Critical scholarship often presents technical experts such as architects and urbanists as unidimensional “organic intellectuals” in the Gramscian sense. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork conducted among architects‐turned‐campaigners in Lebanon, this article argues that this portrayal of experts is partial, and inadequate to represent and make sense of the composite coalitions that animate contemporary urban politics worldwide. This will be clarified by a close examination of the Hakmeh Axis Campaign, where architects and urbanists have initiated a vigorous civic campaign to oppose the construction of a motorway bridge through a historical neighborhood in Beirut. By exploring the politics of planners—rather than that of planning—the article will show the alignment between expertise and authorities to be a matter of political affiliation rather than natural necessity.
Stefanelli, A. (2020). Beyond the Organic Intellectual: Politics and Contestation in the Planning Practice. City & Society, 32(3), 649-669. https://doi.org/10.1111/ciso.12340