The end of the time of the city?

Urbanization and the migrant in British cinema

Authored by: Gareth Millington

The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138058880
eBook ISBN: 9781315163956
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter analyses the urban imaginaries contained in a short cycle of British films (1999–2007) that are all concerned with migration. The chapter responds to three questions: (1) How does this cycle of films “make sense” of contemporary, expansive urbanization and migration; (2) How does this cycle of films create an image and an imaginary for contemporary, expansive urbanization that is distinct from that of the image of the city? (3) How might this imaginary be implicated in the production of space and within processes of urbanization? The first section of the chapter examines planetary urbanization and considers why this emergent terrain is still haunted by the specter of the city. The second section contains the analysis of the cycle of films. Using a variety of movie stills, the discussion engages with the themes of migration and urbanization and draws upon the work of authors such as Derrida, Lefebvre, Rancière, and Gordon. This discussion is divided in two: a sub-section about “images of the city” and another titled “images of urbanization”.

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