A Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South
Edited by Susan Parnell, Sophie Oldfield
To Be Published January 1st 2014 by Routledge – 688 pages
Massive demographic and economic changes over the last three decades mean that cities that are highly profiled in the canon of urban studies no longer reflect the hubs of urbanisation or the most critical contemporary global urban problems. In this Handbook, we assess what a geographical corrective in representation, process and voice might mean for urban analysis and theory. We profile an emergent, if diffuse, body on work on cities that has as its starting point the drivers of urban change that are typically associated with Southern urban realities.
The Handbook does three things. First it presents empirical evidence and intellectual formulations drawn from the physical, social and economic realities of relatively under-documented cities. Second, it presents an internationally credible cohort of authors working on cities that have not previously been the object of scholarly reflection. Finally, the Handbook offers a more legitimate academic base for practitioners by providing locally legible and legitimate accounts of urban change. In these ways the volume (re)weights the coverage of urban issues to ensure that the concerns that dominate Southern policy makers and scholars are appropriately profiled.
Intellectually the impact of the Handbook speaks to the debate on the utility of multiple alternative Southern theoretical positions and the value of establishing a distinctive set of Southern urban problems. Drawing on conflicting contributions and profiling divergent debates it opens discussion on the precise meaning of the city in or of the Global South. The scope of the Handbook is not literal and we embrace the notion that the definition of the global South is fluid and increasingly contested, both geographically and conceptually. Even loosely applied this Southern (re)framing challenges the intellectual status quo and makes way for new modes of illuminating the drivers of urban change, shifting focus from, for instance, the capitalist or modern state to the role of traditional elites and the persistence of extra-capitalist power bases.