Contemporary discourse emphasizes the irrational, unconscious,
discursive and displaced experiences of city life. Discussion of
conscious agency is minimal and is often confined to small acts of
resistance. Reason in the City of Difference aims to re-establish a
strong notion of conscious agency in our understanding of urban
life. Through philosophical and empirical exploration, the book
examines how the city has been shaped by reason - through the
technical rationality of urban planning and through the profound
social and spatial effects of economic rationality. It argues that
we get a view of the oppressiveness of cities from a preoccupation
with the effects of narrow instrumental rationality. If we see
rationality in a wider context, as cultural and expressive, then
the city has emancipatory potential through its diversity. Using a
range of empirical examples and drawing particularly on pragmatist
ideas of 'experience' and rationality, Reason in the City of
Difference offers a new, alternative reading of the city.
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