Cities of Difference

Cities of Difference

Cities of Difference

Cities of Difference

Synopsis

How can contemporary theories of difference enhance our understanding of traditional urban studies concerns such as housing, labor markets, and structures of state entitlement? What are the connections between urban space and identity politics? This provocative text provides fresh perspectives on the fragmented city within a cultural political economy framework. Contributors explore the role of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, able-bodiedness, and other axes of difference in the geography of postmodern cities. Using a range of cutting-edge theoretical and methodological approaches, the book probes the relationship of the broader realities of urban life -- economic polarization, gentrification, and the proliferation of sites of consumption -- to the everyday life and political power of different communities.

Excerpt

In the early 1990s we found ourselves teaching in the same academic place -- the Department of Geography at the University of Melbourne. This was -- is -- a relief, a great support, and a delight. The idea of this volume emerged from our proximity, when it became clear that we could draw on our different international experiences (Jane's in the United Kingdom and Ruth's in North America) and our different perspectives on cities and urban processes to compile a collection that spanned many of the preoccupations of contemporary English- speaking and urban-focused geographies of difference. This book showcases a range of intellectual styles from across the countries and places of English-speaking geography, even as it documents the common project of marking, critically, contemporary encounters between cities and expressions of identity.

We have enjoyed working with the contributors to the book, and thank them most warmly for their interest in the project and for the wonderful chapters they have made available for it. Many kilometers of communication through international cyberspace have been logged up in the organization of this collection, and we have appreciated very much those who deemed it significant even though it was sourced in Australia! Peter Wissoker, our editor at The Guilford Press, has been a model of appropriate support, intervening at precisely the right times and never at the wrong times! We thank him for his continued encouragement. We would also like to thank Jeannie Tang for her careful editorial work. We are grateful for the community of critical geographers -- staff and students -- in our department at the University of Melbourne, for providing an environment in which this project was feasible. And we have greatly appreciated the presence in Melbourne of a sizable group of feminist geographers, scattered around various institutions and places but meeting regularly.

RUTH FINCHER JANE MJACOBS

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