1st Edition

Cities, Nationalism and Democratization

By Scott A. Bollens Copyright 2007
    304 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Cities, Nationalism, and Democratization provides a theoretically informed, practice-oriented account of intercultural conflict and co-existence in cities. Bollens uses a wide-ranging set of over 100 interviews with local political and community leaders to investigate how popular urban policies can trigger 'pushes from below' that help nation-states address social and political challenges. The book brings the city and the urban scale into contemporary debates about democratic transformations in ethnically diverse countries. It connects the city, on conceptual and pragmatic levels, to two leading issues of today – the existence of competing and potentially destructive nationalistic allegiances and the limitations of democracy in multinational societies.

    Bollens finds that cities and urbanists are not necessarily hemmed in by ethnic conflict and political gridlock, but can be proactive agents that stimulate the progress of societal normalization. The fuller potential of cities is in their ability to catalyze multinational democratization. Alternately, if cities are left unprotected and unmanaged, ethnic antagonists can fragment the city’s collective interests in ways that slow down and confine the advancement of sustainable democracy. This book will be helpful to scholars, international organizations, and grassroots organizations in understanding why and how the peace-constitutive city emerges in some cases while it is misplaced and neglected in others.

    1. The Promise of the City  2. Spain, Bosnia and the Urban Conflict-Stability Continuum 3 . Barcelona: Constructing Democracy's Urban Terrain  4. Sarajevo: Misplacing the Post-War City  5. Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria (Basque Country): urban dynamism amidst democratic disability 6. Mostar: urbanism and the spoils of war  7. Urbanism, Inter-Group Conflict, Political Transitions


    Scott A. Bollens

    'Urban policies and, specifically, urban planning are not often taught from this perspective, but Bollens is right to argue that they need to be. Pedagogically, doing so is extremely important.' - Robert Beauregard, Columbia University, USA

    '[This work] provides researchers and practitioners access to informative and stimulating accounts of comparative practice and its relation to key issues of  21st century urban affairs.' - Michael Safier, University College London, UK

    Overall, this book is an important read for all urbanists, but in particular for those working in cities characterised by varying degrees of nationalist and ethnic conflict. It sensitises the reader to the positive contributions that urbanists can make to peace building across societyFrederick W. Boal, Urban Studies Journal