The Dire State of Urban Sociology and Geography
Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 7 (2014)
The field of urban studies largely consists of sociological and geographical theories that use Marxist theories as their foundation. The result is an approach that often draws attention to interesting urban phenomena, but which explains these phenomena in superficial and misleading ways. Influential urban theorists such as David Harvey and Henri Lefebvre denounce not only capitalism but also liberal democracy, using the derogatory term “neoliberalism” to refer to an astounding range of phenomena, ranging from entrepreneurial innovation over residential segregation to the law-and-order policies of New Labour. Using gentrification processes as an example, this paper argues that a deeper understanding of urban economic processes implies a rejection of Marxist theories in favor of a theoretical approach that recognizes the heterogeneity of individuals and the key roles of entrepreneurship and institutions.