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Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Paperback – 22 Apr 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; 2 edition (22 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680742
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Forensic and ferocious. --Owen Hatherley, Guardian

A consistent intelligent voice of the left. --Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

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

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, and A Companion to Marx's Capital.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
I found this a great disappointment. In retrospect the acknowledgement section, which explains that some chapters first appeared in New Left Review, ought to have been a clue. This sits in the same quasi-academic space that NLR does. It seems to be more about claiming academic validity for a Marxist perspective than it is about educating activists or providing them with arguments. There is a debate with an imaginary opponent about whether it's valid to support community and urban struggles rather than ones based in the workplace - who thinks that only workplace struggles are valid? Not any leftists I've met lately. Towards the end there is a paean to the Occupy movement that seems touching and naive, because that 'movement' seems to have left no trace at all, at east in the UK.
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