The central argument of this book is that we need to abandon our state-centric approach to political understanding and learn to see "like a city" if we are to make sense of contemporary politics. Chapter 1 explains how urbanism works as "governmentality," the term Michel Foucault introduced to describe the ways in which people are ruled through their freedom, rather than in opposition to it. Then, chapter 2, shows how a political ontology of "urbanism as a way of life" - the term is from Louis Wirth - challenges the dominant political ontology, one that James C. Scott has described as "seeing like a state". Chapter 3, explores how ideas relevant to seeing like a city emerge from the work of Max Weber, the Chicago School sociologists (especially Louis Wirth), F. A. Hayek, Jane Jacobs, and Richard Sennett. Chapter 4 relates these ideas to the "art of government" that Michel Foucault explained. Chapter 5, re-poses these insights in relation to the dominant traditions of political theory and social science, traditions that (argue) are keyed to a statist political ontology.
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Taylor & Francis
September 27, 2011
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