Critical Urban Studies
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This volume revisits the tradition of critical scholarship characteristic of the urban studies field. Urban scholarship has had detractors of late, particularly in mainstream political science, where it has been accused of parochialism and insularity. Critical Urban Studies offers a sharp repudiation of this critique, reasserting the need for critical urban scholarship and demonstrating the fundamental importance of urban studies for understanding and changing contemporary social life. Contributors to the volume identify an orthodox perspective in the field, subject it to critique, and map out a future research agenda for the field. The result is a series of inventive essays pointing scholars and students to the major theoretical and policy challenges facing urbanists and other critical social scientists.
Clarence N. Stone


Jonathan S. Davies and David L. Imbroscio

PART I: Critical Urban Theory

1. √City
Elvin Wyly

2. Critical Perspectives on the City: Constructivist, Interpretive Analysis of Urban Politics
Mara S. Sidney

3. Seeing like a City: How to Urbanize Political Science
Warren Magnusson

4. Refl ections on Urbanity as an Object of Study and a Critical Epistemology
Julie-Anne Boudreau

5. Back to the Future: Marxism and Urban Politics
Jonathan S. Davies

6. Keeping it Critical: Resisting the Allure of the Mainstream
David L. Imbroscio

PART II: Critical Urban Policy

7. The Trouble with Diversity
Jeff Spinner-Halev

8. Do Multicultural Cities Help Equality?
Yasminah Beebeejaun

9. Why Do We Want Mixed-Income Housing and Neighborhoods?
James DeFilippis and Jim Fraser

10. Dispersal as Anti-Poverty Policy
Edward G. Goetz and Karen Chapple

11. Beyond Sprawl and Anti-Sprawl
Thad Williamson

List of Contributors



Publié par
Date de parution 03 novembre 2010
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781438433073
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Critical Urban Studies
New Directions
Edited by
Jonathan S. Davies
David L. Imbroscio
Foreword by
Clarence N. Stone

Cover photo courtesy of Jonathan S. Davies. The picture is the view of Francisco I. Madero taken from the corner of the Zocalo in Mexico City, 15 September 2008, Mexico's national independence day.
Published by State University of New York Press, Albany
© 2010 State University of New York
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For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Critical urban studies : new directions / edited by Jonathan S. Davies and David L. Imbroscio.           p. cm.    Includes bibliographical references and index.    ISBN 978-1-4384-3305-9 (hbk. : alk. paper)    1. Cities and towns—Study and teaching. 2. Sociology, Urban—Study and teaching. 3. Urban policy—Study and teaching. I. Davies, Jonathan S. II. Imbroscio, David L.    HT109.C75 2010    307.76—dc22                                                                                                      2010008239
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Clarence N. Stone
In the eyes of many scholars, the field of urban politics has become increasingly disconnected from the mainstream study of politics, particularly American national politics. Topics of interest, concepts, and strategies of theory building overlap little between the subfield and the wider field of study. One interpretation of this disconnect is that urbanists, to their own intellectual detriment, have failed to pay sufficient heed to the mainstream and have isolated themselves from a much needed fount of scholarly nourishment. In this volume, Jonathan Davies and David Imbroscio have put together a collection of critical essays that suggests quite a different explanation—namely that the mainstream itself lacks vigor, and is misdirected in some key ways. From their perspective, the mainstream has failed to fulfill its academic responsibility to provide intellectual guidance. At the same time, they contend, for all of its shortcomings, the urban field contains sparks of vitality capable of bringing new energy, new ideas, and fresh challenges to what has become a stale mainstream.
My own assessment of the mainstream parallels that of Davies and Imbroscio in several ways. Hence, I see this volume as timely, indeed as a potential instigator of a much-needed dialogue. The mainstream itself could usefully come under close examination. Take the study of American national politics, the quintessential core of the mainstream, and subject it to a brief Holmesian analysis. What are the dogs that don't bark? There are several.
One is the interpenetrability of state, market, and society. Consider, for example, the financial crisis that emerged in 2008. What is there in the largely inner-directed literature of American politics that would raise the possibility of such a crisis, much less help explain how it occurred? Very little. The mainstream remains closely attached to the pluralist assumption that politics and the economy are autonomous spheres of modern life, each with its own inner dynamic. Politics is to be understood on its own terms, not by an uneasy and unsteady accommodation to a changing economy and society.
For scholars of the national political arena, politics is largely about behavior within formally constituted arrangements. The typical American government textbook starts with the drafting of the Constitution and quotes the Federalist Papers . Research is typically framed in terms of major institutions and their relations. The electoral connection is the central factor in what is largely treated as a self-contained realm of activity. Such a view of politics provides a bounded and presumably more predictable realm of behavior. It is also a model of politics totally at odds with the thought-provoking one Warren Magnusson offers in the present volume. The challenge of the contemporary world, Magnusson argues, is to think about the ways in which the state is linked with and mutually affected by the economy and society. Sector autonomy is a myth, increasingly hard to embrace when so much patent reality points in the opposite direction
Another (nearly) silent canine is inequality. Although it receives occasional attention and was even the subject of a recent American Political Science Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy, inequality is not a core concern of the mainstream study of American politics. With its emphasis on behavior within formal structures, the mainstream is not led to engage inequality as a central reality of everyday life in America. Hence, exploring the multiple dimensions of inequality and their causes and consequences occupies no major place in the mainstream's puzzle-solving efforts. Yet America's metropolitan configuration, where most people live their lives, is all about inequality and how it is maintained. For urban residents it is a fundamental fact of life, but, for national scholars, inequality is most often a narrowly defined variable that receives occasional attention.
As an illustration of the chasm between the urban field and at least some members of the mainstream, I cite a conversation I had some years back. A congressional scholar asked me why I continued to study local politics. In paraphrase, he said to me: “It's about education and garbage collection.” The odd pairing was jarring, and I confess I chose not to launch into a discussion of the details and depth of service inequalities and the territorial foundations of unequal life chances—being unsure where to begin, given the superficiality of the comment. Deconstructed, the comment reveals a tendency to reduce the complex interrelationships among governing, the economy, society, and policy (in operation) to a simple matter of (assumed) routine service delivery. To some scholars, the view from Capitol Hill reveals little about the spatial foundations of persistent inequality.
Thanks to Rogers Smith and others, the persistence of social divides has been put forward to challenge a pluralist assumption of a fundamental consensus, but a once-promising debate about the nature of power in society seems to have faded away. The treatment of the program theme of the 2006 American Political Science Association meeting on “Power Reconsidered” is revealing. In offering a thumbnail sketch of the topic, Richard Vallely starts with the community-power debate, highlighting pluralism versus elite theory, makes the obligatory reference to the three faces of power, and then raises a point about the role of mass opinion. He closes with a number of particular questions, but gives little attention to conceptual new ground—leaving power basically as a continuing question of who rules/who governs. As a point of personal privilege, I note that no mention was made of my work on systemic power or my subsequent work on urban regimes and the social-production model. Of course, a short essay cannot cover all bases, but the omission is still puzzling. This work was published in the American Political Science Review and a book that received the association's Ralph Bunche award, not exactly low visibility places. The omission suggests that work in the urban field is not much on the mainstream's radar screen, although several of its members did significant “apprenticeships” in the urban area.
Systemic power and the social-production model are not uncontested ideas. The essay by Jonathan Davies in this volume offers a vigorous critique from a Marxist perspective. In doing so, Davies raises anew some broad questions about the nature of power and political change. Earlier work by Davies along this line also failed to make it into Vallely's introductory essay, and, as a consequence, a conceptual issue about how to reconcile human agency with power as embodied in a set of relationships went unaddressed.
Another missing bark in this Holmesian account of the mainstream concerns authority and its incomplete writ. Mainstream work often assumes that congressional enactment is an adequate description of policy at work, and many mainstream scholars regard policy implementation as an inconsequential area of research. Implementation inevitably involves accommodation to context, and attention to contextual factors is seen by some in the mainstream as a drift away from theory instead of as an improved understanding of reality.
In general, mainstream scholars fail to question that the authority of governmental institutions is a unidirectional force applied to a uniform body of citizens. The notion that policy in reality is the result of how official actions

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