take a rain check?”  Along these lines, the public pedagogies of activism differ both from usual ideas of pedagogy (in schools) and from collective approaches such as Freirean dialogical pedagogy wherein participants in a group are committed to teaching and learning from one another. Instead, these activist pedagogies are often particularly incomplete, unrealized and open-ended. They are invitational pedagogies that nevertheless pursue reciprocity in the form of shared, justice-oriented learning and action. The idea of invitation provides a touchstone for the political and practical concerns in which this project is rooted and to which I return in Chapter 9.  1.2.4 Tensions of invitation: Connection and disconnect, possibility and implausibility As I observed the hearings, contemplating my turn to speak, I was aware of seemingly contradictory discursive dynamics of connection and disconnection. I wondered how this might relate to the problems and possibilities of collective action. These perceived tensions are striking because of how they resembled dynamics within other local struggles which also contested status quo versions of “development.”  If, like the HAHR hearings, the Olympics and the Occupy movements are read in terms of invitation to collective understanding and action, it seems that many members of local publics reciprocated. Together with other significant mobilizations that occurred in Canada around the 13  same time—including the massive Quebec student strikes in the spring of 2012 and the ongoing Idle No More indigenous rights movement—anti-Olympics organizing and the Occupy movement had heightened critical popular debate about issues such as inequality, climate change, corporate influence, colonialism and democracy. In October 2011, the call to “Occupy Together” inspired some 5,000 people to converge on the downtown lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery, based on a shared understanding of themselves as members of “the 99%.”7 Likewise, prior to the HAHR hearings, various influential civic leaders had rallied behind the appeal for solidarity put forward by DTES anti-poverty and housing advocates. The hearings themselves also reflected discursive dynamics of connection. As the hearings wore on, numerous speakers began to highlight areas of shared understanding and common concern about topics such as heritage, culture, housing and inclusivity. There were many moments of friendly laughter and frank reflection. Further, council was comprised almost entirely of councillors who considered themselves progressives, with the Mayor and majority Vision Party councillors having been elected predominantly on a platform to end homelessness (Vision Vancouver, 2008). I was also attuned to discursive moments that suggested qualities of contingency—the possibilities for common ground or shared action amongst members of the hearings’ opposed groups. One HAHR supporter described an HAHR opponent as someone they “admire[d] and respect[ed] and consider[ed] a friend” (Supp 4x2). Likewise, although many of Chinatown’s benevolent and family associations had announced support for the current HAHR proposals,                                                  7 “We are the 99%” was the Occupy Movement’s well-known slogan and critique of the increasing proportion of global wealth controlled by the top one percent of the world’s population.  14  many opponents spoke glowingly of these organizations’ important historic contributions and ongoing community work. This sense of contingency was often marked by dynamics of invitation, for instance, as speaker after speaker suggested that all those present could “sit down,” “come to an agreement” and find ways to “work together” towards “common” interests and goals (e.g., Supp 2; Supp 6; Supp 8; Supp 11; Oth 1; Opp 19; Opp 27; Opp 38; Opp 31; Opp 53; Oth 8).  But in each of these sites of struggle, discursive dynamics of connection and shared understanding seemed to only go so far. As in the Occupy and anti-Olympics movements, the hearings’ milieu of opposition was linked to dynamics of confrontation. Certainly, as many remarked, the hearings began with a polarized tenor. And, within each of these struggles, confusing tensions of connection and disconnection seemed to reflect not only different opinions, but even directly conflicting truths. While Occupyers and supporters highlighted compelling accounts of poverty and inequality, media pundits concluded that with capitalism, “life… has never been better” (McInnes as cited in Gutstein, 2011, p. 5). Likewise, in February of 2010, the arrival of the Olympic Games was met with numerous protests and rallies critiquing Canada’s ongoing history of colonialism, but also a sudden proliferation of patriotism: flag-waving, red and white clothing and shop windows full of Canadiana. Likewise, while speakers in the hearings underscored common concerns, many understandings were expressed in direct contradiction to each other. This was apparent, for example, in descriptions of Chinatown as both “dying” and “vital” and in characterizations of the HAHR proposals as a “win win situation” but also as “class war” (see Chapter 6). Other qualities of disconnection related to the hearings’ confusing interplay of knowledges that were simultaneously social, intersubjective and personal. In presentations, well-15  known ideas and social facts were frequently intertwined with accounts of personal experience, collective histories and technical or specialized analysis. As I observed the hearings, I was especially aware of these dynamics as presenting practical challenges in relation to my own discursive interventions. Prior to speaking, I felt clear about my concern to critique predominant versions of development that would threaten neighbourhood affordability and displace vulnerable residents. But within the hearings’ dynamic exchange, these problematic status quo discourses of development were entangled with kinds of knowledge I did not wish, or feel qualified to dispute. For one, I was not an urban planner or architect. Further, I had not read or understood in full, the 99 bright pink pages—distributed at the beginning of the hearings—of jargon-heavy and often technical meeting minutes, report, policy guidelines and appendices relating to the HAHR decision. Nor had I participated in earlier phases of HAHR consultation. This awareness of limited understanding was also linked to my sense of being an outsider in relation to the communities at the centre of this struggle. I was not a resident of Chinatown or the Downtown Eastside, nor did I consider Chinatown integral to my heritage, social group or everyday activities. These practical tensions of knowing-in-struggle hint at a series of puzzles I would later revisit as research. Thinking about the hearings in relation to multiple local contexts of social struggle signals recurring tensions that can be posed as questions for exploration in the context of the HAHR hearings’ contested discourses of development: How might advocate-knowers critically unpack “clashes of truth” as these emerge in particular contexts of struggle? How to explore discursive practices in relation to the complexities of concrete and material circumstance? How to make sense of multiple and divergent forms of public, collective and personal meaning? How to work through conflicting experiences and inclinations with respect to practice? How to 16  navigate accounts of vastly different realities? How could these critical explorations inform the invitational pedagogies of activism?  1.3 Invitation as Inquiry: Working-out an Approach to Critical Learning-in-Struggle In returning to the hearings as research, I am not only concerned to theorize the hearings’ discursive dynamics of struggle, but also to develop a philosophical, practical and conceptual approach to critically unpacking such encounters. I convey my inquiry as a process of working out a dialogical approach to justice-oriented struggle knowledge (Choudry, 2014b), exploring conceptual tools that could continue to be used in other contexts of activist knowing-in-struggle. In this way, my project pursues an empirical-conceptual dialectic. As in usual modes of research, I use a conceptual approach to explore the hearings as a specific discursive encounter. However, I also reverse this trajectory of inquiry and use my study of the hearings to explore and develop a conceptual approach. This orientation to inquiry is inspired by critical traditions that blur perceived boundaries between theorizing, activism, pedagogy and inquiry. I especially work from a line of thinking that can be traced through the work of Jean-Paul Sartre (e.g., 1960a, 1960b) and through Paula Allman’s (e.g., 1999; 2001) elaboration of Freire’s (e.g., 1970) dialogical pedagogy and Marx’s dialectical method. Both Sartre’s and Allman’s work can be placed within what Allman (2001, pp. 4–6) describes as a dialectical tradition within Marxism. While many approaches to scientific inquiry attempt to understand society one part at a time, “isolating and separating it from the rest, and treating it as static,” dialectical or relational modes of theorizing assume we cannot adequately understand our world without recognizing “how the ‘bigger picture,’ both spatially and temporally (past and future), enters into and affects whatever we perceive directly and immediately” (Ollman, 1998, pp. 339, 338). Via his notion of 17  the project, Sartre especially emphasizes the human capacity for “going beyond a situation,” that is, our abilities to make something out of what we have “been made” (Sartre, 1960b, p. 91).  Allman’s work is significantly influenced by Gramsci in addition to Marx and Freire and focuses on advancing revolutionary social change through critical education rooted in a rigorous, experiential understanding of capitalism. Sartre’s intellectual project is grounded in the philosophical tradition of existentialism and thus centres on explicating possibilities for conscious choice and moral responsibility within Marx’s emphasis on collective and structural relations (Flynn, 2004). As I will describe (Chapter 2), there is much congruence in the work of these two authors, not only pertaining to their respective engagements with Marx, but also because Allman draws on Freire who was influenced by Sartre. Sartre and Allman share with myriad critical thinkers, concern to emphasize the embeddedness of domination within all realms of human (embodied, social and psychological) experience. However, despite their respective concerns to grasp deeply affecting relations of injustice, both thinkers arguably place more emphasis (than many) on “historicity”: “the impermanence of domination” (Agger, 2006, p. 7). For Frampton, Kinsman, Thompson and Tilleczek (2006, following both Marx and D. Smith), this entails the understanding that “‘we’ as individuals and as groups of people, who, through our own practices, coordinate and produce the social world … can also collectively change it” (p. 5). As I detail in Chapter 2, both Sartre and Allman have developed dialectical ways of conceptualizing human agency-in-circumstance that help to hold a knower’s attention to the “twin possibilities” (Cruickshank, 1999, p. 2) that individual and collective modes of praxis might be routine and uncritical—serving to reproduce existing relations of domination—but that they might also be critical, creative and liberating. In developing my approach to inquiry, I also draw on dialectical methods described by Harvey 18  (1996) and Ollman (1998) together with Dorothy Smith’s (e.g., 1987) Institutional Ethnography and elaborations of her work as Political Activist Ethnography (G. Smith, 1990; see also Frampton, Kinsman, Thompson, & Tilleczek, 2006).  1.3.1 Research problematic and research questions Following D. Smith (e.g., 1987), the recurring tensions I have described (of connection and disconnection, possibility and implausibility) can be treated as a research problematic. For Smith, inquiry begins from what the research-writer makes problematic in a given setting. This set of puzzles is not (objectively) ‘there.’ They arise for someone (see Campbell & Gregor, 2002), in this case for me and (prospectively) for others who are concerned to navigate the complex clashes of knowing often encountered in discursive practices of struggle and advocacy.  From my standpoint8 as an activist, participant and learner, in this thesis I explore the HAHR hearings in terms of two interrelated thrusts. These reflect what Allman (1999, 2001) describes as the two fundamental dimensions of Freire’s dialogical pedagogy: a transformed, critical, relation to knowledge and transformed, cooperative relations between knowers. First, I am interested to unpack tensions of connection and disconnection by exploring how the hearings’ clashing truths offer insight into geographically broader and historically longer social relations of knowing. This concern is reflected in the following research question: 1. Within the HAHR hearings, how do speakers’ public testimonies help to elucidate the political meanings of development within the material and social relations of capitalism, as these have developed historically in relation to intersecting practices of colonization, racialization, hetero-patriarchy and other modes of social domination?                                                   8 I draw on D. Smith’s (e.g. 1987) particular use of this term (see Chapter 3).  19  Here, I am not concerned to develop a descriptive account of what speakers think or believe. Instead, my analysis is aimed at critically unpacking certain social (historical, material and political) dimensions of hearing discourse, especially as these relate to predominant market-oriented development approaches which are linked to dispossession and displacement.  The second key thrust of my project is anchored in my concern to explore the hearings from the perspective of transformative possibility:  2. How does a close reading of hearing discourse help to elucidate the apparent potentials, or not, for justice-oriented working-together which are signaled by the hearings’ qualities of invitation?   In the course of the thesis, I theorize the HAHR hearings as a site of practical inquiry in which myriad local actors were engaged in important knowledge production (see Frampton et al., 2006; G. Smith, 1990). My own analytic work can thus be grasped as a response to, continuation or component of, this broader ongoing project of critical intersubjective learning-in-struggle, or what Choudry (2014b) terms “struggle knowledge.”  1.3.2 Inquiry as a theorized return to the hearings As months passed, the HAHR hearings increasingly stood out in my memory as an encounter in which I could fruitfully explore the recurring discursive tensions I had perceived across multiple contexts of social struggle. The hearings offered an opportunity to explore a dynamic and sustained public conversation about the contested meanings of development as these related to Chinatown. Unlike many public moments of activist communication, the structure of the hearings produced an opportunity for interchange that was particularly prolonged and responsive. When activists articulate social justice analyses and invitations to engagement via protests, public statements or media interviews, these often become truncated as slogans and 20  soundbites. Though detailed analyses may be shared in print and/or web-based material, these fora often do not lend themselves to dialogic interchange. While social justice work involves personal conversations that are often both dialogic and prolonged, these are rarely of a public nature and rarely include the diverse range of differently located individuals who spoke during the hearings.  In contrast, the hearings featured an array of local actors assembled, face-to-face, in a single room to express myriad experiences, perspectives and insights. Although the procedural rules of the hearings certainly limited many kinds of interchange, they also enabled each presenter to speak repeatedly. Most spoke for a full five minutes, and many—because of guidelines that enabled additional time to respond to questions from Council—offered dynamic clarifications that meant their time at the mic lasted much longer. Further, because it was difficult to know ahead of time how many speakers would be heard each evening, and because of the political message that could be communicated to Council by simply being present, many speakers had observed a large portion of the hearings and thus responded in turn to understandings expressed earlier on. The qualities and diversity of people present—many with long historical ties and personal or civic connections to each other (including to councillors) and to the neighbourhood—culminated in analyses that were remarkable in their detail, scope and depth of insight. The discussion moved from the general to the specific, and from the technical to the material, cultural, and political. In contrast to many formal contexts of public dialogue, the familiarity and sense of community amongst many of those present seemed to inspire the sharing of firsthand stories, reflecting how public discourse can be taken-up, interpreted and/or expressed in very personal ways.  21  The discursive encounter of the HAHR hearings is also an important site of inquiry more generally because of how public hearings are linked to ideals of liberal pluralism and deliberative democracy. Kemp (1985) traces the origins of public hearings to the enclosures of open and common land in eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain. These early land use planning processes entailed a series of public meetings; at the last of these, between three and fifteen publicly appointed commissioners would hear disputes and make awards. Between 1760 and 1774, enclosure commissioners became bound by an oath of impartiality and were required to render accounts to parliament. Subsequent requirements stipulated adequate publicity of the enclosure proposals throughout the local parish. In 1845, increased state control over the process led to increasing uniformity of this public local inquiry-based political process. Kemp observes that in contemporary Western political culture, public hearings have become a widely accepted practice for rectifying a wide variety of sociopolitical issues, with their qualities of public and local accessibility linked to democratic ideals. “The public inquiry or hearing,” he states,  is generally held to provide an open, objective and rational, that is, a truly democratic form of practical decision making. Furthermore this lends justificatory force to government decisions and policies that are reached subject to the public inquiry process; public inquiries are seen to legitimize controversial decisions taken in several important areas of governmental planning activity. (1985, p. 179) But while public hearings are widely accepted as legitimate forums of decision-making, there exist serious doubts about the democratic nature of the relations that exist between governments and participants in such processes. Much research about citizen interactions with government officials reflects ambiguity and contradiction (Farkas, 2013). Van Dijk has argued that control and restriction of access to discourse and communicative events is a key instrument of power wherein certain actors “control the occasion, time, place, setting, and the presence or absence of participants in such events” (1996 as cited in Farkas, 2013, p. 402). Other dynamics 22  of power in public hearings and council meetings relate to agenda-setting, chairing or facilitation, turn-taking, topic changes, use of jargon and the configuration of material objects such as chairs and microphones (Farkas, 2013; Forester, 1985; D. E. Smith, 1990). In her account of public discourse in the struggle over the Woodward’s development in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Pell describes how public hearings on the issue “did not allow for meaningful introduction of issues, dialogue or co-construction of decisions” (2014, p. 35). Pell contrasts those hearings’ formal appearance of democracy with effects of democratic circumscription: “Participation was a public ritual (re)producing a certain sort of order (i.e. consent of pre-conceived actions), where competing perspectives were made visible (voiced, publicized), but did not impact the decisions under discussion” (2014, p. 35). Farkas calls for more study in contexts of government-citizen interaction and decision-making so that individuals “can be clearer about the values, opportunities, strategies, and tactics associated with their interactions and participation in political deliberations” (2013, p. 400). My study of discursive dynamics within the HAHR hearings makes a contribution in this regard. Literatures also signal how public hearings entail important limitations as sites of inquiry into practices of knowing. Numerous practitioner-authors caution against tendencies to regard knowledges put forward in such contexts as “authentic” versions of individual or collective beliefs, interests or capacities. Instead, public and official forums such as public hearings have frequently been critiqued because of their tendencies to reinforce dominant understandings and interests. Not only is participation often restricted according to authority, power and status (Farkas, 2013) but as Ellsworth states, “in a racist society and its institutions… debate has not and cannot be ‘public’ or ‘democratic’ in the sense of including the voices of all affected parties and affording them equal weight and legitimacy” (1989, p. 302). 23  Many such critiques relate to the ways in which public forums of knowing can veil complex and “offstage” intra- or inter-individual dynamics that determine what is publicly said or left unsaid. Forums of public and/or participatory deliberation are associated with the treatment and representation of diverse actors in terms of social categories (such as “elderly,” “ethnic” or “poor”). Cornwall (2000) highlights how this tends to mask difference and can also obscure relationships (whether exploitative or enabling) across such groups, overlooking potentially important coercions and alliances. Francis details how this frequently plays out in requirements for public articulation of “community priorities” (2001, p. 79) which collapse the differences in needs and goals that exist between community members. In this way, critics have pointed to how a focus on public conversations may offer little insight into the informal or private, assumed, negotiated, exploitative and/or empowering relations of intersubjective knowing, choosing and representation through which important discussions and decisions may occur “elsewhere” (Cleaver, 2001, p. 44). Other critical assessments highlight the need to treat public talk as a product of the particular context and relations in and through which it emerges (Mosse, 2001, after Villareal). Atkinson and Silverman caution that researchers “take at face value the image of the self-revealing speaking subject at our peril” (1997, as cited in Baker & Edwards, n.d., p. 12). Rather, whether people talk, how, and to whom, should be grasped as strategic and relational choice-in-context (Ellsworth, 1989). The presence of dominant actors, and/or the highly visible nature of public fora can restrict freedom of discursive choices in both perceptible and unseen ways (Farkas, 2013, following VanDijk). Many author-practitioners especially highlight risks for less powerful individuals and groups who might be made subject to repercussions on the basis of what they publicly support or reveal (Cornwall, 2000, following Mukasa, 2000).  24  But even in favourable conditions, public accounts are unlikely to reveal a transparent or full account of complex influences on talk. These can include the weighing of vulnerabilities, costs and benefits, motivations, intentions or beliefs and individual or subjective factors such as a sense of reciprocity, recognition, or respect (Cleaver, 2001). In her account of a collective effort at democratic dialogue, Ellsworth describes how “things were left unsaid, or they were encoded” on the basis of participants’ conscious or unconscious navigation of elements such as “trust, risk… fear and desire” (1989, p. 313). In another account of what was widely deemed a successful example of public participation, Mosse (2001) details the subtle and multiple ways in which expression of so-called “community needs” was shaped by local perceptions of the funding agency’s priorities and capacities. To paraphrase Mosse, actors’ ideas about development are unlikely to be the same as those employed for action in public sites or interactions with external agents (2001, p. 21). Taken together, such analyses underscore how my inquiry into the HAHR hearings as a public, discursive exchange must foreground the partial and relational nature of knowing in this context. It should not be taken as offering an authentic “picture” of speakers’ minds, attitudes, or opinions (ten Have, as cited in Baker & Edwards, n.d.). Instead, my study of hearing discourse is necessarily limited by who was present, and what those people were willing and able to say in that highly visible and politically loaded site. At the same time the public, intersubjective and relational qualities of the hearings’ discursive interchange can be taken up to explore the social and material arrangements in which this public talk “holds” and “works”. Inquiry into discursive dynamics of public hearings, argues Doane, enables exploring “the nature and use of symbols and rhetorical strategies as well as their incorporation into more complex explanatory models” (2003, p. 556). Hearing debate offers a view of individual testimonies, but also insight into how 25  these are presented—in this official “on-stage” setting—in relation to familiar “interpretive frames,” and further how these public “‘common sense’ understandings are employed in debates over social issues” (Doane, 2003, p. 556). Because the HAHR hearings were public texts, available as online audio-visual recordings on the City of Vancouver website, there was an opportunity for me to return to this discursive encounter. While they had not captured international attention like the anti-Olympic or Occupy movements, complex tensions of social struggle were nonetheless playing out through debate over the seemingly mundane details of building heights, setbacks and zoning bylaws.  1.4 Vancouver Chinatown and the Historic Area Height Review (HAHR) Located on the Pacific West Coast, in the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations—collectively, the Coast Salish peoples—the city of Vancouver (Canada) is often described as city of neighbourhoods. Vancouver is widely celebrated for its innovative community planning processes and for being an early adopter of densification policies. It is also a city that faces a crisis of housing affordability (see, e.g., Quastel, Moos, & Lynch, 2012).  1.4.1 Background and context City planning reports overview the rationale for the multi-year Historic Area Height Review (HAHR) initiative and convey predominant policy discourses about the area. The HAHR, originally called the Historic Precinct Height Study (HPHS), is described as originating through the City of Vancouver’s 2006-2008 EcoDensity initiative with a council directive entitled Action B-1:  26  Staff be directed to include consideration of policies for additional density and corresponding height in suitable locations in Gastown, Hastings, Chinatown and Victory Square, as part of the Historic Precinct Height Study. The intent of this direction is to support heritage conservation projects, to provide replacement low-income housing, and/or to support other public benefits and amenities … (EcoDensity Initial Action B-1, June 2008, as cited in Director of Planning, 2010a) Vancouver’s historic area is located just east of its current central business district and includes the neighbourhoods of Gastown, Victory Square, Chinatown and Hastings and Main. Each is situated within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (see Figure 1.1).   Figure 1.1 Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods.  Source: Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix A, p. 5. Used with permission.   Various HAHR reports overview the existing urban character of the Historic precinct. Chinatown, along with Gastown, is described as a special historic district; Vancouver’s 27  Chinatown, notes one report, is “one of the last remaining, large historic Chinatown’s in North America. It is a distinctive market providing speciality Asian goods and services, as well as an important cultural and tourist destination.” Other noted features of the historic district include “a unique scale of low-to mid-rise developments on smaller frontage lots” (Director of Planning, 2010a, pp. 8, 3). Vancouver’s historic area is described as having a high concentration of designated heritage buildings, with most constructed between 1886 and 1920 (Spaxman Consulting Group Limited & Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture Inc., 2008). While HAHR reports do not offer detail about this period of neighbourhood history, other sources provide some historical context for this built landscape which would come to be at the centre of the HAHR hearings. Through the years 1886-1920, Vancouver was a burgeoning British colony. The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 enabled an influx of European settlers who would increase the pace with which both the area’s original indigenous inhabitants, as well as other “non-white” residents, could be displaced from favoured tracts of land. Among these undesired groups was a significant population of Chinese migrants, many of whom had travelled from California during the gold rush (Roy & Thompson, 2005). The early Vancouver town site (then called Granville) became a provincial hub of production and trade in natural resources (for instance gold, lumber and fish), as well as property investment (Blomley, 2004; Gutstein, 1975; Roy & Thompson, 2005). As the young city grew, the nearby port and Gastown’s sawmills helped spawn a commercial zone along Hastings Street, with theatres, banks, hotels, offices, civic buildings and department stores. Beginning around 1906, the city’s central business district began to shift westward. The historic east end became home to a working class community of resource economy labourers—disproportionately single men—who worked on the waterfront (e.g. in 28  canneries, sawmills, meat packing plants and metal working shops) or stayed in one of the neighbourhood’s many hotels between tours in logging camps (Ley, 1994).  In this same period, white supremacist property regimes punctuated with episodes of anti-Asian violence meant that Vancouver’s Chinese inhabitants became increasingly concentrated around Dupont Street (now West Pender). In the mid-1890s, City Council formally designated the Dupont settlement as “Chinatown.” At the turn of the century, the population of the settlement was 2,053 men (143 merchants and the rest workers) as well as 27 women (mostly wives of merchants) and 26 children. Writing about these early days of Vancouver’s Chinatown, Anderson describes how “family life was the preserve of a small economic and political elite, some members of which established a property base in the area from the 1890s” (1987, p. 583).  In the face of civic hostility and economic discrimination, Chinatown’s business owners formed assorted self-help and benevolent associations, often organized along lines of clan or locality affiliation, to provide various kinds of business and social supports including rotating access to mutual credit, cheap lodging for single labourers and welfare for sick and/or destitute workers (Anderson, 1991). A number of these benevolent and/or family societies purchased or constructed buildings in which to locate their headquarters and conduct their activities, with many of these located on current-day Pender Street. These society buildings, states the City’s urban design guidelines for Chinatown, “define the area’s distinctive building scale, development pattern and picturesque streetscape. These buildings have become the architectural and cultural anchors of the area’s identity and are essential components of Chinatown character” (Director of Planning, 2010b, Appendix C, p. 4). The HAHR study boundary encompassed four of the seven neighbourhoods that comprise the Downtown Eastside. Excluded, were the adjacent areas of Thornton Park 29  (commercial-residential) to the south, Strathcona (residential) to the south and east, Hastings Corridor (commercial) to the east, or the industrial area (port and rail yards) to the northeast (see figure 1.2).   Figure 1.2 Historic Area Height Review study boundary with planning sub-areas. Source: Director of Planning, 2010b, p. 5. Used with permission.    The HAHR policy report provides background for the Height Study and describes how several factors produced the impetus for the review. Vancouver’s historic area, it states, “has undergone decline with similar social and economic challenges as faced by many other North American cities’ inner-city neighbourhoods” (Director of Planning, 2010a, p. 5). Further detail about the nature and history of these challenges is provided in a background report attached as Appendix A: From an early date, the DTES was the primary low-income neighbourhood in the city and region… However, it was not until the 90’s [that] structural changes in 30  the region and the retail industry, as well as the demographic change in the community, culminated in the closing of Woodward’s department store and high vacancy levels in storefronts in the area generally. (Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix A, pp. 5–6)  The challenges now facing the area have their origins in some significant more recent changes affecting the country, the province and the region as a whole: the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the 80s; the change in the drug situation in the late 80s… and development of a large open drug market in the DTES; The loss of inexpensive housing in other neighbourhoods in the City and region, and increasing costs of housing in the City, generally. (Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix A, p. 7) The same backgrounder provides a brief demographic portrait of the area: Overall, 59% of the DTES population is Canadian-born, compared with 51% Vancouver-wide. The proportion of Canadian-born is lower in Chinatown and Strathcona subareas (less than 47%) than in the others. For just over 64% of DTES residents, English is the home language. Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) is next, and with these residents focussed in Chinatown and Strathcona. About 10% of the DTES population identify themselves as Aboriginal, compared with 2% for Vancouver as a whole. Approximately 15% of the total Aboriginal-identified population of Vancouver lives in the DTES. (Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix A, p.67) The backgrounder also states that, consistent with historic patterns of residency, there are more males (60%) than females; with 70% of households consisting of a single person living alone. While unemployment in the area had declined since 1996, 64% of residents could be classified as low-income, in comparison to 27% of residents in Vancouver overall (Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix A, p. 6). A January 2010 Fact Sheet prepared by CCAP emphasizes that many of the area’s low-income residents “depend on welfare ($610 per month for a single person) disability ($906 per month) or basic old age pension (about $1100 per month).” CCAP’s fact sheet further stresses that “the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $919 a month” (CCAP, 2010, p. 2). The HAHR Conclusions report describes the historic area as “a neighbourhood with a rooted community infrastructure for a low-income population” (Director 31  of Planning, 2010a, p. 3). CCAP has also highlighted the area’s tremendous community spirit of empathy and acceptance and strong history of human rights advocacy (CCAP, 2010). The HAHR Conclusions report explains that, in response to the historic area’s decades-long decline, the City has implemented a Downtown Eastside planning philosophy of “Revitalization without Displacement” which “emphasises the importance of balancing the pace of improving infrastructure with quality of life, and supports ongoing community engagement in planning processes” (Director of Planning, 2010a, p. 5). Further, notes the report, policies such as the Downtown Eastside Housing Plan (City of Vancouver, 2005) and the Chinatown Vision (Community Project Manager of Downtown Eastside Revitalization Program, 2002)  had been developed to address sub-areas and topics. Both the Housing Plan and Chinatown Vision were frequently mentioned in hearing debate. Part of a broader Chinatown Revitalization program, the 2002 Vision had been followed up by a Chinatown Market Housing Study (City of Vancouver Central Area Planning, 2005) and three-year action program to begin development of a Chinatown Community Plan. In this context, note report authors, more research was needed to address and evaluate questions about how the City should proceed:  With interest in and pressure for new development and building rehabilitation increasing in the Historic Area, many have asked how development activities in this neighbourhood can be done in a way that benefits the whole community and brings about change that is inclusive and respectful…. It is with these questions and many people’s varying responses that Council directed staff to undertake the Historic Area Height Review. (Director of Planning, 2010a, pp. 3-4) In excerpts such as this one, the height study (and EcoDensity initiative from which it originally emerged) is characterized as a policy response to a range of planning challenges—including economic and commercial viability, housing affordability, heritage preservation, democratic participation and quality of life. At the same time City documents consistently 32  describe these initiatives as one component within an array of policies that provide direction for City initiatives in Vancouver’s historic area and in the Downtown Eastside as a whole.  1.4.2 Phases of the HAHR The multi-year HAHR initiative began in earnest in 2008. Initial phases of the HAHR (then called the HPHS) included a technical analysis by external consultants of area architecture, urban design, height and density. In addition, the consultant’s report suggests sites and areas where building heights could be increased without significant adverse effect on built character. Based on certain criteria, this report affirms staff proposals about the appropriateness of taller buildings in a number of “special sites” as well as sub-areas in the southern part of Chinatown, along Main Street (Spaxman Consulting Group Limited & Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture Inc., 2008).  In the spring of 2009, City planners presented emerging policy options in a public consultation process which involved meetings with advisory bodies and community groups as well as open houses and public workshops. The 2009 HAHR Public Feedback Summary report also describes outreach efforts undertaken to ensure the participation of specific groups, including the Chinese and low-income communities (Director of Planning, 2010a, Appendix B). In a summary of key consultation findings, City staff note public support for maintaining the area’s heritage character and scale; “overwhelming opposition” to towers above 150 feet (approximately 15 storeys); and “some tolerance for moderate height increases in certain sub-areas, including… Chinatown South (HA1A)” (Director of Planning, 2010a, p. 4). On January 4th, 2010, City Planners published the report entitled Historic Area Height Review: Conclusions and Recommendations. In addition to recommendations that generally 33  echoed the themes identified through the public consultation summary (above), the January 2010 proposals reflected a revised series of “special sites,” with the contentious proposal for a taller building at the Chinese Cultural Centre removed from this list. Preparation and release of this January 4 report sparked considerable additional public debate and comment by advisory committees, community groups and individuals. On January 22, 2010, at a Special Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, 50 speakers turned out to speak to the issue (City of Vancouver, 2010b).  On January 26, 2010 councillors voted to adopt the policy directions outlined in the Conclusions and Recommendations report. These included, first, that heights in the HA-1 area of Chinatown would increase from 65 to 75 feet and heights in the HA-1A area of Chinatown would increase from 70 to 90 feet outright, with the possibility for rezoning up to 120 feet. Rezoning could occur at the discretion of council “in order to consider innovative heritage, cultural and affordable housing projects in Chinatown” (recommendations C.1.i and C.1.ii) (Director of Planning, 2010a, p. 2). Second, councillors initiated changes to the City’s Transfer of Density policy, such that “bonus” density would be permitted to transfer into or within the HA1A area and identified higher building sites (recommendation C.1.iii). In addition to these items emerging from staff analysis and proposals, councillors introduced and passed motions instructing staff to report back on options for additional 150-foot building sites in Chinatown South (HA1A) (motion D); to conduct a social impact study to assess impacts of new development on the local low-income community (motion C.3); and, to report back on strategies for undertaking an integrated community strategy planning process for the DTES (motion F) (City of Vancouver, 2010a). 34  On December 17, 2010, City planning staff released their final report detailing the zoning and policy changes required to implement Council’s HAHR decisions. It was the recommendations contained within this Historic Area Height Review: Policy Implementation report that would later become the focus of the HAHR public hearings. The report’s Draft Rezoning Policy for Higher Buildings in the Historic Area provides urban design guidelines and, as per Council’s request for additional 150-foot building sites, the report identifies approximate locations in HA1A with sufficient frontage to accommodate such buildings (see Figure 1.3).   Figure 1.3 Recommended Main Street sub-area for additional higher building sites in HA1A (Chinatown South) and possible higher building sites for approximately 150 feet.  Source: Director of Planning, 2010b, p. 10. Used with permission.  In the same document, staff members also report back on other work stemming from Council’s January 26, 2010 decisions. The Social Impact Assessment (SIS) and integrated 35  community strategy are described as underway. The report notes that while additional public consultation was not required to implement most of Council’s decisions, staff undertook additional meetings with advisory and community groups. Chinatown and Gastown Historic Area Planning (Advisory) Committees are described as supportive of the proposed actions, with concerns expressed by Vancouver Heritage Commission having been addressed through subsequent amendments to rezoning policy. While community groups are in general support, notes the report, CCAP “remains concerned about the impact of new development on the low-income community” (Director of Planning, 2010b, p. 15). Councillors were due to consider the HAHR Implementation report and its associated recommendations at a council meeting on January 20, 2011. On that evening, as many as 80 people had signed up to speak at City Hall. However, prospective speakers arrived to find that Council had passed a last-minute motion that effectively cancelled the opportunity for public input at the meeting. Noting that “the items relating to HA-1 and HA-1A (Chinatown Historic areas) have a high degree of agreement” and that “more time is needed for City staff to complete a social impact study on low-income residents in the DTES,” the motion “severed” the HAHR report, referring the Chinatown-related items to public hearing and deferring the remainder of the study recommendations to be considered in a broader Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning (LAP) process (City of Vancouver, 2011b, p. 1). One journalist provides an account of the evening’s unusual proceedings: By late Wednesday night, the pressure from opponents had worn down the Vision Vancouver councillors, and in a late-night meeting they began to formulate a plan to split the staff report in two. It led to what critics are saying was an unusual circumvention of city process in which the Vision Vancouver councillors led by Mayor Gregor Robertson decided to cancel the public [speaking portion of the meeting]. Instead, in what Robertson termed an “urgent motion” … they decided to strike a community committee to help draft a new local area plan for the 36  Downtown Eastside … At the same time, however, the Vision Vancouver councillors sent to public hearing … parts of the original report that recommend as many as five towers of up to 15 storeys in the heritage areas of Chinatown. (J. Lee, 2011) The public hearings on the HAHR’s Chinatown-related items would finally begin nearly two months later. The hearings reflected an impressive degree of political organizing by groups on both sides of the issue. Not only did approximately 150 people register to speak, but hundreds turned out in a show of solidarity for one side or the other. Additional comments were provided by email. The Chinatown Business Improvement Association had organized busloads of HAHR supporters to be present during the first evening of hearings. CCAP had prepared and translated posters and flyers, as well as a 28-page report documenting their analysis, concerns and position (CCAP, 2011). CCAP also organized various community meetings and workshops in which those who wished to speak at the hearings could learn about the HAHR (particularly its more technical elements such as proposed amendments to the Transfer of Density policy) and support one another in developing their presentations. Both groups had prepared and circulated petitions, collecting more than a thousand signatures in the months and weeks leading up to Council’s decision. Letters of support or opposition to the HAHR were prepared by various influential local actors, including local Members of Parliament and Provincial Parliament; a group of well-known civic leaders that included urban professionals, two former Premiers and several members of the Order of Canada; a list of 30 academics; and various local civic and business associations, among others. The hearings also garnered a rare degree of media coverage. Taken together, this flurry of activity demonstrates the extent to which local actors understood the hearings as an important local moment which would have significant future implications for Chinatown and the entire Downtown Eastside. 37   1.5 The Hearings Begin Around 8 o’clock on March 17, 2011, the official HAHR public hearing proceedings got underway in Council Chambers. From behind his large, elevated desk at the front and centre of the wood-paneled room, the Mayor called the meeting to order. Vancouver’s nine City councillors were fanned out on the mayor’s left and right. Across from councillors, to the left and right of the speaker’s podium was a row of desks with microphones that could be used by City staff members who might be called upon to provide information during the meetings. Behind this row of desks and the speakers’ podium were several rows of benches for observers. Above this public seating area (and above the speakers’ podium) were additional rows of seating in a balcony that overlooked the room facing the mayor and council. After arriving, I settled in to watch and listen, sitting in the overflow seating in the foyer just outside. Someone had brought food—fruit and cookies to share among DTES speakers and allies; these were being passed around the room.  After a brief welcome from the Mayor and a few words about procedure, the hearings began with a presentation from City planners who, with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, reviewed the HAHR study context, process and proposals. Following these presentations, councillors had the opportunity to ask questions of staff. One councillor was concerned to know how many heritage buildings were owned by Chinatown family societies, two asked questions about the study’s consultation process and others wished to confirm the heights being proposed and whether this would result in an attractive streetscape. An additional councillor wanted to know if the rezoning provisions would be economically viable for developers and several asked questions about how the recommendations might impact various low-income buildings in the 38  area. In response to each question, staff members provided a response or promised to get more information. Among other things, staff confirmed that the guidelines had been tested for economic viability and appropriateness of urban form and that, overall, uptake of the extra height provisions was expected to be a slow process “because of the smaller lots that are there, the ability to develop at the higher height is limited” (Staff 1 to Coun 3). Following this interchange, the Mayor began to call speakers based on the order in which they had registered. As speakers began their presentations, they often introduced their affiliation and/or relationship to the neighbourhood and the issues being discussed. On each evening of hearings, the meeting followed a similar procedural pattern: Speakers made their presentations from the podium, speaking into the mic with the mayor acting as facilitator from the front of the room. Each presenter could speak for up to five minutes; the mayor kept time and warned people when their time was nearly through. After each five minute presentation, Council had the opportunity to ask questions to which the speaker could respond—up to an additional five minutes per councillor. If a speaker had more to say, they could sign up to speak again, and their name would be added to the bottom of the speakers’ list. The hearings continued in this way over five evenings from March 17 to April 14, 2011. Throughout the first several evenings, the hearings proceedings were broadcast in the foyer outside of Council Chambers on televisions mounted at the front of the room. The several-second delay between the actual and televised proceedings produced a strange echo effect; audience reactions to speakers could be heard in two distinct waves of clapping and/or shouting as presentations were transmitted from chamber to foyer.  Many of those speaking in opposition to the HAHR identified as low-income residents currently living in affordable units; some had grown up in the area. Many were representatives of 39  local organizations including the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (DNC), CCAP, Vancouver Network of Drug Users (VANDU) as well as other faith-based and non-profit groups. Some were affiliated with local businesses and several were active with city-wide sustainability and housing groups. A number identified themselves as having professional expertise in planning, architecture, or urbanism. Many others, including me, identified as neighbours or allies of low-income residents. Opponents often stressed that Chinatown-related items could not be considered in isolation from the Downtown Eastside as a whole. Many argued that what the neighbourhood really needed was not more condos, but more good quality affordable housing for its vulnerable, majority low-income residents. Further, numerous presenters complained that local low-income residents had not been informed or consulted about the HAHR.  Presenters who spoke in support of the HAHR proposals predominantly identified as representatives of Chinatown organizations, including the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee (VCRC), the Business Improvement Association (BIA), the Merchants Association, the Chinese Cultural Centre, a youth group and local benevolent associations. A number emphasized their historical familial connections with Chinatown. Others were affiliated with planning and heritage committees, had architectural or planning expertise, or lived and/or worked in the vicinity.  HAHR supporters often emphasized that Chinatown had indeed suffered a multi-decade decline. Historic buildings owned by benevolent societies were of particular concern. The buildings—central to the neighbourhood’s history and culture—were in desperate need of upgrading; but societies’ commitment to offering affordable rents meant they lacked the necessary resources. Many argued the proposed amendments to the City’s Transfer of Density policies would provide a mechanism for heritage property owners, including benevolent 40  societies, to raise funds for renovations. Finally, supporters stressed that the HAHR should be passed because it reflected more than 10 years of community planning process and a consensus on the part of the Chinatown community.  According to the official count contained in the Minutes of the HAHR public hearings’ Special Meeting of Council, 22 speakers made presentations in general support of HAHR, while 82 individuals spoke in opposition. An additional eight individuals are described as speaking on related matters “neither in support of, nor in opposition to” the application. In addition to spoken input, the minutes reflect how—over the course of the hearings—Council also received 18 letters or emails in support, 14 letters or emails in opposition and 8 letters or emails related to other aspects of the application (City of Vancouver, 2011e). Two days later, at a council meeting on April 16, 2011, councillors enacted their decision on the matter, with 9 of 11 councillors voting to pass the Chinatown-related items of the HAHR (City of Vancouver, 2011d).   1.5.1 Addendum to a struggle The HAHR hearings can be understood as a “cruces” or a time of transition and uncertainty that “provides a window into understanding how important decisions… are made” (Rogers, p. 917, after Fairclough). This encounter is given further significance through the present-day Chinatown activism which marks the unsettled nature of development in Chinatown and throughout the city. In the years since the HAHR hearings, Vancouver’s housing crisis has only intensified and accompanying policy debates, marked by the implementation of a provincial Foreign Buyers’ Tax, have stoked our city’s long history of anti-Asian sentiment. An April 2017 analysis conducted by the Georgia Straight paper found that one in five emails received by the provincial government on the topic of “foreign buyers, foreign owners, foreign money and/or 41  foreign investment and Vancouver real estate” were “overtly racist” (Lupick, 2017, para. 3, para. 1). In Chinatown, the implementation of the HAHR policies has enabled a series of new developments including, most visibly, three large 11-17 storey condominium buildings near the intersection of Main and Keefer streets in Chinatown South. Such developments, however, have coincided with mounting debate over development. Citing community concern about “the character and impacts of new buildings allowed under development policies adopted in 2011,” a review of Chinatown development policy is now underway (Chinatown Development Policy Changes - progress update from staff to community, 2017, p. 1). Proposed recommendations include reducing allowable building heights and widths, and reevaluating existing mechanisms for community review of new development.   In particular, community concern and debate has been catalyzed by a proposed new development at 105 Keefer street—a site which is surrounded by numerous community landmarks including Chinatown Memorial Square and monument, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden, Andy Livingston Park and historic East Pender Street. An array of youth-activist, resident, culture and heritage groups and civic leaders have rallied in opposition, arguing that the proposed new condo building will tower over culturally significant places and exacerbate the displacement of low-income locals, especially vulnerable seniors. Beginning in May of 2017, a massive public hearing on the issue attracted some 180 registered speakers in a discursive exchange reminiscent of the HAHR hearings’ opposing discourses of revitalization and affordability, yet which entailed different configurations of actors and issues. On June 13, 2017, Vancouver City Council voted to deny the project’s rezoning application on the basis of “overwhelming opposition from several generations of Vancouver residents” (C. Smith, 2017, para. 4). As I write, this struggle is ongoing; the developer has 42  submitted a fifth, revised, development proposal, with a decision by the City forthcoming. While a detailed analysis of this contemporary neighbourhood movement is beyond the scope of my inquiry, it offers a useful vantage point from which to consider the historical, shifting and contingent nature of the struggle reflected and enacted through HAHR hearing discourse. In chapter 9, I briefly consider these more recent dynamics as I return to questions of pedagogical invitation.  1.6 What Follows In Chapter 2, I lay out the approach to justice-oriented knowing-in-struggle which forms the conceptual basis of this thesis. I elaborate the theoretical tools apparent in the writing of Jean-Paul Sartre and Paula Allman to offer considerations that might help to elucidate possibilities marked by critical pedagogical practices of invitation-in-struggle.  In Chapter 3, I lay out my practices of inquiry into the public discursive dynamics of the HAHR hearings. I convey my analytical strategies in a series of analytical movements, movements towards materiality, towards subjective practice, towards history and towards future-oriented projects.  In Chapter 4, my analysis begins in speakers’ accounts of neighbourhood life and entails a movement towards materiality. I examine how highly divergent and often directly contradicting accounts of life in Chinatown can be helpfully explored in relation to dynamics and logics of capitalist urban development.  In Chapter 5, I begin to address what Sartre refers to as the progressive element of his method; I explore the hearings in terms of how speakers act creatively in relation to 43  circumstances and facts to make meaning. In Chapter 6, I continue my progressive exploration of speakers’ creative praxes, with a focus on questions of being.  In Chapter 7, my analysis begins in the hearings’ disjunctures of knowing and entails a movement towards history. I explore various understandings and tensions that appear rooted in past, considering the long history of social, material and political relations through which they have emerged and been sustained. In Chapter 8, the final layer of my analysis draws especially on Sartre’s notion of the project, by considering the trajectories and/or goals which particular practices of knowing could be said to pursue. In doing so, I suggest how community can be explored as a project of knowing.  In Chapter 9, I return to questions and tensions of knowing-in-struggle as invitation. I consider the extent to which my analysis elucidates potentials, or not, for justice-oriented solidarities, and I briefly reflect on what this might mean for activist practices of teaching and learning in struggle. 44  Chapter 2: Towards Knowing-in-Struggle as Invitation: A Historical, Material, Dialectical and Dialogical Approach  I need you so that I can know more. For me to know more, I need another subject of knowing.  (Freire as cited in Allman, Critical Education Against Global Capitalism, p. 174)  In this chapter, I lay out a theoretical approach to knowing-in-struggle which forms the conceptual basis of this thesis. I suggest how, taken together, the Marxist and existentialist thinking of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Freirean pedagogical approach of Paula Allman offer valuable conceptual tools for working-through the hearings’ complex discursive dynamics of connection and disconnection. Following an introduction to foundational theorizations of praxis and being-in-materiality, I focus on practices and forms of knowing that (drawing on Sartre) I call serial knowing, and which resonate with what Allman characterizes as uncritical or reproductive praxis. Next, I outline how Sartre’s notion of the praxis group together with Allman’s account of Freirean dialogical praxis offers considerations that might help to elucidate the possibilities for collective learning and action that are pursued in critical pedagogical practices of invitation. The conceptual framework laid out in this chapter provides the basis for the research practices and modes of analysis I describe in Chapter 3.  2.1 The ‘Is’ and the ‘Ought’: Critical, Dialectical Theories of Knowing-in-Struggle Understandings associated with knowing in social struggle are woven through many bodies of theory and practice. Within political science literature on social change and social movements, attention has variously been paid to motives, influences and opportunities for individual involvement, as well as to the theory and practice of organization and mobilization (Benford & Snow, 2000; Diani & McAdam, 2003; Fernandez & McAdam, 1988; McCarthy & 45  Zald, 1973; Snow & Benford, 1988; Tilly, 1988). However, in elaborating their activist approaches to inquiry, Frampton et al. draw attention to the location from which knowledge about social struggle is produced: Despite their differences, the various social movement theories all construct social movements as objects of analysis and focus their attention on social movements themselves rather than on explicating the social relations of struggle in which these movements are engaged… Consequently, the knowledge created by social movement theory is often of little use to activists inside social movements. (2006, p. 11) While clear delineation between the “inside” and outside of a given movement is (as these authors stress elsewhere) rarely possible, such critiques raise important questions about the nature of knowing in relation to questions of social change. For Frampton et al., (2006; following Marx) the point of analysis is not merely to understand change but to participate in making it. Likewise, Kemmis cites the engaged participatory work of Orlando Fals-Borda to emphasize that “research investigates reality in order to transform it… and, equally… transforms reality in order to investigate it” (2008, p. 132; see also Harvey, 1996). These engaged approaches extend beyond positivist efforts to account for the world as it is, to foreground the terrain and tensions that constitute the gap between “what is,” and projects grounded in claims of “what ought to be” (Adams & Horton, 1975, p. 214).  Such lines of argument signal an alternative, critical epistemology in which—in contrast to commonplace ideas that truth should be objective—knowledge is grasped as a historical and political instrument, articulated by situated knowers in response to the interrelated questions of how to understand the world and also how to intervene.9 In this project, I especially work from a                                                  9 While critical theory in the narrow sense refers to the work of the German theorists and philosophers known as the Frankfurt School, I am using the term more broadly in reference to a range of thinkers whose work has emerged 46  specific line of conceptual, methodological and pedagogical thinking that can be traced through the work of Jean-Paul Sartre (e.g., 1960a, 1960b) and through Paula Allman’s (e.g., 1999, 2001) elaboration of Freire’s (e.g., 1970) dialogical pedagogy and Marx’s dialectical method.  2.2 Philosophical Foundations: Grasping Praxis and the Twin Possibilities of Being Working from their respective locations and concerns, Sartre and Allman each endeavour to elaborate Marx’s dialectical conceptualization of consciousness as praxis. The term praxis, clarifies Barnes, refers to any human act which is not merely random, undirected, motion (Barnes, in Sartre, 1960b, p. xvi). For Sartre, positivist versions of social inquiry (including Marxism) were “appropriate for objects of [natural] science and not for the free process which is [humankind]” (Barnes, in Sartre, 1960b, p. xxviii). Allman (e.g. 1999, 2001) points to Marx’s early writing to illustrate that his theory of consciousness—derived from his dialectical mode of theorizing—actually predated the completion of his study of capitalism. Thus, she notes, Marx’s “critique of capitalism was equally a critique of the way that people thought about it” (2001, p. 163). Marx’s theory of consciousness as praxis, she explains, is “a theory of the unity of thought and action.” Allman clarifies how this “inner connection… is not a deterministic relation but, rather, a dialectical one… wherein each of the components in the relation mutually shapes and is shaped by the other” (2001, p. 6). “In other words,” she later writes, “we do not stop thinking when we act, and thinking itself is a form of action” (2001, p. 167). The concept of praxis underscores how our “life activity takes place within definite forms of social relations between                                                  within—and is informed by—various geo-historical contexts of, inter alia, anti-colonial, anti-racist, (dis)ability, indigenous, feminist, workers’ and leftist movements (on this, see Agger, 2006; Bohman, 2013). 47  people and between people and the objects of their world. And it is the nature of these relations that conditions the nature or quality of our thought” (Allman & Wallis, 1990, para. 12). Based on Marx’s thought, both Sartre and Allman devote attention to the praxis of being and knowing in relation to concrete and material elements of the world. For Sartre, Marx’s dialectical notion of praxis entails an understanding of the human condition as agency-in-circumstance, containing both passive (or objective) and active (or subjective) aspects. The passive elements relate to the facts, or givens, of one’s being (for example, our bodies, our language and our previous choices), as well as our historical circumstances formed by our environment and the choices of others before us (Sartre, 1943; see also Flynn, 2004). Nonetheless, these dialectical conceptualizations of consciousness underscore how, as we actively and sensuously experience the social, material and natural world, we are at the same time actively producing our consciousness (Allman, 1999, following Marx). Sartre articulated this active and creative dimension of praxis via his emphasis on choice. Sartre viewed human existence as defined via choices and actions which can be conceptualized in terms of future-oriented life projects to which we devote ourselves either completely or for a period of time. One’s project is not pre-planned, but interpreted through time, with this interpretation “constantly open to revision” (Onof, 2010, section 6a, para. 2). For Sartre, our subjectivity—or consciousness—allows us to be self-aware, to reflect on and thus transcend our current situation, for instance, by desiring an alternative future. Sartre’s theorization of authentic action is integrally linked to a feeling of apprehension he called anguish, which stems from one’s full appreciation of the ethical, intersubjective responsibilities associated with individual choice (Sartre, 1957).  48  This dialectical conceptualization thus seeks to grasp how each of us is both constrained and free (Hayim, 1980). Human freedom and creativity means that the nature and meaning of our lives is never preordained, yet also underscores how subjectivity must always occur in relation to the particular facts or givens of one’s situation. “Social reality,” states Carroll, “is always in the process of being created through the practices of people whose human capacities, material technologies, and social relations have been shaped in the past” (Carroll, 2004, p. 110). Following Marx, both Sartre and Allman have devoted their work to elaborating human agency and freedom, nonetheless they were equally aware that the extent to which praxis is critical and self-reflexive varies. Allman asserts that Marx’s theory of consciousness implies two “very different types of praxis” (2001, p. 167). The first type, she notes, is an uncritical or reproductive praxis which consists of simply participating in “the relations and conditions that we find already existing in the world and assum[ing] that these are natural and inevitable.” Further, “these material relations become integrated into our thinking” (Allman, 2001, p. 72). In this mode of being, our praxis—though conscious and vital—is aimed at reproducing existing relations instead of critically choosing them or some alternative (Allman, 1999, p. 34). However, Allman (2001) goes on to elaborate how Marx’s dialectical theory of consciousness implies a second, very different type of praxis. She describes how praxis can become critical or revolutionary when, instead of uncritically accepting and participating in unjust social relations, we focus on and direct our energies towards abolishing or transforming both the relation and the conditions it maintains. In this way, her analysis dovetail’s with Sartre’s (1943) emphasis on individuals’ capacity to transcend the “facts” or givens of their situation by recognizing objective circumstances as historically contingent. As I hope to show in the course of this thesis, I think Allman’s notions of critical and uncritical/reproductive praxis are useful—not as reifying 49  categories through which to designate particular actors or groups—but rather to indicate a set of critical questions that can be posed in relation to specific discursive practices-in-context.   2.2.1 Sartre and being-in-scarcity: The materiality of domination Sartre was concerned with elucidating human agency, freedom and responsibility, but over the course of his life he became increasingly concerned with how human action could not be free and intended all the time “because it is inextricably bound to materiality and necessity” (Hayim, 1980, p. 76). As people act upon matter, explains Hayim, “our material environment absorbs a great deal of our human powers and becomes laden with human values”; things begin to “live in communion” with people and become “inseparable from human sociality” (1980, p. 77, 79). In his 1960 Critique of Dialectical Reason (written in response to rigid versions of Marxism that saw human subjectivity as a mere reflection of material dynamics) Sartre developed theoretical categories through which to grasp the reciprocal influence between people and things. Poster describes how Sartre’s formulations fall into two broad groups:  the first … is devoted to the relation between “[people] and things” in which things present the great force and meaning. The second … is devoted to those situations in which human beings have the determining force in establishing the intelligibility of the situation. In both cases, there is a mixture of human beings and things; only the emphasis is different. (Poster, 1979, p. 49)  Sartre is careful to insist that matter by itself cannot produce a relation between individuals; the significance of materiality is defined through its relevance to human projects.  Sartre (1960a) used the term practico-inert to highlight how humans freely create or modify objects, systems, organizations, conventions and so forth, and then these meanings which have been created tend to harden through time (see also Detmer, 2008). Sartre’s practico-inert, as previously ’worked’ matter, thus reflects the sedimentation and “massification of disparate 50  individual actions” (Hayim, 1980, p. 81). But while matter is shaped by human activity, the practico-inert product that results is not necessarily in line with the intent of the original actor(s). Sartre theorized how practico-inert objects, structures and systems in our environment could function as what he called anti-praxis; these things could “absorb the labour power of others and turn it back against everyone” (Poster, 1979, p. 59), bringing “results which condition and limit the freedom of future praxis” (Hayim, 1980, pp. 79–80). For Sartre, human sociality has historically been characterized by the “ethics of scarcity” (Hayim, 1980, p. 78). While some needs (for instance, food and water) and some forms of scarcity are concrete, Sartre characterized the contemporary social world as conditioned by a more pervasive milieu of scarcity in which, through historical praxis, humans have interiorized scarcity as structuring our relations with the world and with others (Hayim, 1980). Sartre’s conceptualization of scarcity refers to an underlying, shared awareness of lack of both “the most immediate things which enable [humans] to stay alive and lack of those other things which are necessary to make people’s lives satisfying” (Barnes, in Sartre, 1960b, p. xiv). For Sartre, scarcity did not relate to human nature, or a particular individual’s interpretation of their situation. Rather, Sartre understood scarcity as the product of entire societies “totalis[ing] the social field as one in which there is not enough” (Poster, 1979, p. 55).  Nonetheless while Sartre understood scarcity as an omnipresent and central feature of human sociality, he did not view it as a natural or external quality of the world. Scarcity, for him, was not a fact, but a particular and contingent human project (see Sartre, 1960a, p. 123).10                                                  10 Hayim explains: “The fact that scarcity is a basic human relation to nature is not denied by Sartre, however, he feels that beyond a primary dependence on nature, additional and new forms of scarcity have been unnecessarily produced” (Hayim, p. 78). Whatever ‘natural’ scarcity may have existed historically, states Poster, advances in technology leave little doubt that today, scarcity is socially produced: “The locus of scarcity in the advanced 51  Sartre’s point, Hayim explains, is that ubiquitous relations of scarcity are a “chosen relationship between humanity and its environment” (Hayim, 1980, p. 78; emphasis in original), meaning that they need not continue into the future. To articulate the human implications of scarcity, Sartre developed the concept of seriality, in which scarcity conditions human relations such that we relate to the world and to others through things. Within scarcity, common forms of human sociality rest on a bond with materiality; individuals’ self-definition and sense of purpose are predominantly determined by their position among and in relation to objects (Hayim, 1980). Sartre (1960a) describes how any unorganized group of people can be understood as a serial collective; their togetherness is defined purely by a common product or external object, as in the case of a group of individuals waiting at a red light. The experience of seriality is routine, since our day-to-day encounters are constantly mediated by objects (such as the products we consume or the infrastructure of our cities).  Sartre used his idea of seriality to theorize how human relatedness is regularly characterized by hostility and conflict. Hayim describes how, in accepting scarcity as our way of relating to the world, each individual becomes understood as “a threat to the Other. Each person understands that every other person is a consumer of something they need: “The recognition that the Other is a threat, materially, promotes a network of relations based on fear and violence” (1980, p. 78). Of course, this violence is not necessarily overt. Instead, seriality can be marked by routine dynamics of competition (e.g., for seats on a bus), comparison and Othering in which                                                  societies today is not the struggle against nature, but the struggle against forms of domination generated within the context of the struggle against nature” (Poster, 1979, pp. 55–56, following Sartre). 52  individuals “assume for [themselves] and for others a dimension which is non-human” (Barnes, in Sartre, 1960b, p. xv). At the root of Sartre’s theorizing was his interest in how experiences of seriality were also characterized by individuals’ alienation from their own (individual and collective) capacities for agency. Via his theorizations (e.g., of seriality and anti-praxis), Sartre (1960a) develops an analysis of how materiality can not only come between people, but can also come between people and their own freedom. At the same time, his formulations maintain a focus on these dynamics as historical and contingent.  To advance the project of fundamental social change, both Allman and Sartre have devoted their scholarship to developing Marx’s theorization of the possibility for class-conscious collective action which does not entail the sacrifice of freedom. In Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960a) after starting with a focus on the individual, Sartre builds outward on this understanding to conceptualize relations with others and within collectivities. Sartre thus outlines how when a serial collective experiences a common deprivation, there exists a common objective for praxis. Sartre’s praxis group, begins to be formed when ‘I realize that an Other shares my need and that I share the need of the Other’; this awareness of a common purpose leads to mutual engagement in concerned action. In the praxis group, suddenly humans and not commodities have become the centre of this group formation (see Hayim, 1980, pp. 88–93). It is this idea of the praxis group that, as I will discuss (below), re-emerges in the context of Freire’s dialogical praxis.   2.2.2 The materiality of place: Attention to space, time and flow In the context of the HAHR hearings, Sartre’s analysis helps to focus attention to how Chinatown’s qualities of materiality lay at the centre of hearing dynamics of struggle. At the 53  same time, neither Sartre nor Allman (to my knowledge) deal in a focused way with the particular material qualities of urban development that, as I will detail, are so significantly reflected in hearing debate.11 To develop my approach to the materiality of Chinatown as place, I have looked to the work of particular urban geographers and especially analyses offered by David Harvey, whose work (see, e.g., 1989; 2009, 2012) has devoted hundreds of pages to investigating urban development in relation to globalized capitalism. In articulating the foundational dialectical principles of his work, Harvey emphasizes attention to dynamics of flow, space and time. Dialectical approaches, notes Harvey, accept “the general argument that process, flux, and flow should be given a certain ontological priority in understanding the world … [and] that this is precisely the reason why we should pay so much more careful attention to … ‘permanences’”: a term used by Whitehead (1985; as cited in Harvey, 1996) to mean those things which surround us (such as institutions, systems and discourses), which we construct to solidify certain aspects of our lives and which have considerable significance, power and (often literal) concreteness (Harvey, 1996, pp. 7–8). Together with Ollman, Harvey emphasizes how dialectical conceptualizations of inner, or internal, relations are understood to have “temporal as well as spatial dimensions” (Ollman, 1998, p. 349). Harvey describes how “values inhere in socio-spatial processes” such that “the struggle to change the former is simultaneously a struggle to change the latter (and vice versa)” (1996, p. 12). Ollman describes how this focus on spatial and historical flux is integral to critical                                                  11 Poster suggests that one inadequacy within Sartre’s conceptualization of matter is that it is “much too flat and undifferentiated. It does not account for the difference between machines and buildings on the one hand and social institutions, patterned ways of behaviour, laws, norms and rules on the other” (1979, p. 75). 54  inquiries that seek to interrogate contemporary social arrangements in light of possibilities for future change: Investigating potential is taking the longer view, not only forward to what something can develop into but also backward to how it has developed up to now. This longer view, however, must be preceded by taking a broader view, since nothing and no one changes on its or [their] own but only in close relationship with other people and things, that is, as part of an interactive system. (Ollman, 1998, p. 344) For Harvey, this relational understanding underscores how “setting boundaries with respect to space, time, scale, and environment then becomes a major strategic consideration in the development of concepts, abstractions, and theories … any substantial change in these boundaries [may] radically change the nature of the concepts …” (1996, p. 53). As I show in subsequent chapters, these orientations which are enlisted by Harvey and others help to elaborate questions of matter in terms of spacialized and historical social-material process. Harvey’s thinking, together with structural theorizations of neighbourhood change (e.g., Lees, Slater, & Wyly, 2008; N. Smith, 2002) and local histories of the area (e.g., Anderson, 1991; Blomley, 2004; Ley, 1994; Quastel et al., 2012), make possible a richer and more nuanced grasp of the dynamics and logics through which relations of seriality play out vis a vis the materiality of place in contexts of Chinatown and the HAHR hearings.  2.3 Pursuing Invitation: Conceptualizing the Twin Possibilities of Knowing-in-Struggle  Understanding human consciousness as praxis has implications for grasping relations of knowing and for notions of truth. This conceptualization holds that knowing—as praxis—is both conditioned and creative. The pre-existing circumstances of peoples’ lives (both material and conceptual) can become integrated into our thinking through our lived, sensual engagement with 55  them (see Allman, 2007). Nonetheless, knowing also entails a creative, future-oriented element; in Sartre’s (1943) formulation, we transcend, engage with and make meaning of, our situations in light of our needs and projects. Grasping knowing in relation to both pre-existing circumstances and future projects suggests the need to understand truths―the products of knowing―as historical. This dialectical theorization denotes continuous movement in which our circumstances influence our goals and projects, and our projects influence our praxes of knowing. What we know, in turn, influences how we engage in the world, acting back upon our circumstances to construct—collectively and over time—the world in which we live. Likewise, Allman’s work is focused on conveying how the creative praxis of knowing entails the twin possibilities of reproducing the current social order or, on the contrary, revolution. Thus, in contrast to other understandings of praxis which envision sequences of action and thought, or of practice and theory (Allman, 2001), Marx’s dialectical formulation forms the basis of Sartre’s (and also Allman’s) attempt to explore history as “a double movement of the ‘internalisation of the external and the externalization of the internal’” (Sartre, 1960b as cited in Poster, 1979, p. 22). In the sections that follow, I work from Sartre’s and Allman’s thinking to lay out the two-sided theorizations of praxis (i.e., as serial / reproductive and dialectical / dialogical) that I have found most useful as tools of analysis.  2.3.1 Serial knowing: Sartre’s analytic reason and Allman’s reproductive praxis In her critique of “uncritical / reproductive praxis” Allman emphasizes how, within the historically specific relations of capitalism, individuals tend to experience the world through various forms of separation, which Marx referred to as the violence of abstraction. For instance, notes Allman (2007), social relations of capital routinely require practices of alienation in which 56  individuals surrender their capacities to other people and/or to things, as in when workers alienate their labour to produce profit for corporations, or when voters alienate their political power to politicians who make decisions on their behalf.  Allman stresses how, in the contemporary and globalized world, opposing aspects and results of social relations are often separated in both time and space. Through practico-inert arrangements of globalized production and exchange, we have largely alienated our powers to know and control how the objects and infrastructures of our everyday lives are made and used. Further, it is future generations who will experience the full environmental and social implications of these contemporary practices. Because being and knowing are internally related, states Allman (2007), these experiences of geographic and temporal fragmentation are taken up in practices of knowing, such that our thoughts tend to divide that which should be understood as a relation. In the course of my analysis, I draw on Allman’s work to seek out and examine particular conceptual logics—for instance, idealism, reification, dichotomization and/or conflation—through which certain public arguments and discourses seem to miss the relational and historical-material dynamics of the social world. Helpful conceptual tools pertaining to questions of public knowing in capitalism are also offered via Dorothy Smith’s (e.g., 1984; 1990) analysis of textually-mediated social organization. Smith’s work explores the situated practices and multi-site relations through which engagement with institutional texts (like memos and reports) arranges subjective praxis (see Campbell & Gregor, 2002). Smith explores how routine uses of texts mediate and organize practices of thinking just like an agenda shapes a meeting. Smith describes how, in the creation of textual representations of lived experience, the interests of “extra-local” institutional actors 57  and “trans-local”12 relations influence particular uses of language and social facts to build organizational versions of what people say, do, or know (see e.g., 1990, pp. 120-158). For Smith, as local settings are penetrated and organized according to institutional categories and functions, ruling takes place; power is exercised in local settings to accomplish “trans-local” interests (Smith, 1987).  2.3.1.1 Ideology as practice: Ideological knowing Both Allman and Smith offer useful elaborations through which to interrogate tensions of knowing-in-struggle in terms of ideology. In contrast to common uses of ideology to mean a given set of beliefs (e.g., conservativism or socialism), both Allman and Smith treat ideology as social practice. Drawing on Larrain’s (1983 in Allman 2001) elaboration of Marx’s theory of negative ideology, Allman clarifies that ideology disrupts understandings of reality not by presenting mythical falsities, but by framing our thinking within certain horizons or parameters (Allman, 2001, following Hall, 1982). This theorization, she emphasizes, is different from the notion of “false consciousness” that is often incorrectly attributed to Marx (Allman, 2001, p. 6). Allman describes how ideological public discourses are often convincing because of how they are, to some degree, real:  The ideological forms of consciousness/praxis that arise from capitalist reality actually reflect and thus seem to connect with and make sense of the fragmented way in which we tend to experience capitalist reality... This is why they are able to work so powerfully, yet often subtly, as justifications that legitimate the capitalist form of existence. Ideological thinking arises quite naturally from capitalist reality and therefore does not necessarily require a perpetrator. (Allman, 2001, p. 7)                                                  12 Smith (e.g., 1987, 1990) uses “extralocal” to refer to settings that are outside the boundaries of everyday experience, and “translocal” to emphasize how social relations occur across and thus connect, these local settings. 58  Smith uses “ideological knowing” to refer more specifically to partial or fragmented truths generated and used according to the priorities of governing entities. For Smith, as individuals “activate,” or engage with and take up institutional texts and protocols, they bring into being (and make real) something that otherwise seems to exist only in the virtual form of words, ideas, directives and policy (Campbell & Gregor, 2002). Smith further highlights how, as ideological versions of knowledge are produced and activated, the official, objectified version is routinely taken for granted to describe the actual (D. E. Smith, 1990). In the context of my project, these approaches help to centre practice—addressing concepts, beliefs, ideology and other categories of public knowing or talk as activities that occur in local settings (Campbell & Gregor, 2002; Smith, 1987).  2.3.1.2 Reification and alterity: Analytic thinking and double learning Both Sartre and Allman have sought to underscore that, while pre-existing forms of consciousness (knowledges and concepts) were produced by the life activity of people who came before us, it is common to communicate via words or labels that cast them as static things and obscure their relational origins (Allman, 1999; Allman & Wallis, 1990). Allman explains how common epistemologies (approaches to knowing) tend to assume a dualism, or dichotomy, between thought and reality. Once thought and reality are viewed as separate, one or the other is assigned priority such that knowledge is seen to result from either “the correct philosophical thinking about reality” (idealism) or “the empirical / scientific observation of reality” (mechanical, ahistorical materialism) (Allman, 2007, p. 60). For Marx, these “bourgeois” modes of knowing were a product of life in capitalism (see Allman, 2007). Following Marx’s critique, Allman describes how the implication of either form of dualism is that knowledge is no longer 59  grasped as relational—where knowing occurs in relation to being—but is abstracted and reified (as a thing). Seen to be objective and unchangeable, such concepts are then used to understand the past, present and future—constituting “transhistorical” truths about the nature of the reality to which they refer (Allman, 1999, p. 37). Likewise, Barnes explains that for Sartre, “our language” does not recognize “the reality of the dialectical movement in history” (Barnes, in Sartre, 1960b, pp. xxviii–xxix). Via this line of critique, both Allman and Sartre offer distinctions that are useful in interrogating routine practices of public discourse, audible in the hearings, in which pre-existing social categories and ‘facts’ are enlisted in problematic and influential ways. Sartre contrasted his dialectical mode of thinking with analytic reason in which “pluralists, empiricists and positivists…. chopped the social field into discrete pieces” (Poster, 1979, p. 27). Poster recounts Sartre’s assessment of how (while analytic reason was sometimes useful) such conceptualizations atomized individuals and couldn’t grasp the social world in terms of dynamic movement, for instance, towards social transformation. Sartre was critical of his sociological contemporaries who, for instance, studied crime by studying traits in criminals; for Sartre, this reduced people to thing-like essences instead of illuminating how living people actively make choices (and reject others) in a given context. Further, this mode of thinking both precluded critical thought on the part of the knower—confining their practices of knowing to pre-established categories or variables—and legitimized the status quo by isolating individuals from the moving and conflictual totality in which each act is undertaken (Poster, 1979, pp. 27–28). Further Allman and Wallis highlight Marx’s grasp of how, when people are born into such arrangements, abstracted concepts seem to have “no history, [and] no development”; they just are (Marx as cited in Allman & Wallis, 1990, p. 42). Understanding knowing as praxis suggests 60  that as each of us engages with these such knowledges, we are simultaneously learning to integrate—often uncritically—the array of complex and often fraught historical relations upon which these notions implicitly depend.  Both Sartre and Allman are further concerned to elucidate internal relations between knowing and being. When knowledge is understood as a thing, notes Allman (2007), the only possible way of relating to it is acquisitive: Knowledge is to be possessed or obtained. The ontology—or idea of being—that that follows is that some people (e.g., researchers, teachers, experts and other leaders) discover, collect and accumulate knowledge which they subsequently impart to others (e.g., students, or a lay public) who are recipients. In this view, states Allman, being is a state of either transmitting or acquiring pre-existing knowledge, while becoming is an additive process of accumulating more knowledge or skill. Grasping knowing as praxis thus entails recognizing a dynamic of double-learning. The routine take-up of everyday ideas can not only entail an abstracted experience of the world, but can also entail abstracted experiences of what it means to know. Allman stresses how routine engagement with capitalism’s reifying ontology and acquisitive epistemology coincides with a sense of alienation from one’s creative powers of knowing. The perception that a given fact is produced somewhere else, by someone else—and is consequently ‘fixed’—obscures each subsequent knower’s agency in choosing whether and how they engage with this knowledge, for example, by critically scrutinizing its historical and material origins, or using, testing and developing it in light of a practical project. Similarly, D. E. Smith’s (e.g., 1987) work on textually mediated knowing explores how routine engagements with institutional texts frequently entail such dynamics of alienation. 61  Sartre likewise explores how these modes of knowing not only tend to instill alterity (sub-human difference) in other people by objectifying them via analytic reason, but also instills alterity in the knower, who alienates their own powers of knowing to pre-existing ‘experts’ or other sources of ‘fact.’ In the Critique, Sartre uses the example of the Great Fear13 to illustrate how, in seriality, individuals routinely take-up opinions and beliefs that confirm their already-existing experience of Otherness and threat. For Sartre, our routine experiences of alienation and impotence render us likely to accept analyses that resonate with the sense of being acted-upon by Others. The sense that history is made “elsewhere” is bolstered by capitalism’s geographical, structural-material and social distance from other people and events which renders people unable to scrutinize, question or confirm for ourselves whether a particular claim is true. Via this formulation, Sartre is concerned to outline how many common practices of knowing are not critical or authentic—in the sense of fully acknowledging the freedom and responsibility that the praxis of knowing entails—but instead entail the passive acceptance of a pre-established “Idea” (see Sartre, 1960a, pp. 297–300; Poster, 1979, pp. 71–72). In these serial modes of being and knowing, individuals thus interiorise a relation to the world “in which things form the active element” (Poster, 1979, p. 73). As in Allman’s elaboration of reproductive praxis, Sartre refers to such practices as “the free praxis of passivity” (Poster, 1979, p. 74).                                                   13 A period of general panic and unrest at the start of the French Revolution in the summer of 1789, when various rumours about the cause of grain shortages circulated in rural areas. In some areas, rumours reported gangs of roving bandits spurring local peasants to arm themselves in self-defense (see e.g., Llewellyn & Thompson, n.d.). 62  2.3.2 From serial knowing to critical intersubjective learning-in-struggle Sartre’s and Allman’s theorizing can be placed within a much broader field of critical theorizations that pose important challenges to forms of social analysis that entail the forgetting of history; that is, the awareness that social, cultural and political-economic ‘facts’ (e.g., markets, states and borders, family formations and ideas of race and gender, among others) do not objectively exist, but have been created and/or perpetuated through the situated activities of embodied actors. However in attending to dynamics of power, many critical analyses risk limiting a knower’s gaze to dynamics of individual and collective praxis that Allman characterizes as uncritical and reproductive and which Poster places within the first of Sartre’s two broad categories, the one in which “things present the greater force and meaning” (above, on page 49). Likewise, citing the work of Foucault (e.g., 1979), Frampton et al. state that those who pay meticulous attention to the intricacies of how power operates “are often in danger of becoming mesmerized by its splendour” (2006, p. 251). A fixation on ruling can produce analyses which are “trapped” within the existing terrain of negotiation and unable to imagine any alternative, thus confining and obscuring possibilities for resistance and transformation (Frampton et al., 2006; Kinsman, 2006). This concern with possibility is not simply about epistemological correctness, but rather pertains to ethico-practical questions of commitment and utility in effecting change.  For both Sartre and Allman, articulation of reproductive and thing-centred modes of life could only be grasped in relation to modes of being and knowing that are free, creative and/or critical. Allman emphasizes that “individuals only integrate these external [forms] of consciousness by actively engaging with them” (2007, p. 32). Likewise, Sartre’s elaboration of seriality underscores how, when individuals interiorise “relations in which matter predominates 63  over human beings” it is because of their own action (Poster, 1979, p. 74). The point here, as I understand it, is not to assign blame for the reproductive modes of interiorization, but rather to underscore the possibility for practices of being and knowing through which existing relations can critically scrutinized and changed. What I find useful is how the formulations of both authors are designed to hold in view human capacities for what Allman refers to as critical/revolutionary praxis: those thoughtful courses of action through which relations of domination can be resisted and transformed. Writing about Sartre’s approach, Poster describes how an emphasis on freedom and agency should be grasped as ethical commitment: “There are no epistemological grounds upon which to sanctify absolutely the theoretical decision to conceptualize history from the perspective of revolution or creativity” (1979, p. 21). In the final section of the chapter, I consider how the formulations elaborated by Sartre and Allman connect with other critical approaches to offer considerations for exploring the HAHR hearings in terms of the latent possibilities for justice-oriented knowing and acting together which are suggested by dynamics of invitation.  2.3.2.1 Theorizing transformed being and knowing: Collective and dialogical praxis It is in response to these serial modes of relating to ourselves, to others and to the world, that Sartre theorized possibilities for transformative group praxis and Freire developed his dialogical conceptualization of conscientização, or dialogical praxis. Clarifying Gramsci’s theorization of hegemony and drawing especially on Freire’s approach, Allman (1999; 2001) provides a theoretical and experiential analysis of how historical, material and dialectical modes of critique can be applied within intersubjective relations of knowing; her account emphasizes what she describes as the two fundamental dimensions of Freire’s dialogical pedagogy: a 64  transformed, critical, relation to knowledge, and transformed cooperative relations between knowers.  To illustrate, Allman contrasts Freire’s dialogism with common forms of discussion into which people enter in order to articulate what they already know or think. As a method of learning, notes Allman, discussion “also helps people to learn the skill of arguing their interpretation or their knowledge against that which is expressed by others” (1999, p. 99). She contrasts this mode of knowing with Freirean dialogue:  Dialogue, in contrast and complete opposition, involves the critical investigation of knowledge or thinking. Rather than focusing only on what we think, dialogue requires us to ask of ourselves and each other why we think what we do. In other words, it requires us to “problematize” knowledge. (Allman, 1999, p. 100) Allman emphasizes Freire’s use of dialectical thinking in developing his pedagogical challenge to conventional, reifying, modes of knowing which he critiqued as banking pedagogy (e.g., Freire, 1970, pp. 71–74). Freire’s approach, notes Allman, requires knowers to move from bourgeois notions of knowledge as a static thing which we do or do not possess and to view it instead as something we use rather than acquire, a “mediation or tool between people and the world which either helps or hinders a critical perception of reality” (1999, pp. 97–98).  In this way, at the centre of the transformed relations of both Sartre’s and Freire’s versions of the praxis group, are interrelated individual and collective processes of humanization. As in Sartre’s praxis group (or, group-in-fusion) wherein awareness of a common purpose leads to mutual engagement in concerned action, Freire’s dialogical praxis entails transformed relations to the world and to others. Akin to Sartre’s emphasis on our human capacities for reflexive negation, Allman outlines how Freire’s approach enables a transformed relation to 65  knowledge which enables knowers to “treat knowledge as an object that can be subjected to collective, critical scrutiny” (Allman, 2001, p. 173).  In her account of dialogical learning, Allman describes how each person enters the learning experience with different types of knowledge (practical, experiential and theoretical) which they place before the group so that it can be tested and, as appropriate, “refined, rejected, or changed and developed into a deeper and richer or more complex version” (2001, p. 174). Thus, as in the “moral du nous” of Sartre’s praxis group—wherein capacity originates in the presence of group members and the group is an ‘instrument’ through which to carry out shared and concrete projects (Hayim, 1980)—dialogical learning “enables people to dialectically conceptualize their reality” as “each participant helps the other, and all are helped to explore the historical and material origins of their thought” (Allman, 1999, p. 101). In the course of this exploration, Allman states that, rather than a final or conclusive interpretation, “what we need are tools of analysis that we can employ in understanding capitalism as it moves and develops in a dialectic process of progress and regress.” This, she asserts, “is what Marx offers us” (2001, p. 31).  2.3.2.2 A historical, material orientation to dialectical critique and future possibility A central focus of Allman’s work is to elaborate conceptual tools offered in the work of Marx and developed by Freire and Gramsci. Marx’s distinctive philosophy of internal—or inner—relations understands entities or phenomena as connected, not just in the sense that there is a feedback loop between them, but such that they “mutually and reciprocally shape and determine one another” (Allman, 2007, p. 77). Allman outlines the leitmotivs within Marx’s writings—including the ideas of historical specificity and the relationship between preconditions 66  and results—as well as the building blocks of his open-ended dialectical thinking. It is these dialectical principles of analysis that undergird the critical, yet possibility-oriented, formulations of Sartre and Allman that I have described throughout this chapter.  Carroll emphasizes how dialectics as critical method amounts to a set of—not answers—but questions that guide social inquiry by “directing our gaze towards the historical, relational, and emergent” qualities of reality (2004, p. 110, following Sherman). Of every thing or event we encounter, dialectics invites us to consider “by what process[es] [it was] constituted and how is it sustained” (Harvey, 1996, p. 50), “what had to happen in the past for the present to become what it did” (Ollman, 1998, p. 349) and “what kind of architecture (in the broadest sense of that term) … we collectively want to create for the socio-ecological world in which we have our being.” “Not to pose that question,” states Harvey, “is to evade the most crucial task confronting all forms of human action” (Harvey, 1996, p. 14). When this relational, historical and practical understanding is missing, notes Carroll (2004, following Ollman), the present is viewed as “walled off” from either the past or the future and the current form of something—e.g., “the family,” or “the economy,”—is mistaken for “what it is in full, and what it could only be” (Ollman as cited in Carroll, 2004, p. 112). Ollman contrasts these modes of knowing with dialectical methods that—in exploring phenomena in terms of their present, past and future (potentials)—seek to grasp the “internal relation between actuality and potentiality” (1998, p. 343). To this end, he conveys a method of working back and forth along temporal as well as spatial dimensions. Ollman has described dialectical analysis as a kind of dance wherein the knower engages in steps that move from the world as it is, through relational and historical processes of inquiry, to practices of exposition—communicating one’s analysis to others—and finally to testing this knowledge through praxis. He contrasts these 67  dialectical movements with “futurological” attempts to peer from the present directly to the future and “utopian efforts, that go directly to the future, dispensing with the present altogether” (Ollman, 1998, p. 352). In the context of my project, I have found both Harvey’s (1996) and Ollman’s (1998) accounts of dialectical analysis helpful in exploring the hearing’s many clashes of truth and also in developing my practices of inquiry (see Chapter 3). But while both Harvey and Ollman are well aware of the transformative potential associated with critical and creative modes of human praxis, in some cases I think that their emphasis on relational process and tendencies entails potential for losing sight of the actors who experience and respond to these logics in a range of (reproductive, creative and/or critical) ways. For instance, Ollman describes how grasping capitalism’s relational contradictions points to “the likely changes up ahead” (1998, p. 350); meanwhile, Harvey asserts:  Transformative behaviour—”creativity”—arises out of the contradictions which attach both to the internalized heterogeneity of “things” and out of the more obvious heterogeneity present within systems … Out of these oppositions, themselves constituted out of the flow of process, creative tensions and transformative behaviours arise … (Harvey, 2004, p. 128) These insights contribute much to understandings of historical, geo-spatial events, processes and phenomena, however I look to the work of both Allman and Sartre for their detailed attention to developing a dialectical grasp of the human condition. While Allman shares Harvey’s concern to lay out how Marx’s understanding “pertains to the movement and development of the material reality of capitalism” she is careful to continually emphasize how these movements and developments “result from human beings actively producing their material world and with it their consciousness as well” (2001, p. 4). Her work (following Marx, Freire and Gramsci) elaborates pedagogical approaches through which knowers might move from 68  abstracting, alienating practices of knowing towards critical dialogical praxis within transformed relations of recognition and mutuality. Sartre articulates his historical and future-oriented approach to investigation via his Progressive-Regressive method. This procedure endeavours to uncover historical and socioeconomic conditions in a “regressive” logic moving from biographical and social facts to the conditions of their possibility, followed by a “progressive” investigation of subjects’ creative practice (Flynn, 2004). Sartre’s approach thus seeks to render intelligible human praxis “as an organising project which transcends material conditions towards an end and inscribes itself, through labour, in… matter” (Sartre, 1960a, p. 734). Put simply, praxis is explored in terms of where it is coming from and where it is endeavouring to go. Further in his elaborations of anguish and of scarcity—with its milieu of hostility and threat—Sartre’s theorizing invites knowers to consider not only rational and intellectual but also experiential and emotional levels of human experience.   2.3.2.3 Knowing together in difference and struggle The hearings’ milieu of confrontation and struggle clearly differs from Allman’s articulation of dialogical learning which is characterized by transformed relations of recognition and cooperation. At the same time, my task in this thesis is explore how the hearing’s dynamics of hostility, opposition and injustice were not without contingencies and fissures that might signal intersubjective potentials for justice-oriented change. To explore the hearing’s relations of knowing in light of these dynamics of implausibility, yet possibility, I also draw from a cluster of critical, engaged approaches that help to blur perceived lines between struggle, learning and inquiry.  69  In particular, I draw on a line of thinking that is rooted in the feminist sociological thinking of Dorothy Smith. Smith is concerned to articulate how critical analysis can begin in the tensions and contradictions experienced in the everyday world, treating these as a “ground in experience” from which to explore how routine modes of being and knowing are coordinated by projects with which actors may be uncomfortable (D. E. Smith, 2005, p. 8; see also Campbell & Gregor, 2002). Smith (1987, 1992) grasps the social world as ontologically present through the “coordinated activities of people located historically” (Griffith, 1998, p. 370), and thus characterizes different locations and perspectives as different positionings from which the social can be mapped: Grappling with actualities of extensive social relations is best taken up by inquiries opening up a number of different windows, disclosing a number of different viewpoints from which the workings of a whole (though “open-ended”) complex of relational processes come into view. (Smith, 1987, p. 177)  Drawing on her experiences in women’s movements, Smith conveys knowing as project that is both social and continual, stating that it “must be a work of cooperation” (1987, p. 154): “Since knowledge is essentially socially organized, it can never be an act or an attribute of individual consciousness” (Smith, 1992, p. 91). In this respect, Smith’s thinking offers a means of grasping how collective and/or cooperative relations of learning are not rooted in sameness. For Allman, the power of Freire’s dialogical learning lies in transformed relations between group members such that each recognizes the contributions of the other: “I need you so that I can know more. For me to know more, I need another subject of knowing” (Freire, 1974 as cited in Allman, 2001). Like both Allman’s and Freire’s, Smith’s work helps to envision a systematic means of working from particular, everyday, experiences to explore generalized and generalizing relations of ruling (Griffith, 1998, p. 370). For Carroll, this entails a commitment to understand 70  the systemic dimensions of human experience and the way in which seemingly separate issues are interconnected (2006, p. 234). This trajectory of thinking has been further developed in the work of activist-scholar George Smith, Dorothy Smith’s student and collaborator who took up her ontology of social relations within activist sites of inquiry and struggle. In his extension of Dorothy Smith’s thinking as Political Activist Ethnography, George Smith (1990) sought to elucidate the daily challenges and confrontations of social struggle as a means of investigating the social organization of power. In their elaboration of George Smith’s approach, Frampton et al. state: “The direction G. Smith’s research took was established by the course of confrontation, which in turn was determined by analyzing what he had learned in research that was reflexively organized in relation to movement activism” (2006, p. 35). When such practices of opposition are understood to have pedagogical qualities (as I’ve suggested in Chapter 1), they might also be read in terms of the internally related, and potentially reciprocal, relations of teaching and learning conveyed by Freire (see Allman, 1999, p. 96). Further, Frampton et. al suggest the need to move beyond binary understandings of “activist” and “researcher,” stating “this must be done in the very process of doing activist research and knowledge production” (2006, p. 258). Along these lines, drawing on his involvement in Asia-Pacific and global anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles, Choudry has used the term “struggle knowledge” to make visible how engagements in social struggle are also “important—albeit contested and contradictory—terrains of learning, knowledge production and research” (2014a, p. 88; see also 2014b). Such approaches—together with the thinking of Sartre and Allman—offer formulations through which to begin envisioning potential for justice-oriented 71  intersubjective learning, even from within everyday encounters characterized by conditions and practices of injustice, difference and struggle.   72  Chapter 3: Projecting Possibility: Working out Critical, Dialectical, Dialogical Inquiry-in-Struggle  The order of the moves is: present, past, future … in the same way our present provides the key for understanding the past, the [possible] future provides the key for understanding the present.  (Bertell Ollman, Why Dialectics? Why Now? pp. 352–353)   In this chapter, I lay out my practices of examining and theorizing the discursive dynamics of the HAHR hearings. I articulate these strategies as a process that began with how I oriented myself to the project, that is, how I drew on conceptual-practical traditions described in chapters one and two to formulate my line of inquiry and research questions. This conceptual orienting was followed by my practices of documentation, exploration and analysis and writing. In my discussion, I signal how these strategies of inquiry flow from the conceptual approaches in which my project is rooted. As I describe towards the end of this chapter, my analytical practices can be understood in terms of several interrelated dimensions, or analytical movements: movements towards materiality, towards creativity, towards history and towards future possibility. In subsequent chapters, I present these dimensions of analysis in sequence, to foreground how I put theory to work in exploring the hearings’ tensions of knowing.  3.1 Orientations to Inquiry: Standpoint, Problematic, Struggle Knowledge and Possibility The cluster of conceptual approaches I’ve outlined in Chapter 2 has pivotally informed my line of inquiry and research questions. These key, orienting dynamics include the notions of standpoint, problematic, struggle knowledge and rootedness in a possibility-oriented project.  73  3.1.1 Inquiry as grounded in standpoint My concern to grasp the hearings as an encounter of public knowing-in-struggle has been shaped not only by my preliminary conceptual thinking but also by my embodied, practical engagement in the hearings and in other contexts of justice-oriented community work. This rooting of inquiry in my own location and sensibilities draws on Smith’s notion of standpoint, which means “a ground in experience” from which inquiry can begin. (D. E. Smith, 2005, p. 8) This idea is positioned in contrast to conventional forms of sociology which treat a knower’s location as a problem of bias, and which assume it is possible for a knower to somehow stand outside the social world that is being investigated. For Smith, it is from this rooting in experience that a research-writer constructs a research problematic. Smith’s grasp of standpoint as a point of entry shares similarities with Sartre’s awareness that each act of knowing comes from somewhere (i.e., it originates in a knowers’ embodied location) and is simultaneously going somewhere (it is undertaken in light of a particular question or goal, which is itself reflective of one’s circumstances). This thesis has been shaped through my social positioning as white, cis, straight, able-bodied and middle class—as these are mediated by privileges of Anglo-European settler heritage—together with my previous work in the worlds of urban planning and local government. While I arrived at the hearings without technical expertise in planning or property market dynamics, the hearings’ predominant pro-revitalization discourses were familiar to me. My return to the hearings through research was inspired by my desire to critically unpack the pro-development understandings that are in many ways reflective of my own Eurocentric, colonial and classed cultural heritages. These sensibilities are also reflected in my conceptual framework: I have gravitated towards those authors who have shared my concern to work from a place of embeddedness within Western 74  liberal, capitalist, colonial and white supremacist cultural sensibilities, in order to suggest how these might be dismantled and critically transformed. However, alongside these efforts to scrutinize the familiar, has been an awareness of my unfamiliarity and outside-ness vis a vis the “offstage” personal and collective histories, understandings and experiences of hearing speakers—especially as these have been shaped by, inter alia, white supremacist racialization and/or classed, ageist, heteronormative and health-related experiences of oppression.    3.1.2 Taking sides: The problematic as a recurring puzzle for someone For Smith, a research problematic often emerges through as sense of discomfort and/or as a “bifurcated consciousness,” in which a knower senses a “disjuncture … between different versions of reality—knowing something from a ruling versus an experiential perspective” (Campbell & Gregor, 2002, p. 48). Based on her own experience of double knowing, Smith developed the term “problematic” to highlight a “possible set of questions that may not have been posed or a set of puzzles that do not yet exist in the form of puzzles but are ‘latent’ in the actualities of the experienced world” (D. E. Smith, 1987, p. 91). Smith’s method, institutional ethnography, thus suggests an approach through which to explore how such puzzles are often not simply a matter of differences in individual perspective. Instead, these tensions can be taken to signal how everyday knowing is organized via historically longer and geographically broader social and material relations. Smith’s line of thinking has especially informed my first research question.14                                                   14 Within the HAHR hearings, how do speakers’ public testimonies help to elucidate the political meanings of development within the material and social relations of capitalism, as these have developed historically in relation to intersecting practices of colonization, racism, hetero-patriarchy and other modes of social domination? 75  Integral to Smith’s notion of the problematic and to her approach more generally is her insistence that the practice of inquiry is also a practice of “taking sides” (Campbell & Gregor, 2002, p. 48). This is not to say that the products of my analysis are predetermined in accordance with the claims of certain actors, but rather that the structure of my inquiry is necessarily rooted in relation to particular concerns (and not others); it is “framed from the perspective of those who need to know” (Campbell & Gregor, 2002, p. 48). The hearings’ confusing mix of understandings—which reflected dramatic opposition but also many connections—arose for me and, perhaps, for others who were also concerned to better understand and intervene in that discursive encounter from the perspective of advancing potentials for justice-oriented understanding and action.  My line of inquiry also sides with a broader set of concerns to navigate challenges of activist knowing as invitation more generally as these recur across myriad contexts wherein justice-oriented assertions are met with counternarratives shaped by status quo arrangements and forms of expertise. This broader research problematic is evident within the questions (introduced in Chapter 1) I have posed about tensions which seem to recur across multiple local moments of social struggle.15 Campbell and Gregor (2002) describe how this awareness of recurrence or repetition can signal how everyday practices (including practices of knowing) are significantly shaped by social and material relations that extend beyond a given local site.                                                   15 How might advocate-knowers critically unpack “clashes of truth” as these emerge in particular contexts of struggle? How to explore discursive practices in relation to the complexities of concrete and material circumstance? How to make sense of multiple and divergent forms of public, collective and personal meaning? How to work through conflicting experiences and inclinations with respect to practice? How to navigate accounts of vastly different realities? How could these critical explorations inform the invitational pedagogies of activism? 76  3.1.3 The hearings as a moment in the ongoing local production of struggle knowledge My approach to inquiry is also rooted in my concern to theorize the HAHR hearings as an important and potentially transformative site of activist inquiry and/or struggle knowledge. In doing so, I wish to disrupt conventional understandings of research in which data generation and analysis are grasped as separate practices, undertaken by different actors. Instead, in the course of my inquiry I want to make visible how the hearings themselves reflected practices of rich and rigorous analysis and to characterize my own analytical work as a response to, component of and/or extension of pre-existing and ongoing social processes of local learning-in-struggle. This concern to locate my project in relation to broader, organic, processes of justice-oriented inquiry and/or struggle knowledge draws inspiration from the cluster of epistemological approaches I have described (chapters 1 and 2). It also connects with feminist and participatory ways of knowing that have developed in the context of concrete political exigencies and that attend to practices within localized bodily, personal, interpersonal and collective spheres, grasping how these relate to broader relations of domination (Agger, 2006; Fraser & Nicholson, 1990; Kemmis & McTaggart, 2005). Likewise, George Smith’s articulation of Political Activist Ethnography was grounded in his sense that institutional ethnography’s focus on concrete practice and its investigation of the “social world that movements aim to unsettle” produced the same type of knowledge generated by activists in the course of struggle (Frampton et al., 2006, p. 11; D. E. Smith, 2006). These various lines of thought are also apparent in Choudry’s articulation of struggle knowledge. Within my project, I treat the HAHR hearings as a crystallized moment within broader, intersubjective processes of critical inquiry and learning through struggle. While my analysis is a product of my own praxis, my inquiry also seeks to emphasize how this praxis has 77  been shaped through my engagement in and with the intersubjective and/or dialogical relations of the hearings. This is not to claim an absence of subjectivity, as in the sociological claim to discovery that Sorokin (as cited in Walby, 2007, p. 1017) called the “Columbus complex,” but rather to disrupt binary understandings of researcher and researched, to situate my own agency in social context and to emphasize important modes of knowledge production that often go unrecognized. Later, I describe how my practices of writing might be helpfully conceptualized in terms of curation.  3.1.4 Possibility: Inquiry as a future-oriented project A final orienting aspect of my project relates to how the structure of my inquiry is rooted in possibility. My line of inquiry seeks to explore the terrain and tensions that constitute a gap between “what is” and possibilities associated with ideas of “what ought to be” (Adams & Horton, 1975, p. 214; see Chapter 1). My analysis reflects a concern to grasp the hearings—as a situated clash of knowing—in terms of tension between the relations of competition and antagonism that Sartre (1960a) terms “seriality” and the relations of humanization and cooperation evident in both Sartre’s and Freire’s theorization of collective praxis. Put another way, I project in relation to the hearings, the possibility of dialogical praxis. And, keeping the dynamics of this collective praxis in mind, I consider hearing dynamics in terms of why and how they are not (collective praxis). In the course of my analysis, I seek to elucidate both the challenges and the potentials of transformative modes of knowing, in the hopes that such insights might be rendered useful in the course of mine and others’ ongoing praxis of justice-oriented invitation.  78  3.2 Practices of Inquiry: Documenting, Explicating, Excavating and Curating McIntyre (2008, following McTaggart) underscores that theory and practice should not be seen as residing in different places. From the time I attended the hearings, through my listening, transcription and subsequent readings of the text document, to the write-up of my analysis, I have been engaged with the theoretical ideas and practical possibilities I explore within the hearings. These sensibilities shaped the way I documented and engaged with the hearings as the substantive focus of my analytical work.   3.2.1 Documenting: Representing the hearings in text The HAHR hearings occurred over the course of five evenings, from March 17 to April 14, 2011. Because I had attended the hearings without intending to study them in-depth, I often arrived late and only attended three out of the five evening sessions. I did not attend the additional (April 19, 2011) portion of the council meeting where councillors voted to pass the HAHR report and recommendations.  On each evening I was present, I observed the hearings as I waited to speak. On the first two evenings, I sat in the large third floor foyer which served as the overflow seating for Council Chambers; on these nights, I watched the hearings on television screens mounted at the sides of the room. Especially on the first evening, it was noisy in this space and I could not always hear what was said. At some points, I chatted with people sitting nearby.  I took notes as I listened, in large part to inform the presentation that I would make when it was my turn to speak, but also because I was journaling about questions of activist dialogue as part of my efforts to formulate a research project on the topic. Most of my notes document interesting things that speakers had said: insightful or seemingly contradictory analyses and 79  information, uses of language to emphasize or minimize certain aspects of issues, or interesting metaphors and ways of understanding the issue(s). When relevant, I noted my own observations, responses and analyses in brackets. These reflective notes often related to moments when certain ways of making sense of neighbourhood changes seemed to me to be disconnected from the experiences and changes being reported by low-income residents. I also made notes about the tone used by certain speakers and/or the overall mood at particular moments—for instance, of heightened antagonism or hostility, or shared humour and practices of recognition—as I saw this playing out in exchanges between presenters, councillors and observers. Other notes related to my own feelings, for example, of nervousness and discomfort prior to and during my presentation.  Later, upon returning to the HAHR hearings to examine them in more depth, I decided to produce a version of the hearings in text. To do so, I worked from the online video versions of the hearings available via the City of Vancouver’s website (City of Vancouver, 2011c). I listened to the hearings in full and undertook a rough or partial transcription to capture for myself, the substance of each speaker’s comments. When audible, I also noted any significant audience response, such as clapping or shouting. As I watched these online recordings, I documented my own reactions and reflections in relation to certain comments. In some cases—especially during narratives that were particularly detailed, technical, or contentious—my transcription was verbatim. I then reviewed my rough transcription to edit for clarity of meaning and typing errors. I also used coloured text to visually distinguish various speakers, including comments made by councillors and staff members. Because the online recordings of the hearings reflect only what was picked up by the microphones in the room, certain comments are inaudible; these include comments and reactions made by audience members, as well as those of some presenters who 80  spoke while their microphones were off. In some cases, because I had been present at the hearings, I could refer to my notes to determine what had been said. However, in many cases these comments are simply absent from my records. I used this initial rough transcription to begin my analysis. As I continued my writing and analysis, I returned to the recordings of the hearings to undertake a full transcription of all the audible proceedings.