John Wiley & Sons Comparative Urbanism Cover The rapid pace and changing nature of twenty-first century urbanisation as well as the diversity of .. Product #: 978-1-119-69751-0 Regular price: $69.07 $69.07 In Stock

Comparative Urbanism

Tactics for Global Urban Studies

Robinson, Jennifer

Studies in Urban and Social Change

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1. Edition August 2022
464 Pages, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-119-69751-0
John Wiley & Sons

Short Description

The rapid pace and changing nature of twenty-first century urbanisation as well as the diversity of global urban experiences calls for new theories and new methodologies in urban studies. In Comparative Urbanism: Tactics for Global Urban Studies, Jennifer Robinson proposes grounds for reformatting comparative urban practice and offers a wide range of tactics for researching global urban experiences. The focus is on inventing new concepts as well as revising existing approaches. Inspired by postcolonial and decolonial critiques of urban studies she advocates for an experimental comparative urbanism, open to learning from different urban experiences, and to expanding conversations amongst urban scholars across the globe.

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COMPARATIVE URBANISM

'Comparative Urbanism fully transforms the scope and purpose of urban studies today, distilling innovative conceptual and methodological tools. The theoretical and empirical scope is astounding, enlightening, emboldening. Robinson peels away conceptual labels that have anointed some cities as paradigmatic and left others as mere copies. She recalibrates overly used theoretical perspectives, resurrects forgotten ones long in need of a dusting off, and brings to the fore those often marginalised. Robinson's approach radically re-distributes who speaks for the urban, and which urban conditions shape our theoretical understandings. With Comparative Urbanism in our hands, we can start the practice of urban studies anywhere and be relevant to any number of elsewheres.'

Jane M. Jacobs, Professor of Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College, Singapore

'How to think the multiplicity of urban realities at the same time, across different times and rhythmic arrangements; how to move with the emergences and stand-stills, with conceptualisations that do justice to all things gathered under the name of the urban. How to imagine comparatively amongst differences that remain different, individualised outcomes, but yet exist in-common. No book has so carefully conducted a specifically urban philosophy on these matters, capable of beginning and ending anywhere.'

AbdouMaliq Simone, Senior Research Fellow, Urban Institute, University of Sheffield

The rapid pace and changing nature of twenty-first century urbanisation as well as the diversity of global urban experiences calls for new theories and new methodologies in urban studies. In Comparative Urbanism: Tactics for Global Urban Studies, Jennifer Robinson proposes grounds for reformatting comparative urban practice and offers a wide range of tactics for researching global urban experiences. The focus is on inventing new concepts as well as revising existing approaches. Inspired by postcolonial and decolonial critiques of urban studies she advocates for an experimental comparative urbanism, open to learning from different urban experiences and to expanding conversations amongst urban scholars across the globe.

The book features a wealth of examples of comparative urban research, concerned with many dimensions of urban life. A range of theoretical and philosophical approaches ground an understanding of the radical revisability and emergent nature of concepts of the urban. Advanced students, urbanists and scholars will be prompted to compose comparisons which trace the interconnected and relational character of the urban, and to think with the variety of urban experiences and urbanisation processes across the globe, to produce the new insights the twenty-first century urban world demands.

Series Editors' Preface viii

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Part I Reformatting Comparison 23

1 Ways of Knowing the Global Urban 25

Uncertain Territories, 'Strategic Essentialisms': Regions, the Global South and beyond 27

The Disappearing City: Planetary Urbanisation and its Critics 35

Decolonial, Developmental, Emergent: Different Starting Points, or Incomparability? 41

Dimensions of a Comparative Urban Imagination 47

Conclusion 50

2 The Limits of Comparative Methodologies in Urban Studies 53

Some Analytical Limits to the 'World' of Cities: Beyond Incommensurability 54

Conventional Strategies for Comparison in Urban Studies 57

The Potential of Comparative Research 69

Conclusion 76

3 Comparative Urbanism in the Archives: Thinking with Variety, Thinking with Connections 79

Expanding the Comparative Gesture 80

Thinking with Variety 83

Stretching Comparisons: Thinking with Connections 91

Conclusion 104

4 Thinking Cities through Elsewhere: Reformatting Comparison 107

Thinking with Concrete Totalities 108

Singularities, Repeated Instances, Concepts 119

Genetic and Generative Grounds for Urban Comparisons 125

Conclusion: From Grounds to Tactics 128

Part II Genetic Comparisons 135

5 Connections 137

Connections as Urbanisation Processes 138

Connections Producing Repeated Instances 146

Every Case Matters 154

Conclusion 159

6 Relations 161

Wider Processes 164

Urban Neoliberalisation, Comparatively 171

Connected Contexts 186

More Spatialities of the Urban: Topologies, Partial Connections, Submarine Relations 191

Conclusion 195

Part III Generative Comparisons 199

7 Generating Concepts 201

The Conceptualising Subject: Institutions, Horizons, Grounds 204

A Life of Concepts: Ideal Types 217

Thinking the 'Concrete' 230

Negotiated Universals: Concepts 'In-common' 235

Conclusion 243

8 Composing Comparisons 247

Working with 'Conjuncture' 249

Conceptualising from Specificity 263

Thinking across Diversity 271

Conclusion 276

9 Conversations 279

Shifting Grounds: Comparison as Practice 280

Comparison as Conversations 284

Theoretical Reflections 292

Mobile Concepts, or 'Arriving at' Concepts 295

Conclusion 301

Part IV Thinking from the Urban as Distinctive 305

10 Territories 307

Thinking from Territories 308

Which Territorialisations? 312

Assembling Territories 320

Conclusion 325

11 Into the Territory, or, the Urban as Idea 329

Detachment 331

Suturing 336

Standstill 340

Ideas 346

Informality, as Idea 357

Conclusion 362

Conclusion: Starting Anywhere, Thinking with (Elsew)here 369

A Reformatted Urban Comparison 370

Conceptualisation 376

An Explosion of Urban Studies 383

References 387

Index 441

Colour insert between pages 132 and 133
'Comparative Urbanism fully transforms the scope and purpose of urban studies today, distilling innovative conceptual and methodological tools. The theoretical and empirical scope is astounding, enlightening, emboldening. Robinson peels away conceptual labels that have anointed some cities as paradigmatic and left others as mere copies. She recalibrates overly used theoretical perspectives, resurrects forgotten ones long in need of a dusting off, and brings to the fore those often marginalised. Robinson's approach radically re-distributes who speaks for the urban, and which urban conditions shape our theoretical understandings. With Comparative Urbanism in our hands, we can start the practice of urban studies anywhere and be relevant to any number of elsewheres.'
Jane M. Jacobs, Professor of Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College, Singapore


'How to think the multiplicity of urban realities at the same time, across different times and rhythmic arrangements; how to move with the emergences and stand-stills, with conceptualisations that do justice to all things gathered under the name of the urban. How to imagine comparatively amongst differences that remain different, individualised outcomes, but yet exist in-common. No book has so carefully conducted a specifically urban philosophy on these matters, capable of beginning and ending anywhere.'
AbdouMaliq Simone, Senior Research Fellow, Urban Institute, University of Sheffield


'Jenny Robinson's strong belief in the need to experiment with comparative methods, theories and concepts in urban studies for 'a globally diverse urban' has long inspired many of us. In this book, she takes this plea forward in a comprehensive journey through philosophy, anthropology and geography. Her wonderful voice in this book takes the reader by the hand through a landscape of ideas and a heartfully felt passion for comparative urbanism. Written by one of the most original geographers of our times, it provides resources to make interdisciplinary scholarship work by drawing on many theoretical angles from various corners of the field of social sciences and humanities. It is a must-read for all of us interested in that 'impossible' object of our studies, the urban, whether we are starting to explore this field of study or share the dearly felt need to re-imagine our central concepts in this rapidly changing world.'
Talja Blokland, Department of Social Sciences, Humboldt-University of Berlin
Jennifer Robinson is Professor of Human Geography, University College London, UK. She is the author of Ordinary Cities, a seminal work which developed a postcolonial critique of urban studies. Her empirical research in South Africa examined the history of apartheid cities and the politics of post-apartheid city-visioning, while her comparative research has considered urban development politics in London, Shanghai and Johannesburg, and transnational circuits shaping African urbanisation.

J. Robinson, Indiana University, USA