Urban and Urbanization

Urban theory with an outside

This paper critically engages planetary urbanization’s claim that it generates ‘Urban Theory Without an Outside’. It argues planetary urbanization is part of the broader ideological terrain of urban studies whose textual field reifies the city, the urban and urbanization as objects and processes of analyses through a kind of ‘methodological urbanization’. The paper argues the conceptual and political value of delineating views from outside urban studies and planetary urbanization – in particular from domains like area studies – that unmoor the primacy of the city, the urban and particularly urbanization in understandings of socio-spatial processes across planetary space. It suggests how these perspectives can usefully act as ‘supplements’ indifferent to urban studies, reminding urban studies of the limits of its own forms of knowledge production in relation to socio-spatial process and city formation. To do this, the paper sketches an anti-colonial history of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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Volume 36 Issue 3

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