Politics of Urbanism
Seeing Like a City
Routledge – 2011 – 192 pages
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
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
Warren Magnusson is Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Victoria, Canada