Writing the Global City: Globalisation, Postcolonialism and the Urban, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Writing the Global City

Globalisation, Postcolonialism and the Urban, 1st Edition

By Anthony D King


206 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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Over the last three decades, our understanding of the city worldwide has been revolutionized by three innovative theoretical concepts – globalisation, postcolonialism and a radically contested notion of modernity. The idea and even the reality of the city has been extended out of the state and nation and re-positioned in the larger global world.

In this book Anthony King brings together key essays written over this period, much of it dominated by debates about the world or global city. Challenging assumptions and silences behind these debates, King provides largely ignored historical and cultural dimensions to the understanding of world city formation as well as decline. Interdisciplinary and comparative, the essays address new ways of framing contemporary themes: the imperial and colonial origin of contemporary world and global cities, actually existing postcolonialisms, claims about urban and cultural homogenisation and the role of architecture and built environment in that process. Also addressed are arguments about indigenous and exogenous perspectives, Eurocentricism, ways of framing vernacular architecture, and the global historical sociology of building types. Wide-ranging and accessible, Writing the Global City provides essential historical contexts and theoretical frameworks for understanding contemporary urban and architectural debates. Extensive bibliographies will make it essential for teaching, reference and research.

Table of Contents

Dedication. List of Illustrations. Preface and Introduction. Acknowledgements. Part 1: Re-theorising the City: Globalisation, Colonialism, Postcolonialism 1. Architecture, Capital and the Globalisation of Culture 2. Colonialism, Urbanism and the Capitalist World Economy 3. Writing Colonial Space 4. Representing World Cities: Cultural Theory and Social Practice 5. Postcolonialism, Representation and the City 6. Cities: Contradictory Utopias Part 2: Methodologies: Case Studies in Globalisation and Imperialism 7. Actually-Existing Postcolonialisms: Colonial Urbanism after the Postcolonial Turn 8. Imperialism, Internationalism, Postcolonialism, Globalisation: Frameworks for Vernacular Architecture 9. Postcolonial Cities, Postcolonial Critiques 10. Notes Towards a Global Historical Sociology of Building Types 11. Imperialism and World Cities 12. Imperialism and the Grand Hotel 13. Globalisation and Homogenisation: the State of Play Part 3: Defining Contemporary and Historical Cities 14. Imperial Cities 15. Global Cities Further Reading. Name Index. Subject Index

About the Author

Anthony D. King is Emeritus Professor of Art History and of Sociology, Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA, and now lives in the UK. He has been Visiting Professor of Architecture at University of California, Berkeley, USA, and was, for five years, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India.

About the Series


The Architext series brings together recent debates in social and cultural theory and the study and practice of architecture and urban design. Critical, comparative and interdisciplinary, the books in the series will, by theorizing architecture, bring the space of the built environment centrally into the social sciences and humanities, as well as bringing the theoretical insights of the latter into the discourses of architecture and urban design. Particular attention will be paid to issues of gender, race, sexuality and the body, to questions of identity and place, to the cultural politics of representation and language, and to the global and postcolonial contexts in which these are addressed.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban