The Promise of the City: Space, Identity, and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought
The Promise of the City proposes a new theoretical framework for the study of cities and urban life. Finding the contemporary urban scene too complex to be captured by radical or conventional approaches, Kian Tajbakhsh offers a threefold, interdisciplinary approach linking agency, space, and structure. First, he says, urban identities cannot be understood through individualistic, communitarian, or class perspectives but rather through the shifting spectrum of cultural, political, and economic influences. Second, the layered, unfinished city spaces we inhabit and within which we create meaning are best represented not by the image of bounded physical spaces but rather by overlapping and shifting boundaries. And third, the macro forces shaping urban society include bureaucratic and governmental interventions not captured by a purely economic paradigm.
Tajbakhsh examines these dimensions in the work of three major critical urban theorists of recent decades: Manuel Castells, David Harvey, and Ira Katznelson. He shows why the answers offered by Marxian urban theory to the questions of identity, space, and structure are unsatisfactory and why the perspectives of other intellectual traditions such as poststructuralism, feminism, Habermasian Critical Theory, and pragmatism can help us better understand the challenges facing contemporary cities.
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actors analysis articulation assumptions autonomy capital capitalist Castells Castells's chapter City Trenches class identity class struggle Claus Offe collective action concept conflict consciousness constituted context contingency contradictions critical urban critique cultural deconstruction defined dimensions discourse distinction dominant economic elements Ernesto Laclau essentialist ethnic everyday example forms framework gender groups Harvey Harvey’s hegemony historical housing hybridity Ibid idea iden individual institutions interpretation Ira Katznelson Jacques Derrida Jürgen Habermas labor power Laclau lifeworld linking logic Manuel Castells Marx Marx's Marxian class Marxian urban theory Marxism meaning Michael Peter Smith modern Mouffe neighborhood notion objective organization overdetermined patterns perspective postmodern problem processes production relations of production relationship social theory socialist society spatial struc structure and agency theoretical tion tities trans unity University Press Urban Experience urban identities urban political Urban Question urban social movements Urban Sociology urban space women workers working-class workplace York