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Avi Sharma

In a World of Cities: From Metropolitan to Global Networks

Modul 6: Stadt im Netz

Mittwoch 10-12 Uhr • HBS 103 • Beginn: 20.04.2016

For more than 100 years, cities have been a key focus of social theory.  Simmel wrote of “Strangers” and “blasé cosmopolitans;” Benjamin thought the urban Flaneur represented a new feature of the modern; Tönnies worried about degenerates.  All of these theories were developed in Metropolitan capitals of the 19th and 20th centuries.  But in recent decades, urban theory has begun to ask how these “Metropolitan -Worlds” fit into the global networks that helped create them.  Do New York, London, Berlin or Paris capture the complexities of the Urban?

The present course explores “cities in a world of cities.” How were/are Berlin, Paris, New York and London related to Mumbai, Dar es Salaam, and Caracas?  Do rich cities in the West share characteristics with the mega-cities of the Global South?  Does a “global perspective” help us to better understand the Urban?  And are there ways to overcome “two world thinking” – dividing the world between Global North and Global South; Developed and Developing Countries – that has for decades dominated social scientific discourse?

This course argues that differences between – and the similarity of – cities across the world need to be understood historically, and that extreme inequality in the Global South is tied to the wealth of the world’s richest cities.  It also argues that those of us living in New York, Berlin, London or Hong Kong would be well-advised to “learn lessons” from cities like Lagos, Dar es Salaam, Mexico City, and Delhi.  And that genuinely Global perspectives will allow us to move beyond “two world thinking.”  While the course examines culture, local politics, and micro-economies, it is primarily concerned with the epochal moments in modern capital – what is frequently referred to as “imperial”, “post-colonial”, and “neo-liberal.”

Einführende Literatur:
Neil Brenner and Roger Keil, Hrsg. The Global Cities Reader. London und New York: Routledge, 2006.  Andreas Huyssen, Hrsg. Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008. Robert Neuwirth, Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, a New Urban World.  London and New York: Routledge, 2007

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