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The Anthropology of Cities: Imagining and Theorizing the City

Setha M. Low
Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 25 (1996), pp. 383-409
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2155832
Page Count: 27
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The Anthropology of Cities: Imagining and Theorizing the City
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Abstract

This review considers the following questions: Why is the city undertheorized in anthropology? Why is an anthropological voice rarely heard in the urban studies and urban policy discourse? Anthropological literature published since 1989 is reviewed, with an emphasis on contributions to urban theory and the locating of anthropological studies within the broader context of urban studies. The city is found not to be absent in anthropological theory, but it has had no major theoretical impact. The images of the ethnic city, divided city, deindustrialized city, and global city have been most influential, as has research in the areas of racism, migration, poststructural studies of conflict and resistance, and critiques of architecture and urban planning. The literature continues to focus on the links between the experience of individuals and sociopolitical and economic processes as well as on the cultural meaning of the urban environment. The newest areas of inquiry include the study of urban space and time, metropolitan knowledge, and ethnoaesthetics.

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