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Urban Awakenings

Disturbance and Enchantment in the Industrial City

Authors: Alexander, Samuel, Gleeson, Brendan

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  • Presents an ‘urban politics of enchantment’: a recognition that an effective urban politics must be an affective politics, one that changes not only how we think about the world, but also the way we feel, perceive, judge, create, and in the end, exist in the world
  • Offers an ethics of resistance to the rule of commodity rationality and thereby provides, or threatens to provide, a foundation for a new, post-capitalist urban politics of renewal 
  • Accessibly written in colloquial and approachable language, but grounded in ethnographic research
  • Will broadly appeal to general readers, as well as scholars and students in urban studies, urban theory and practice; urban political ecology and geography; sustainability transitions; climate change; political and social theory; and resistance
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  • ISBN 978-981-15-7861-8
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About this book

This book presents a series of urban investigations undertaken in the metropolis of Melbourne. It is based on the idea that ‘enchantment’ as an affective state is important to ethical and political engagement. Alexander and Gleeson argue that a sense of enchantment can give people the impulse to care and engage in an increasingly troubled world, whereas disenchantment can lead to resignation. Applying and extending this theory to the urban landscape, the authors walk their home city with eyes open to the possibility of seeing and experiencing the industrial city in different ways. This unique methodology, described as ‘urban tramping’, positions the authors as freethinking freewalkers of the city, encumbered only with the duty to look through the delusions of industrial capitalism towards its troubled, contradictory soul. These urban investigations were disrupted midway by COVID-19, a plague that ended up confirming the book’s central thesis of a fractured modernity vulnerable to various internal contradictions.

About the authors

Dr Samuel Alexander is a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. He is co-author of Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary (2019).
Professor Brendan Gleeson is Director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. He is co-author of Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary (2019).

Reviews

“Following their recent book Degrowth in the Suburbs, Samuel Alexander and Brendan Gleeson turn to the pulsating heart of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, their home city. Deploying age-old methods of tramping transects and direct observation, they assess this city’s contradictory enchantments and disturbances, its longer-term liveability and viability. Tramping this exemplar of the industrial city, they uncover a consumptive, unsustainable, late carbon civilization dependent on its immediate hinterland, trapped in growth fetishism and inhabited by a troubled ‘homo urbanis’—but still with its considerable charms. Navigating the COVID-19 regulatory lockdown results in an unusual natural experiment as the fault lines of the industrial city are exposed as vulnerable to depopulation, degrowth, deconsumption, and demise. The engaging narrative clips along at rhythmic tramping pace, replete with evocative metaphors, philosophical reflections on the contradictions of late modernity, deep ecological concerns and some welcome humour. This highly readable and lavishly illustrated book ends with a rousing call to action. A must read for anyone concerned about the future of cities, of humankind, and the natural world under siege from the still dominant neoliberal order.” (Jon Altman AM, Emeritus Professor, The Australian National University, Canberra)

Table of contents (22 chapters)

Table of contents (22 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $29.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-981-15-7861-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $37.99
price for USA

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Urban Awakenings
Book Subtitle
Disturbance and Enchantment in the Industrial City
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
eBook ISBN
978-981-15-7861-8
DOI
10.1007/978-981-15-7861-8
Softcover ISBN
978-981-15-7860-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VI, 255
Number of Illustrations
6 b/w illustrations, 71 illustrations in colour
Topics