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Current debates in urban theory: a critical assessment

Storper, Michael and Scott, Allen J. (2016) Current debates in urban theory: a critical assessment. Urban Studies, 53 (6). pp. 1114-1136. ISSN 0042-0980

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0042098016634002


Urban studies today is marked by many active debates. In an earlier paper, we addressed some of these debates by proposing a foundational concept of urbanization and urban form as a way of identifying a common language for urban research. In the present paper we provide a brief recapitulation of that framework. We then use this preliminary material as background to a critique of three currently influential versions of urban analysis, namely, postcolonial urban theory, assemblage theoretic approaches, and planetary urbanism. We evaluate each of these versions in turn and find them seriously wanting as statements about urban realities. We criticize (a) postcolonial urban theory for its particularism and its insistence on the provincialization of knowledge, (b) assemblage theoretic approaches for their indeterminacy and eclecticism, and (c) planetary urbanism for its radical devaluation of the forces of agglomeration and nodality in urban-economic geography.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 12:58
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 12:34

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