Paul A. Passavant is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science. He is the author of ‘No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Rights’ (New York University Press, 2002), editor (with Jodi Dean) of ‘Empire’s New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri’ (Routledge, 2004), and the author of numerous articles in law and political theory. The author would like to thank Jodi Dean for reading an earlier draft of this article and Emily Corcione for research assistance.
This article situates lower level court cases decided over the last ten years in the context of post-Fordist transformations to urban economies and geographies to address the urban fiscal crisis of the 1970s. Urban public spaces are governed in accordance with norms appropriate for shopping malls or Disney World to attract suburban visitors and tourists. Consequently, demonstrations are zoned away from sites of post-Fordist entertainment to contain their effects. These court decisions indicate the emergence of a neoliberal juridical regime that disarticulates the right of free speech from the practice of democracy