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New Urban SpacesUrban Theory and the Scale Question$
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Neil Brenner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190627188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190627188.001.0001

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Between Fixity and Motion: Scaling the Urban Fabric

Between Fixity and Motion: Scaling the Urban Fabric

(p.46) 2 Between Fixity and Motion: Scaling the Urban Fabric
New Urban Spaces

Neil Brenner

Oxford University Press

In what sense are scales socially produced and politically contested? Beginning in the 1970s, radical geographers offered a series of innovative approaches to this question, connecting it systematically to theories of capital accumulation, uneven spatial development, state space, and contentious politics. Against that background, this chapter excavates the distinctive scalar analytics that are embedded within several key ideas of David Harvey and Henri Lefebvre, with particular reference to the fixity/motion contradiction under capitalism, the concept of the urban fabric, the scalar intermeshing of urban space and state space, and the process of rescaling. This analysis generates a scale-attuned theorization of the capitalist urban fabric, a critique of city-centric conceptions of the urban question, and a state-theoretical understanding of the process Lefebvre famously described as the “planetarization of the urban.” This theorization grounds the explorations of urban restructuring and rescaling that are elaborated in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   urban question, production of scale, rescaling, fixity/motion contradiction, David Harvey, Henri Lefebvre, urban fabric, state space, planetary urbanization

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