Commentary on Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City by Warren Magnusson


Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City is Warren Magnusson’s most recent book. It will find a permanent place as a key contribution in the annals of urban studies, urban politics, political and state theory and international relations, marking a turning point in the way scholars, activists and policymakers see the world. In particular, Magnusson fundamentally questions how we understand and analyse our world from the perspective of the state (the illusion of the sovereign), suggesting we shift instead to the perspective of the city (with its multiplicity of authorities). ‘How welcome should this be?’ is the question that I put to three Canadian colleagues — Roger Keil, Andrew Sancton and Zack Taylor — at the 2011 meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in Waterloo, ON, Canada. Their answers follow a summary of this rather concise and very readable book that Serena Kataoka and I prepared to introduce those commentaries.