Spaces of Difference

Challenging urban divisions from the north to the south

Authored by: Sophie Watson

The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415818650
eBook ISBN: 9780203387832
Adobe ISBN: 9781136678202


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Discourses of difference proliferate across the terrain of urban and social theory to encompass gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age and physical ability. Such thinking has a now distinguished history developing from the 1970s where divisions of class which dominated the debates in urban theory, notably Marxist theory, were challenged by feminists, Black activists, gays and disabled groups in particular, who argued that class only told a part of the story of inequality and oppression. Over the following decades, there was a shift from the notion of division to the notion of difference, to signal the complex relations of power, inequality, identity and subjectivity. This shift usefully connects to Roy's (2011) notion of ‘worlding’ the city of the south, where she seeks to find a register to engage the normality of the diversely lived experience of those cities on their own terms.

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