Call for Papers – ‘Urban Theory: States of the Art’

Urban — New Series, 6

Call for Papers — ‘Urban Theory: States of the Art’

There will never be good urban planning without a consistent urban theory. This controversial aphorism could serve to open the debate proposed by the journal in a forthcoming special issue. Urban theory (the theory of the city and urbanisation processes) has had a complex historic relationship with planning practice and urban policies: anticipation of more or less happy worlds, expert dissection of already materialised urban phenomena, critical interpretation that re-imagines the past and the present of cities and territories, opening up a new horizon for them… The state of theoretical work is without a doubt an effective index of the health and the perspectives of the planning field, but could it also be a weapon loaded with future? Can we still devise theories that are able to change the facts of an increasingly complex and variegated urban world, oblivious to any hint of rationality? Or on the other hand, should theory be satisfied with a ‘modest witness’ attitude, and look for productions of meaning in the fissures of prevailing urban discourses? What theoretical perspectives should we pursue, using what conceptual tools and within what intellectual frameworks? How should theory be articulated with practice? What sort of theory is our urban world asking for in the context of the global crisis? To what extent can attempts to understand the crisis help to broaden the theoretical field of the urban phenomenon?

This special issue of Urban aims to highlight international contributions that systematically and critically explore the state of the art in the various fields of urban theory, and link them to the broader trends of contemporary social theory — from planning to geography, from sociology to history and beyond, in the general perspective of technical knowledge, social sciences and humanities. Contributions that analyse current ideas about the intersections of the city, the economy, society, politics, culture, technology, nature, environment, design, institutions, etc. are especially welcome. Authors are expected to consider and problematise the link between planning theory and practice, remembering that ‘experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play’. Ultimately, how can urban theory contribute to bring about change not only in knowledge and discourse about the city, but also in the actual processes that sustain and transform it? Is urbanism faced with a panorama doomed to a generalised ‘poverty of theory’ or on the contrary, can we imagine a flourishing future in which urban theory occupies a place of its own in the broader field of social theory?

Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2013

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2 Responses to Call for Papers – ‘Urban Theory: States of the Art’

  1. Reblogged this on urbanculturalstudies and commented:
    Great journal, great theme.

  2. Reblogged this on deleuzianexcursus and commented:
    good food for thought

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