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The Urban Revolution Paperback – 11 Feb 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (11 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816641609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816641604
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
In ‘The Urban Revolution’, Henri Lefebvre, the sole writer of this book and a prominent French thinker who wrote on the ideas of space and modernity as well, sets out to give a whole new and original insight into the growth and development of urban environments and their (often unrealised) complexities. The complex and fascinating social, political, spatial and economic relationships that exist in urban society are the main focus of Lefebvre’s writing throughout the book. Although the work appears short, Lefebvre puts forward a lot of his insight and information for the reader to digest.
One of Lefebvre’s early points is the idea that an “urban society” is the finished result of a transition of stages, beginning with an agrarian and more primitive society, which is in turn superseded by a political, then mercantile and then an industrial stage, with society becoming more and more complex. The culmination of all this is the “urban society”, whose characteristics depend upon the characteristics as they existed during the course of industrialisation. Interestingly, Lefebvre didn’t regard this culmination as being the peak of accomplishment or sophistication for an urban environment but more as a ‘possibility, defined by a direction’ and to reach it, obstacles that make it ‘impossible’ have to be overcome.
The style in which Lefebvre writes all of this is what helps the book flow. He is always questioning the reader for one, which forces us to think about what he is saying. Although many of his ideas can be difficult to grasp immediately, his interesting writing style, which is vivid and suggestive, makes up for it, which is why the book is exciting to read.
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Henri Lefebvre through this book provides an intellectual seed to Marxist Urban Theory. This book configures an intellectual manifesto. Through it, Lefebvre gave a reinterpretation Marx's works. Also, he criticised the way Marx's work functioned in totalitarian communist governments, where power was quite far from proletariat. This book is a snowball of coherent understanding behind the production of the urban: while you advance through the pages, you're more convinced about his argument. He points out that lack of ideology and theory in urbanism works in favour of capitalism, undermining the achievement of a just city and facilitating the triumph of the elite in the class struggle. Unconsciousness, depoliticization, and dis-ideologization of urban disciplines make the job hide the obscure process of social segregation. Along the text you can find several proposals to overthrow this capitalist urban production, however that is something that you might discover. As Lefebvre says, this is an ambiguous and open intellectualization of the urban life. This is not a prescription to resolve the problems of the world or something like that. Instead, this is the very justification of the necessity to build an epistemology of the urbanism. "The urban revolution" is a demanding for theorize processes of urban production; a desperate cry against the urbanists to save urban life from the claws of capitalist individualisation and alienation of society. For him, the urban have the key to reaching social justice and happiness in the everyday life.
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By MRS K A OBRIEN on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Totally readable, great value
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
5 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Jargony and too pat with high level abstractions 11 Aug. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is very abstract and jargony with Marxist undertones, but novel. Probably a "must read" in "the literature" but in reality not a very important book to have under one's belt
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