Skip to main content

New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times




New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times

AbdouMaliq Simone, Edgar Pieterse

ISBN: 978-0-745-69159-6 August 2017 Polity 192 Pages


It is well known that the world is transitioning to an irrevocable urban future whose epicentre has moved into the cities of Asia and Africa. What is less clear is how this will be managed and deployed as a multi-polar world system is being born. The full implications of this challenge cry out to be understood because city building (and retrofitting) cannot but be an undertaking entangled in profound societal and cultural shifts.

In this highly original account, renowned urban sociologists AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse offer a call for action based fundamentally on the detail of people's lives. Urban regions are replete with residents who are compelled to come up with innovative ways to maintain or extend livelihoods, whose makeshift character is rarely institutionalized into a fixed set of practices, locales or organizational forms. This novel analytical approach reveals a more complex relationship between people, the state and other agents than has previously been understood. As the authors argue, we need adequate concepts and practices to grasp the composition and intricacy of these shifting efforts to make visible new political possibilities for action and social justice in cities across Asia and Africa.

Detailed Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Paradoxes of the Urban
Chapter 2: Precarious Now
Chapter 3: Re-Description
Chapter 4: Secretions
Chapter 5: Horizons From Within the Break
Chapter 6: Experimentations
Chapter 7: Epilogue: A Story About Stories

"Ceaselessly inventive and frequently provocative, New Urban Worlds anticipates new models, methods and modes of urbanism. Paying attention to the details, AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse recount a multiplicity of urban stories from Asia and Africa - stories of political possibility and experimental potential - with a keen-eyed and always creative purpose."
Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia

"Deeply conceptual and creatively pragmatic, this is a core text from two of the most significant voices in urban studies today. They offer a highly original retheorization of the urban and open up distinctive new horizons for scholars everywhere seeking to catch the dynamic, varied meanings and effects of the urban."
Jennifer Robinson, University College London

"The vision of urban life that emerges here is messy, pluralistic, paradoxical and - perhaps above all - serendipitous. Simone and Pieterse call on researchers to be as experimental and eclectic in our scholarship as urban inhabitants are in their everyday lives; borrowing ideas and resources from different domains, and re-assembling them in ways that shed new light on pressing issues."
Urban Studies