The Promise of the City: Space, Identity, and Politics in by Kian Tajbakhsh

By Kian Tajbakhsh

The Promise of the town proposes a brand new theoretical framework for the learn of towns and concrete lifestyles. discovering the modern city scene too complicated to be captured via radical or traditional methods, Kian Tajbakhsh deals a threefold, interdisciplinary strategy linking business enterprise, area, and constitution. First, he says, city identities can't be understood via individualistic, communitarian, or category views yet quite during the transferring spectrum of cultural, political, and fiscal affects. moment, the layered, unfinished urban areas we inhabit and during which we create which means are top represented now not by means of clone of bounded actual areas yet fairly by way of overlapping and moving limitations. And 3rd, the macro forces shaping city society comprise bureaucratic and governmental interventions no longer captured through a simply fiscal paradigm. Tajbakhsh examines those dimensions within the paintings of 3 significant serious city theorists of contemporary a long time: Manuel Castells, David Harvey, and Ira Katznelson. He exhibits why the solutions provided by means of Marxian city conception to the questions of identification, house, and constitution are unsatisfactory and why the views of different highbrow traditions equivalent to poststructuralism, feminism, Habermasian serious concept, and pragmatism can assist us greater comprehend the demanding situations dealing with modern towns.

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Additional resources for The Promise of the City: Space, Identity, and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought

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61 Smith rejects views that understand the behavior and identity of social actors solely in terms of the influence of external forces. Rather than locate the sources of power relations in “big structures” (to echo Charles Tilly’s phrase), in the nation-state, the relations of production, or the global economy, postmodern ethnography focuses attention on power relations in the microlevels of the symbolic dimensions of everyday life. These power relations are embodied in representations, in a variety of discourses such as music, video, and film, in “concrete” practices such as the coping strategies of poor migrant households, and in communal forms of solidarity at the level of everyday, urban, space-time.

Second, it should avoid reducing the dimensions of symbolism, meaning, and action to an effect of an objective context or structure. 61 Smith rejects views that understand the behavior and identity of social actors solely in terms of the influence of external forces. Rather than locate the sources of power relations in “big structures” (to echo Charles Tilly’s phrase), in the nation-state, the relations of production, or the global economy, postmodern ethnography focuses attention on power relations in the microlevels of the symbolic dimensions of everyday life.

32 As the “city” began to take shape as an object and terrain of political and ideological conflict, Marxian theorists and socialist politicians took up the challenges of interpreting these new historical realities. Henri Lefebvre, one of the grand old men of Marxist philosophy in France, spoke already in 1968 of “the right to the city” and pointed to the transformation of industrial to urban society as the most significant feature of contemporary social experience. 33 However, the urban chal- Introduction 15 lenge for the Left was captured most systematically by the sociologist Manuel Castells, who was associated at the time with the revisionist Marxism of Louis Althusser and Nikos Poulantzas.

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