My intervention responds to the prompt about the relationship between IJURR and the contemporary historical conjuncture. The unfolding political events and struggles in our cities, their scope and intensity, particularly in the past decade or so, have made this issue a critical one for urban scholars. This, however, is not a merely scholarly matter: being attentive to unfolding political events and struggles, engaging with them as activists (as happens to be the case with some of us) but also as scholars is of paramount importance in our contemporary context of growing anti-intellectualism. Intensifying political conflict and anti-intellectualism is a poisonous mix, history tells us.
IJURR has always been critical and political, but what it means to be critical and political has changed over the years, as forty years of urban research published in IJURR show. The journal has been at the forefront of urban research in analysing, interpreting, reflecting back on and conceptualising power structures and struggles in cities. But perhaps it has been less effective in responding quickly to unfolding conflicts. I am not thinking about hasty soundbites, but the new publishing platforms that are now at our disposal could be mobilised for quicker, shorter pieces responding to emerging and ongoing urban issues, which would then help outline a trail for further research.
Although IJURR has been at the forefront of research on and conceptualisation of urban social movements, it has, it seems to me, overlooked more unruly practices, such as riots. This is one component of our contemporary historical conjuncture that we can no longer afford to neglect. Riots, it seems, will be part of our urban futures if our cities continue to grow as they do, and be governed by economic imperatives that favour the few and political practices that oppress the many.
Let me end this short intervention with a theme that has been prominent in both debates advanced by IJURR articles and in IJURR’s commitment to broaden the geographical scope of the journal: the so-called global north-global south divide. IJURR has been at the forefront of some of the arguments here, initiating and contributing to debates around the premises and implications of urban theory that are modelled on cities of the global north. These debates have made many of us more sensitive to the richness and variety of urban worlds and ways of theorising them.
I think we could do one better by further complicating this binary thinking around the global north and global south. Let me then suggest one way of doing this, a suggestion that also relates this debate to my point about riots as part of our urban futures: a research focus on the colonial present regardless of any divide. The endurance of colonial mentality and practices in cities not only of the south, but of the north as well seems to me a significant area for scholarly and political engagement. I emphasise this because one of the most politically dangerous consequences of this north-south divide has been the shadowing of this colonial legacy in the allegedly developed parts of the world. I hope that some of the future IJURR articles will investigate the enduring legacy of colonial thinking and practice in the governance of the cities of the north as well, exposing them and bringing them out in the open for contestation.
IJURR Editorial Statements
Julie-Anne Boudreau, Matthew Gandy and Maria Kaika (2015) Volume 39.1
Reflections on the Academic and Economic Environment
Julie-Anne Boudreau and Maria Kaika (2013) Volume 37.6
IJURR: An Editorial Statement
Jeremy Seekings and Roger Keil (2009) Volume 22.3
IJURR: Policy Statement
Patrick Le Galès, Susan Fainstein and Linda McDowell (1998) Volume 22.1
IJURR: looking back twenty-one years later
Michael Harloe, Enzo Mingione, Chris Pickvance and Edmond Preteceille (1998) Volume 22.1
Founding Editorial Statement
Michael Harloe (1977) Volume 1.1
© 2017 THE AUTHOR. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH, PUBLISHED BY JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD UNDER LICENSE BY URBAN RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS LIMITED
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