Crime, Inequality, and Resistance in New York City: A Multiple Political Orders Perspective

Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022
Time: 12:00-1:00pm ET
Location: Initiative on Cities, 75 Bay State Road, Boston

Join the Initiative on Cities as we host Timothy Weaver to discuss his forthcoming book, “Crime, Inequality, and Resistance in New York City: A Multiple Political Orders Perspective.”

At first glance, New York City stands as a bastion of American liberalism. Greenwich Village has played host to all manner of egalitarian social movements and transformational cultural forces. Its public institutions at key points in the city’s history have provided a range of services more common to Western Europe than the United States with its patchwork welfare state and scant social provision. New York City’s apparent commitment to liberalism is evident not only in its political culture and social institutions but also in its electoral choices. After all, Democratic candidates have won by landslides in every Presidential election since 1972. Moreover, the city’s Congressional delegation overwhelmingly consists of liberal Democrats, and even socialists. But while pundits and scholars alike insist on the existence of an urban-rural divide, with cities such as New York depicted as the embodiment of urban liberalism, a focus on New York City’s political development since the 1970s reveals the existence of myriad forces that reflect a range of contradictory tendencies, identifiable as three distinct “political orders”: the conservative, neoliberal, and egalitarian. These political orders are comprised of political ideas, political coalitions, and institutional innovations. Weaver’s book will argue that the urban politics of New York City reflects the intercurrent impact of these orders, which belie glib assumptions as to the city’s liberal character. His book brings these clashes to the fore by showing how the multiple political orders at work in the city have shaped New York politics over the past four decades.

Following Professor Weaver’s presentation, we’ll be joined (remotely) by two discussants: Professor Graham Wilson and Dr. Alessandro Busa. Professor Wilson is the co-founder and former director of the Initiative on Cities, and a political scientist with expertise in American politics, cities, and the relationship between government and policymaking. Dr. Busa is a post-doctoral research fellow working with IOC Director Loretta Lees on an EU funded project – SUSTEUS: Assessing the Social Impacts of Sustainability Plans in Low-Income Neighborhoods of Major EU and US cities. His PhD was on New York City and has been published as The Creative Destruction of New York City: Engineering the City for the Elite (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Lunch will be provided.

About the author:

Timothy Weaver is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at The University at Albany (SUNY). He previously held the post of assistant professor of urban politics at the University of Louisville. Dr. Weaver holds a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy and Politics from the University Of Durham (U.K.) and an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Blazing the Neoliberal Trail: Urban Political Development in the United States and the United Kingdom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) and coeditor (with Richardson Dilworth) of How Ideas Shape Urban Political Development (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). His research interests include urban policy and politics, urban political economy, American political development, the role of ideas, political institutions, British politics, race and class. At Rockefeller College, he teaches classes in American Political Development, Comparative Urban Politics, and Race, Class, and Culture in American Politics, State and Local Politics, and Urban Politics and Policy. He serves on the editorial board of the Urban Affairs Review.



The Boston University Initiative on Cities strives to be accessible, inclusive, and diverse in our programming. Your experience in this event is important to us. If you have a disability, require communication access services for Deaf or hard of hearing persons, or believe that you require a reasonable accommodation for another reason please contact Stacy Fox at to discuss your needs.