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Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution [Hardcover]

David Harvey
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 April 2012
Cities have long been the pivotal sites of political revolutions, where deeper currents of social and political change are fleshed out. Consequently, they have been the subject of much utopian thinking about alternatives. But at the same time, they are also the centers of capital accumulation, and therefore the frontline for struggles over who has the right to the city, and who dictates the quality and organization of daily life. Is it the developers and financiers, or the people? REBEL CITIES places the city at the heart of both capital and class struggles, looking at locations ranging from Johannesburg to Mumbai, and from New York City to Sao Paulo. By exploring how cities might be reorganized in more socially just and ecologically sane ways, David Harvey argues that cities can become the focus for anti-capitalist resistance.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (2 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678822
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'David Harvey provoked a revolution in his field and has inspired a generation of radical intellectuals.' --Naomi Klein

'Harvey is a scholarly radical; his writing is free of journalistic cliches, full of facts and carefully thought-through ideas.' --Richard Sennett

Praise for Limits to Capital: 'A magisterial work.' --Fredric Jameson

About the Author

DAVID HARVEY teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books, including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Spaces of Global Capitalism, A Companion to Marx's Capital, and The Enigma of Capital.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Harvey on the 'right to the city' 22 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Within Marxist economics, David Harvey has made himself a specialist in questions of space, place, and geography, and this book is a specific application of that body of thought to the urban. Previously, Harvey had written on the history of Paris as the development of modernity, on spatial differentiation of global capitalism, and similar topics; now, he has turned his eye on the city in the modern day, and the role of urban struggle in the struggle against capitalism more generally. In so doing, he makes a number of very valuable points of analysis. While he is at times, especially in the first chapter, somewhat vague in his summaries of (financial) capitalism generally, he is excellent when it comes to explaining the significance and particulars of the spatial dimension and the way it applies to the city. Harvey's analysis focuses on the city in two ways: first, as site of the generation of rents, and the role that rent plays in the accumulation of capital; and secondly, as a commons, created by the collective physical and symbolic production of its inhabitants.

On the former topic, his chapter on wine-making is particularly excellent, using this perhaps obscure topic to delineate how different kinds of rent are the practical form of accumulation and thereby structure its production from beginning to end. One important aspect here that Harvey rightly, and quite originally, underlines is the necessarily subjective nature of rent: because rent is a category of distribution, it is entirely dependent on the social convention of property, and thereby requires constant efforts to reinforce those symbolic and subjective discourses and ideologies that underpin its existence as property.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aux armes, citoyens! Encore... 30 May 2012
By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In 'Rebel Cities', David Harvey re-examines and interprets the basis of capitalist accumulation to show its essentially urban roots. This is certainly a wide and sweeping project and it is largely convincing.

He starts with 'The Urban Roots of Capitalist Crises', looking at the bases of the current malaise from a Marxist perspective. Too often, he suggests, Marxist analyses of the crises of capitalism parallel or mirror bourgeois economics, considering exploitation of the proletariat within a national economy. Harvey suggests that:

'[t]he role of the property market in creating the crisis conditions of 2007-09, and its aftermath of unemployment and austerity (much of it administered at the local and municipal level) is not well understood, because there has been no serious attempt to integrate an understanding of processes of urbanization and built-environment formation into the general theory of laws of motion of capital. As a consequence, many Marxists theorists, who love crises to death, tend to treat the recent crash as an obvious manifestation of their favoured version of Marxist crisis.' (P35)

Harvey goes on, therefore, to address this lack and to explore the role of housing and the built environment in the current crisis. Much of this will be familiar to anyone who has taken even a moderate interest in current affairs - the rise of predatory lending, the housing asset bubble, political pressures on state supported institutions such as the US Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, years of low interest rates and the supply of 'cheap' money all leading to the final collapse of the asset bubble. But he extends this account to consider the longer term 'capital accumulation through urbanization' (P42).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Effect of the Crisis? 7 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Who has the right to the city? And how did city centers become so fashionable that neither the under or the middle classes can afford to live there. David Harvey blames the increasing inequality as well as the crisis caused mainly by the real estate market. Harvey discusses the way of the economy and furthermore mentions the downturn of Fannie Mae og Freddie Mac - guarantors of almost 80% of all loans in 2008 and the fact that two wars in Iraq did something to the profits made under the president Clinton.

The book also describes how construction companies in Seoul hired teams of sumo wrestlers in order to make them invade and crush entire living areas so that people would abandon the areas and thereby leave them free for selling to rich people.
Also a critic of the formerly famous micro loans in Bangladesh is included. The loans are not so desirable anymore as they fix the women in indebted positions with interests of 18% or more.

The reading is quite demanding but provides an interesting angle to the connection between the economy of a nation and the right to the cities.
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