The Second City in Literary Urban Studies: Methods, Approaches, Key Thematics

  • Jason FinchEmail author
  • Lieven Ameel
  • Markku Salmela


Urban policy, urban studies and literary urban studies have alike overemphasized cities labelled (typically based on assessments of demographic, political or cultural magnitude) as primary or alpha. This volume, shaped by the ongoing investigations of the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS)‚ counteracts this tendency. Uncertainty about how to define secondary cities faces a world in which 40 per cent of the world’s population after 2050 are second city dwellers. Second cities can have many roles and functions, as traced in the different chapters and sections of this book, from foci for contestation of primary city or central government power, to diffused, networked alternatives to the traditional metropolis with its subordinate satellites. After explaining the rationale driving the book, the chapter works through its argumentative arc, laying down the characteristics of second cities which exist in the shadow of a larger capital or other neighbour, frontier second cities, and the diffuse second city emerging in the twenty-first century, all traced through interactions between literary readings and multidisciplinary examinations of actual cities.


Primary city Alpha city Second city Literary urban studies 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Åbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland
  2. 2.University of TampereTampereFinland
  3. 3.University of TampereTampereFinland

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