Ross Exo Adams, Circulation and Urbanization – Sage 2018 (Society and Space series)

93182_9781473963313.jpgRoss Exo Adams, Circulation and UrbanizationSage 2018 (Society and Space series)

Circulation and Urbanization is a foundational investigation into the history of the urban. Moving beyond both canonical and empirical portrayals, the book approaches the urban through a genealogy of circulation – a concept central to Western political thought and its modes of spatial planning. Locating architectural knowledge in a wider network of political history, legal theory, geography, sociology and critical theory, and drawing on maritime, territorial and colonial histories, Adams contends that the urban arose in the nineteenth century as an anonymous, parallel project of the emergent liberal nation state. More than a reflection of this state form or the product of the capitalist relations it fostered, the urban is instead a primary instrument for both: at once means and ends.

Combining analytical precision with interdisciplinary insights, this book offers an astonishing new set of propositions for revisiting a familiar, yet increasingly urgent, topic. It is a vital resource for all students and scholars of architecture and urban studies.

This book is part of the Society and Space series, which explores the fascinating relationship between the spatial and the social. These stimulating, provocative books draw on a range of theories to examine key cultural and political issues of our times, including technology, globalisation and migration.

Circulation and Urbanization is a timely and powerful retheorization both of the “urban” and of processes of urbanization, artfully marking out the complex and often elusive historical entanglements of spatial orders, forms of management, technologies of political power, legal frameworks, economic relations, and infrastructures of circulation as they emerged in the 19th century.  Taking as a starting point Ildefonso Cerdá’s Teoría general de la urbanización, Adams brilliantly resituates the epistemic and political legacy of this landmark study, offering at once a prehistory of the contemporary nexus of space, the state, security, and capital, and a conceptual toolbox, even a cartography for understanding how power functions within cities and populations, and upon subjects, through circulation and urbanization.  The book’s ramifications are rich and manifold, for this interdisciplinary study also harbours a cogent diagram for confronting such processes with new political strategies, for opening up new types of political space.

Felicity Scott
Columbia University

Adams shatters conventional urban thought to reveal (and revel in) the circulatory logics at the heart of urbanization. A truly eye-opening book.

Philip Steinberg
Durham University

Urbanists of the world:  rethink your most basic assumptions!  In this path-breaking intervention, Ross Exo Adams reveals that “cities” are only one dimension of the urban problematique.  His wide-ranging explorations radically destabilize contemporary urban ideologies.  They also produce a strikingly original perspective on the historicity and present situation of cities, urbanization, infrastructure, territory and design.  This is essential reading for anyone concerned to understand and shape the worlds of urbanization we have inherited from earlier rounds of capitalist industrial development, state strategy and everyday insurgency.

Neil Brenner
Harvard University

This is the latest book in the Sage Society and Space book series, which I edit.

Previously published titles are

David Beer, The Data Gaze

Dan Bulley, Migration, Ethics and Power: Spaces Of Hospitality In International Politics

Marcus Doel, Geographies of Violence: Killing Space, Killing Time

Francisco Klauser, Surveillance and Space

Forthcoming volumes include (titles provisional)

Martina Tazzioli, The Making of Migration

Shiloh Krupar and Greig Crysler, The Waste Complex: Capital \ Ecology \ Citizenship

Kirsten Simonsen and Lasse Koefoed, Geographies of Embodiment

If you’d like to discuss an idea for the series, please get in contact. While the books are not textbooks, they do need to be suitable for teaching, with a good possibility of adoption. Here’s the series description:

The Society and Space series explores the fascinating relationship between the spatial and the social. Each title draws on a range of modern and historical theories to offer important insights into the key cultural and political topics of our times, including migration, globalisation, race, gender, sexuality and technology. These stimulating and provocative books combine high intellectual standards with contemporary appeal for students of politics, international relations, sociology, philosophy, and human geography.

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