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The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach
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A review of the original French edition of this book in the American Journal of Sociologyhailed it as "the most finished product yet to emerge from the new (Marxist) school of French urban sociology... The aim of the book is nothing less than to reconceptualize the field of urban sociology. It is carried out in two stages: a critique of the literature of urban sociology (and urbanization) and an attempt to lay the Marxist bases for a reconstructed urban sociology." The problems facing the world's cities, whether problems of development or of decay, cannot be solved until they have been diagnosed. The race riots in Detroit, the shantytowns of Paris, the financial crisis of New York must not be seen in isolation. The mushrooming cities of the third world, demolition and urban sprawl at home are located in a network of economics, social welfare and power politics, and the decisions we are called upon to make elude us in a fog of ideology. This brilliant exposition of the function of the city in social, economic and symbolic terms illuminates the creation and structuring of space by action—administrative, productive and more immediately human. The interaction of environment and life-style, the complex of market forces and state policy against a background of traditional social practice is scrutinized with the aim of establishing concepts and research methods that will enable us to come to grips with the cities themselves and the way in which we view them. Castells draws on urban renewal in Paris, the English New Towns, the American megalopolis for concrete data in his empirical and theoretical investigation. In this English edition, a new Part V has been added on urban development in America. The chapters on the pobladoresin Chile and the struggle of the FRAP in Quebec have been greatly extended and an Afterword traces the development of research in the past five years.
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