On page 129 of Rebel Cities, Harvey states that “urbanization is itself produced,” supporting his claim through examples of social relations and economic production endorsed by urban processes. Is he trying to imply that processes of capitalism predicate the current urban condition? While I don’t necessarily disagree, are there other compelling structures, systems of difference, or ecological processes that govern the urban imaginary, social relations, and spatial orientation? Was capitalism and urbanity/urbanization always entangled? Are post-capitalist urban spaces possible? What would characterize that?
On a more contextual, tangential note, does foregrounding urban space in the development of viable anti-capitalist movements prioritize local, particularized geographical knowledge of urban scenes? Or are cities better imagined as inherently conductive sites where social, political, economic, cultural assemblages interact with capitalist images, meanings, and methodologies in synergistic symphony? Space, in its multiplicity of forms, seems to be a focal point of questioning.
Finally, I have recently been introduced to non-representational theory and am interested in building a richer understanding. Very broadly, how would non-representational positions approach political discontent and resistance in an urban context, as well as how would they respond to Harvey’s thematic framework and discussions of cities?
I look forward to any insight or new points of departure in this direction! Thank you.
In his article “The urban process under capitalism,” Harvey goes to great lengths to discuss how capitalism and urbanization are intertwined. However, that’s not to say that different kinds of cities didn’t exist beforehand — like the commercial city, for example, whose economic system was based on local, small scale craft-oriented production and trade — but the rise of capitalism necessarily reworks the urbanization process, while the urbanization process also affects capitalism (think speculative real estate investment).