Urban Crisis, Political Process and Urban Theory

  • Manuel Castells


The urban question and the problematic of the environment are in several ways at the forefront of the social and political scene of advanced capitalist societies. In the first instance, political conflicts and, in particular, electoral politics, which are at the heart of the decision-making process of the liberal democratic state have been profoundly affected by these issues. Parties often confront each other with different policies on urban development and ‘quality of life’, to which the electorate and, in particular, the new middle classes are very sensitive; new political groups and coalitions which centre around these debates appear defined by these problems. Thus, for example, the Italian regional and municipal elections of June 1975 were largely centred around the problems of local-government management, and have represented an historical leap forward by the forces of the Left towards a strategy of historical compromise enabling the exploration of the democratic road to socialism. In Japan the Left is in control of the large cities, and by campaigning against pollution and for a new model of urban development it has won positions at the heart of particularly conservative institutions. In France, the March 1977 municipal elections, won by a large majority by the Left coalition, have been particularly significant for two reasons.


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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    For a more detailed discussion of this theme, see M. Castells, ‘Theory and Ideology in Urban Sociology’, in Urban Sociology, Critical Essays, ed. C. G. Pickvance (London: Methuen, 1975).Google Scholar

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© Manuel Castells 1978

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  • Manuel Castells

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