Mark Purcell

Mark Purcell

Professor, Urban Design & Planning

Purcell’s work explores the possibility and potential of democracy. He is interested in how democracy can be an idea that inspires resistance to neoliberalism and austerity, but, more than that, he is interested in how it can help us flee those forms of life, how we can use it to create different forms, new ways of being together, other communities in which people make decisions for themselves, collectively. In short, he is searching for ways to think democracy radically. In that project, he spends a lot of time with and draw lots of ideas from the work of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Bakunin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Hardt & Negri, Lefebvre, Castoriadis, Ranciere, Virno, and Laclau & Mouffe. He also dabbles in some Arendt, Agamben, Abensour, Badiou, Nancy, Rosanvallon, Clastres, Foucault, and Debord. His plan is to engage more closely in the near future with Butler, Bifo, and (maybe) Dewey. (Then he’ll retire.)

He is particularly interested in democracy as it exists in cities. He wants to know more about how urban inhabitants are creating new forms of urban life, forms of life in which they manage the production of urban space themselves, without the State and without capitalist corporations. In this context, he works particularly closely with Henri Lefebvre, and especially with his ideas of urban society, autogestion, and the right to the city.



Purcell, Mark. (2022). Theorising Democratic Space with and beyond Henri Lefebvre. Urban Studies, 59(15), 3041-3059. View Publication


Purcell, Mark. (2017). For John Dewey (and Very Much Also For Contemporary Critical Theory). Urban Geography, 38(4), 495 - 501. View Publication

Purcell, Mark; Born, Branden. (2017). Planning In The Spirit Of Deleuze And Guattari? Considering Community-based Food Projects In The United States And Mexico. Urban Geography, 38(4), 521 - 536. View Publication


Purcell, Mark. (2016). For Democracy: Planning And Publics Without The State. Planning Theory, 15(4), 386 - 401. View Publication


Purcell, Mark. (2014). Possible Worlds: Henri Lefebvre And The Right To The City. Journal Of Urban Affairs, 36(1), 141 - 154. View Publication

Purcell, Mark. (2014). Rancière And Revolution. Space & Polity, 18(2), 168 - 181. View Publication


Purcell, Mark. (2013). To Inhabit Well: Counterhegemonic Movements And The Right To The City. Urban Geography, 34(4), 560 - 574. View Publication