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Cities: Reimagining the Urban

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2413-6
192 pages
April 2002, Polity
Cities: Reimagining the Urban (0745624138) cover image


This book develops a fresh and challenging perspective on the city. Drawing on a wide and diverse range of material and texts, it argues that too much contemporary urban theory is based on nostalgia for a humane, face-to-face and bounded city. Amin and Thrift maintain that the traditional divide between the city and the rest of the world has been perforated through urban encroachment, the thickening of the links between the two, and urbanization as a way of life.

They outline an innovative sociology of the city that scatters urban life along a series of sites and circulations, reinstating previously suppressed areas of contemporary urban life: from the presence of non-human activity to the centrality of distant connections. The implications of this viewpoint are traced through a series of chapters on power, economy and democracy.

This concise and accessible book will be of interest to students and scholars in sociology, geography, urban studies, cultural studies and politics.


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Table of Contents



1. The Legibility of the Everyday City:.


The New Urbanism in Context.

The Flâneur and Transitivity.

Rhythms and Rhythmanalysis.

Urban Footprints and Namings.

A Basic Ontology.

2. Propinquity and Flow in the City:.


The Nostalgic City.

Near and Far.

Distanciated Communities.

The Restless Site.


3. Cities in a Distanciated Ecomony:.


The Urbanised Economy.

Cities as Sites.


4. The Machinic City:.



The City of Passions.

The Engineering of Certainty.

5. Powerful Cities:.


Diagrams of Power.

Escape Attempts.



6. The Democratic City:.


‘Creating a Democratic Public'.

Political City.

Rights to the City: A Politics of the Commons.

A Mobile Politics.

Afterword: Testing New Ground.



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Author Information

Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at the University of Durham.

Nigel Thrift is Professor of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Provides a fresh and challenging perspective on debates surrounding cities and urban theory
  • Argues that too much contemporary theory is based on nostalgia for a humane and bounded city
  • Shows that the traditional divide between the city and countryside has been perforated through urban encroachment
  • Includes chapters on the nature of power, democracy and the economy in the city
  • Offers a lively discussion at a time when this topic is widely and vigorously discussed
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‘A wonderfully incisive dissection of new configurations of "cities" in the contemporary world.' John Urry, Lancaster University

‘A brilliant re-viewing of cities. Bursting with fresh insights, it demands that we see and hear urban life and the everyday workings of the metropolis in new ways, that we re-cognize urban complexities, that we resensitize ourselves to all the transitory conjunctures and disjunctures through which the urban is perpetually (re)constituted, that we reconceive the terrain of urban political possibility. In short, if there is one book to be read on contemporary urban phenomena, this is unquestionably it.' Allan Pred, University of California at Berkeley

"In this important and provocative book, Amin and Thrift set out the rudiments of what might be termed a 'post -urban sociology...The book is certainly an intellectual tour-de-force. It fizzes with ideas and brings a range of novel perspectives to bear...I will certainly be looking forward to reading the future works of these writers" Mike Savage, Sociology

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