Urban and Urbanization

Pushing the limits of urban research: Urbanization, pipelines and counter-colonial politics

This article confronts debates about extended and concentrated urbanization with Indigenous claims to time and space. It does so in part by discussing the degree to which notions of extended and concentrated urbanization allow us to understand the dynamics of pipeline politics in Canada, notably Indigenous claims leveled at infrastructure projects. It argues that Lefebvre-inspired research is both promising and insufficient in this regard. Their promises can only be realized provided one considers urban research as mediation (between everyday life and the social order), contextualize urbanization as a product of non-linear histories through which ‘city’ and ‘non-city’ are transformed or reinstituted as socio-spatial forms, and take seriously imaginaries that may not only contest but also refuse the expansion of the urban field. Meeting these conditions is not possible without resorting to other, non-Lefebvrean approaches that help us understand the settler-colonial aspects of Canadian urban history and grasp the inter-national dimensions of Indigenous politics. Finally, opening up Lefebvre scholarship to considerations of settler colonialism is impossible without the distinct relational theories of time and space that inform radical Indigenous theories (and some pipeline struggles). Indigenous claims in or against urbanization thus represent a limit case of urban research.

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Volume 36 Issue 3

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