Can the straw man speak? An engagement with postcolonial critiques of 'global cities research'
journal contributionposted on 2018-10-17, 07:45 authored by Michiel Van Meeteren, Ben Derudder, David Bassens
This paper engages with postcolonial critiques of global cities research (GCR). We argue that such criticisms tend to be hampered by their tendency to be polemical rather than engaging, as evidenced by both the quasi-systematic misrepresentation of the core objectives of GCR and the skating over of its internal diversity. We present a genealogy of postcolonial critiques starting from Robinson’s (2002) agenda-setting discussion of GCR, followed by an analysis of how her legitimate concerns have subsequently morphed into a set of apparent truisms. These misrepresentations are then contrasted with the purposes, diversity, and critical character of GCR as actually practiced. We interpret this discrepancy to be part of a gradually routinized straw man rhetoric that emerged as an unfortunate rallying point for postcolonial urban scholars. The consequence is that GCR tends to be casually invoked to distinguish one’s own position. We conclude by advocating practices of ‘engaged pluralism’ rather than ‘polemical pluralism’ when doing global urban research and propose that critical realism can provide an important epistemological bridge to make different positions communicate.
- Social Sciences
- Geography and Environment
Published inDialogues in Human Geography
Pages247 - 267
CitationVAN MEETEREN, M., DERUDDER, B. and BASSENS, D., 2016. Can the straw man speak? An engagement with postcolonial critiques of 'global cities research'. Dialogues in Human Geography, 6 (3), pp.247-267.
PublisherSAGE Publications © The Author(s)
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Publisher statementThis work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
NotesThis paper was published in the journal Dialogues in Human Geography and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820616675984.