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Space, the City and Social Theory: Social Relations and Urban Forms

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2826-4
176 pages
March 2006, Polity
Space, the City and Social Theory: Social Relations and Urban Forms (0745628265) cover image


Space, the City and Social Theory offers a clear and critical account of key approaches to cities and urban space within social theory and analysis. It explores the relation of the social and the spatial in the context of critical urban themes: community and anonymity; social difference and spatial divisions; politics and public space; gentrification and urban renewal; gender and sexuality; subjectivity and space; experience and everyday practice in the city.

The text adopts an international and interdisciplinary approach, drawing on a range of debates on cities and urban life. It brings together classic perspectives in urban sociology and social theory with the analysis of contemporary urban problems and issues. Rather than viewing the urban simply as a backdrop for more general social processes, the discussion looks at how social and spatial relations shape different versions of the city: as a place of social interaction and of solitude; as a site of difference and segregation; as a space of politics and power; as a landscape of economic and cultural distinction; as a realm of everyday experience and freedom. Similarly, it examines how core social categories - such as class, culture, gender, sexuality and community - are shaped and reproduced in urban contexts.

Linking debates in urban studies to wider concerns within social theory and analysis, this accessible text will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students in urban sociology, social and cultural geography, urban and cultural studies.

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Table of Contents



1. Community and Solitude: Social Relations in the City.

2. Spaces of Difference and Division.

3. The Politics of Space: Social Movements and Public Space.

4. Capital and Culture: Gentrifying the City.

5. Embodied Spaces: Gender, Sexuality and the City.

6. Spatial Stories: Subjectivity in the City.

7. Making Space: Urban Cultures, Spatial Tactics.




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Author Information

Fran Tonkiss is a Lecturer in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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“A wonderfully eclectic but focused book about social relations and spatial process in the US city.”
British Journal of Sociology

“Fran Tonkiss has written an important book. She shows the ways in which classic social theory continues to haunt the understanding of modern urban life. In clear, direct prose she shows also the ways cities are changing, and so require new thinking. The urbanite as well as the urbanist will be provoked.”
Richard Sennett, London School of Economics

“This is an exceptionally useful and inspiring book that will be used to instruct many of the urbanists of the future.”
Nigel Thrift, University of Oxford

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