Third World Cities in Global Perspective: The Political Economy of Uneven Urbanization

Third World Cities in Global Perspective: The Political Economy of Uneven Urbanization

Third World Cities in Global Perspective: The Political Economy of Uneven Urbanization

Third World Cities in Global Perspective: The Political Economy of Uneven Urbanization

Synopsis

In this innovative book, David Smith ultimately links what happens on the ground in the neighborhoods where people live to the larger political and economic forces at work, putting these connections in a historical framework and using a case study approach. The societies of the world's underdeveloped countries are now undergoing an urban revolution that is drastically altering the fabric of their predominantly rural agrarian societies. Smith takes the emerging political economy perspective on urbanization, with its focus on global inequality and dependency, as the context for city growth in the Third World. This perspective allows Smith to critique the conventional ecological view of the city, not by rejecting traditional analyses out of hand, but by reformulating the crucial questions. The conventional ecological perspective assumes an equilibrium model, where very rapid city growth and the various types of urban imbalances are transitional phases on the path to modernity; in contrast, the comparative political economy approach conceptualizes uneven development and inequality as an inevitable result of the expansion of the capitalist world-system.

Excerpt

This book is the final product of a long process that began over a decade ago when I was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The initial idea of placing Third World urbanization and development in the context of world-system analysis was the driving motivation behind my dissertation research. In subsequent years the project has gone through various permutations, expansions, and revisions. These reflect responses to readers' comments and criticism, changes in my own perspective as my scholarship matured, and shifting theoretical debates in comparative urban research. Early drafts were innovative but preliminary efforts to synthesize a fresh framework for examining cities and underdevelopment from the emerging world-system perspective and the nascent "new urban sociology." Now, in the mid-1990s, the paradigm shift is complete. So this book is a somewhat more staid, less controversial, but hopefully more fully explicated, statement of an increasingly accepted view of cities and social change.

Over the years, many people have helped me on this project. First, I must thank those who contributed back in the Carolinas. Alejandro Portes' graduate seminar on "Cities and Social Change" at Duke University provided an intriguing introduction to this topic. My doctoral committee at UNC, chaired by Amos Hawley, and including Gary Gereffi, Gerhard Lenski, Peter Marsden, and Barbara Stenross, was a stellar constellation of scholars. I was very lucky: They provided not only steady guidance, commentary and critique, but also a great deal of latitude to develop the project as I saw fit. Other graduate students in Chapel Hill--among them Karen Campbell, Valerie Haines, Mike Kennedy, Dave Maume, Roger Nemeth, and Shelley Pendleton--added to the stimulating and supportive environment. Josie Rush and Darla Ladkau at the University of South Carolina took on a major word-processing job (back when I was just learning Wordstar) to get out an early draft.

The major work done over the long haul to actually produce this book was carried out here at the University of California at Irvine. I particularly would like to thank colleagues who read portions of the manuscript: Francesca Cancian, Judy Treas, Sam Gilmore, and Judy Stepan-Norris. Jószef Böröcz, Nancy Naples, Dorie Solinger, and Steve Topik deserve some credit, too--they are faculty who have made Irvine an intellectually exciting place for me. While not directly involved with this project, my own doctoral students in our Social Relations Ph.D. program provided a steady stream of new insights that enriched my perspective; I would especially like to thank Ku-Sup Chin, Angela Crowly, Dennis Downey, Linda Miller Matthei, and Yoonies Park. Finally, thanks to the staff of the School of

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.