Urban Theory Beyond the West: A World of Cities, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Urban Theory Beyond the West

A World of Cities, 1st Edition

Edited by Tim Edensor, Mark Jayne


382 pages | 69 B/W Illus.

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Since the late eighteenth century, academic engagement with political, economic, social, cultural and spatial changes in our cities has been dominated by theoretical frameworks crafted with reference to just a small number of cities. This book offers an important antidote to the continuing focus of urban studies on cities in ‘the Global North’.

Urban Theory Beyond the West contains twenty chapters from leading scholars, raising important theoretical issues about cities throughout the world. Past and current conceptual developments are reviewed and organized into four parts: ‘De-centring the City’ offers critical perspectives on re-imagining urban theoretical debates through consideration of the diversity and heterogeneity of city life; ‘Order/Disorder’ focuses on the political, physical and everyday ways in which cities are regulated and used in ways that confound this ordering; ‘Mobilities’ explores the movements of people, ideas and policy in cities and between them and ‘Imaginaries’ investigates how urbanity is differently perceived and experienced. There are three kinds of chapters published in this volume: theories generated about urbanity ‘beyond the West’; critiques, reworking or refining of ‘Western’ urban theory based upon conceptual reflection about cities from around the world and hybrid approaches that develop both of these perspectives.

Urban Theory Beyond the West offers a critical and accessible review of theoretical developments, providing an original and groundbreaking contribution to urban theory. It is essential reading for students and practitioners interested in urban studies, development studies and geography.


"The entries are remarkably even, each characterized by the geographer's knack for capturing ground-level realities and appreciation for the rewards that come from intimate engagement with place. Summing up: Highly Recommended." R. Sanders, Temple University, USA, CHOICE, August 2012.

"This fascinating book not only demonstrates the deep diversity of post-colonial urban experiences and dynamics of change, it also shows the wealth of ideas about cities, and concepts of urban life, that come from the majority world. This is a formidable contribution to the global re-making of social science and urban studies." Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney, Australia.

"Spanning considerable territory while opening up new lines of research on patterns of consumption, visual and literary representations, institutions, infrastructures, and migration, this rich collection of incisive, innovative, and well documented studies of cities outside the West demonstrates both a keen epistemological understanding of urban processes and a deep knowledge of the cultural, political, and economic dimensions of urbanization. Not only does it compellingly challenge the Western bias of the literature on urban theory, it also prods us to rethink, indeed refashion urban theory itself, taking stock of the lessons from the peripheries of the West." - Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University, USA.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Urban Theory Beyond ‘the West’ Part 1: De-Centring the City 2. No Longer the Subaltern: Refiguring Cities of the Global South 3. China Exceptionalism? Unbounding Narratives on Urban China 4. Urban Theory beyond the ‘East/West Divide’? Cities and Urban Research in Postsocialist Europe5. Urbanism, Colonialism, and Subalternity Part 2: Order/Disorder 6. Governing Cities without States? Rethinking Urban Political Theories in Asia7. Public Parks in the Americas: New York City and Buenos Aires 8. An Illness Called Managua: ‘Extraordinary’ Urbanisation and ‘Mal- Development’ in Nicaragua 9. The Concept of Privacy and Space in Kurdish Cities10. The Networked City: Popular Modernizers and Urban Transformation in Morelia, Mexico, 1880-1955Part 3: Mobilities 11. Distinctly Delhi: Affect and Exclusion in a Crowded City 12. Shanghai Borderlands: The Rise of a New Urbanity? 13. Contemporary Urban Culture in Latin America: Everyday Life in Santiago, Chile 14. Urban (Im)mobility: Public Encounters in Dubai Part 4: Imaginaries 15. Reality Tours: Experiencing the ‘Real Thing’ in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas 16. Modern Warfare and Theorization of the Middle Eastern City 17. Reading Thai Community: Reformation and Fragmentation18. Urban Political Ecology in the Global South: Everyday Environmental Struggles of Home in Managua, Nicaragua19. Spectral Kinshasa: Building the City through an Architecture of Words20. Afterword: A World of Cities

About the Editors

Tim Edensor teaches Cultural Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. His research interests include tourism, materialities and mobilities.

Mark Jayne is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests include; consumption, the urban order, city cultures and cultural economy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries