Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Politics of Urbanism

Seeing Like a City, 1st Edition

By Warren Magnusson


192 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415831260
pub: 2012-12-17
Hardback: 9780415782418
pub: 2011-08-10
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203808894
pub: 2013-07-03
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To see like a city, rather than seeing like a state, is the key to understanding modern politics. In this book, Magnusson draws from theorists such as Weber, Wirth, Hayek, Jacobs, Sennett, and Foucault to articulate some of the ideas that we need to make sense of the city as a form of political order.

Locally and globally, the city exists by virtue of complicated patterns of government and self-government, prompted by proximate diversity. A multiplicity of authorities in different registers is typical. Sovereignty, although often claimed, is infinitely deferred. What emerges by virtue of self-organization is not susceptible to control by any central authority, and so we are impelled to engage politically in a world that does not match our expectations of sovereignty. How then are we are to engage realistically and creatively? We have to begin from where we are if we are to understand the possibilities.

Building on traditions of political and urban theory in order to advance a new interpretation of the role of cities/urbanism in contemporary political life, this work will be of great interest to scholars of political theory and urban theory, international relations theory and international relations.


"This text is a significant and innovative attempt to formulate a truly urban outlook. The Politics of Urbanism is an unusual, compelling book. It is clearly written, well researched, and advances a provocative rethinking of the relationship of the state and the city to politics. Although we may need to do more work before we can redeem the historic promise of Left urbanism and find the beach beneath the pavement, this book will bring us part of the way." - Chuck Morse, Stir Magazine, December 2012

Table of Contents

Introduction: Re-Imagining the Political 1. Urbanism as Governmentality 2. Ontologies of the Political 3. The Politics of Urbanism as a Way of Life 4. The Art of Government 5. Seeing Like a State, Seeing Like a City 6. Oikos, Nomos, Logos 7. The Politics of Scale 8. The Principle of Local Self-Government Conclusion: Otherwise than Sovereign

About the Author

Warren Magnusson is Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Victoria, Canada

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General