Building new concepts in urban studies: Challenges and tactics in comparative urbanism - II - Composing comparisons

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM (MDT)
Room: Balcony A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Jennifer Robinson, Alvaro Sanchez Jimenez
Chairs: Lukasz Stanek


While the imperative to think the urban “with elsewhere” catches some of the core challenges of understanding global urbanisation, the discrete territoriality of the conventional comparative imagination is a poor fit with complex, networked and dispersed spatialities of interdependent urban territories, or the extended, even planetary, urbanisation processes which characterise contemporary urbanisation. So, to rethink the urban, it is necessary to rethink methodologies and tactics for building understandings of urbanisation processes and outcomes. Alongside emergent processes of urbanisation, analytical concerns regarding how perspective and positionality frame theoretical debates, as well as longstanding awareness of the distinctive specificities of particular urban places, cities, territories or transcalar interactions, set a formidable methodological agenda. Navigating between the spatialities of concept formation and those of urban processes and outcomes, the comparative imagination and method require significant reconfiguration. In these sessions presenters whose work engages with different regions and disciplinary problematics explore a range of creative responses to the challenges of building comparative insights, including attention to the practice of comparison, methodological innovations and ways to rethink comparison as such.

This second session ("Composing comparisons") considers what, in the absence of interconnections which draw different urban situations into comparative reflection, might be good grounds and tactics for comparison? What are the "units of comparison"? What might be good starting points for generating and mobilising conceptualisations. In the process of generating concepts, comparative practice must chart a path through the messy practicalities of composing and enacting a comparison: presenters in this session consider active comparative analyses which extend, renew and create new urban concepts, as well as highlight the practicalities of building comparisons across different phases of the research process.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Alvaro Sanchez Jimenez*, , Theorising the urban dimension of economic crisis: global concepts, local experiences and experimental methods 20 3:05 PM
Presenter Oded Haas*, York University, The global housing crisis seen from Palestine/Israel: Producing the colonial present, one new city at a time 20 3:25 PM
Presenter Jennifer Robinson*, University College London, Extracting Value, London Style: Thinking urban politics beyond "variegation" 20 3:45 PM
Presenter Helga Leitner*, University of California, Los Angeles, Eric Sheppard*, UCLA, Theorizing through Jakarta and Bangalore: Speculative urbanism and the multi-scalar rental economy 20 4:05 PM
Discussant Gavin Shatkin Northeastern University 10 4:25 PM

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