Worth a Read: Andy Merrifield on Marxism and the City

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I read Andy Merrifield’s book Metromarxism  back in graduate school and found it a great primer for thinking about the city, space and capital–as he writes in the introduction:

“Thinking about the city from the standpoint of a Marxist, and about Marxism from the standpoint of an urbanist, is fraught with a lot of difficulties. For Marxist urbanists, this double movement runs the danger of tugging one in opposite directions or else having one fall between two stools. The present offering tries to reconcile these two political and intellectual imaginations.”(2002: 1)

The book consists of relatively short but (direct?)action-packed chapters on specific figures–there’s a great balance between large scale issues/other voices and specific information about the named subject: Ch1. Karl Marx, Ch2. Frederick Engels, Ch3. Walter Benjamin, Ch4. Henri Lefebvre, Ch5. Guy Debord, Ch6. Manuel Castells, Ch7. David Harvey, Ch8. Marshall Berman (what a great reading it would be for an Intro to Urban Studies course…). Plus, great writing style, brisk pace that doesn’t sacrifice depth. He’s also got a great book on Lefebvre alone (Henri Lefebvre: A Critical Introduction) and also Guy Debord (in the Critical Lives series with Reaktion Books–which I think I picked up in a used book store in Atlanta… no good used book stores in Charleston, as with many places I imagine). I still have to get a copy of Magical Marxism (above in gallery–if anyone’s read it share your thoughts…).

See also his work for The Nation, & his recent piece in the New Left Review is also worth a read (although a word of caution: I saw it advertised in the NYRB as part of a NLR spread as an essay on “indignado politics”–which it was–but it is more globally focused than a piece concentrating on Spain itself…), still, it’s…

Worth a Read

[Call for “Worth a Read” postings–Reading something interesting related to Urban Cultural Studies? Post about it here!! The more voices the merrier! see the “About” and “How to Post” pages]

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2 thoughts on “Worth a Read: Andy Merrifield on Marxism and the City

  1. I’ve just read his latest book, The Politics of the Encounter:Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization, which was pretty good in terms of wide-range of concepts he’s bring forth. The major theme, as he himself proclaims, is a critique of The Right to the City. An interesting take.

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