Cities of Power

Cities of Power:The Urban, The National, The Popular, The Global

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Why are cities centres of power? A sociological analysis of urban politics

In this brilliant, very original survey of the politics and meanings of urban landscapes, leading sociologist Göran Therborn offers a tour of the world’s major capital cities, and the forces that have shaped them. Through a global, historical lens, and with a thematic range extending from the mutations of modernist architecture to the contemporary return of urban revolutions, Therborn questions received assumptions about the source, manifestations and reach of urban power, combining perspectives on politics, sociology, urban planning, architecture, and urban iconography. With its unique systematic overview, from Washington DC and revolutionary Paris to the flamboyant twenty-first century capital of Kazakhstan, its wealth of urban observations from all the populated continents, and its sharp and multi-faceted analyses, Cities of Power forces us to rethink our urban future, as well as our historically shaped present.


  • Göran Therborn analyses urban life with sweeping historical and global range. As he shows in tremendous detail, urban history is baked into a place by its streets, its institutions and the cultural outlook of its inhabitants

    Max HolleranTimes Literary Supplement
  • Should become an early port of call for anyone looking to know more about how urban and national power functions around the world

    Irish Times
  • One of the world’s most engaging and intriguing sociologists. Cities of Power helps us understand the current tensions between states and people, capitals and peripheries, populism and elitism, nationalism and globalism

    Felipe Fernández-Armesto, author of Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States