Reconsidering urban political theory: A care based approach

Baş, Ezgi Meriç
Süreli Yayın başlığı
Süreli Yayın ISSN
Cilt Başlığı
Graduate School
The first urban political theory was shaped by discussion of power relations in urban space. It regarded urban areas as where individuals, elites, or businesses compete for power to shape. Critical of this power-focused approach, Marxist theorists Castells and Harvey expanded the vision of urban political theory scope that mostly focused on processes of urban place and urbanization that harbors complexity and networks of relations of production and reproduction in capitalist society. Yet, this expansion was not inclusive enough for posty-positions of urban political theory; post-structuralist, post-colonialist, and post-Marxist theories argued that some of the human-related aspects which are directly or indirectly related to inclusion and exclusion in urban routines have been overlooked or missed by early theories. For example, the meanings communities attributed to specific public places, or individual attachments to private places were not elaborated until Tuan did so. Later urban political theories affiliated with care have been put by Lawson, Williams, and Till. Considering that humans are interdependent social and political actors who are simultaneously caregiving and care-receiving on a daily basis, I question the ways to make the urban political theory more inclusive. In finding inclusive urban political theory, the research benefits two concepts: oppression and intersectionality. Urban daily life experiences are affiliated with spatial and other forms of oppression implying that relations with designed space might imply a relation of domination. Harvey's definition of urbanization as an active process of hegemonically configuring the space with different ends brings about at least two contrast groups at a moment. Yet, when urban daily life is observed, the different kinds of multidimensional conflicts would be seen in terms of race, class, ethnicity, ability, age, gender, sex, and income taking place contextually. Indeed, as long as the urban political theory rejects interconnecting urban daily life experiences with oppression, it may not be able to achieve the targeted inclusivity of all since it will be lacking contextual inquiry. In this regard, I suggest the usage of intersectional methodology, a critical approach that provides the possibility of focusing on interlocking social categories such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and ability while doing qualitative and quantitative social research to recognize and define individuals' and groups' unique biographies to reveal the hidden sorts of oppression embedded in the human actions. Discussions of oppression in intersectional scope reveals that care-based approach promises an inclusive urban political theory that can also covers overlooked-missed dimensions, namely emotions, contextuality, and relationality. Interdependency derives from the fact that humans are moral agents with autonomy, their agency is not atomistic and independent but shaped by relations that include emotions and contexts. Based on Joan Tronto's approach to democratic caring, urban societies could be evaluated through a care perspective. An analysis of who gets how much care in the urban context determines which needs are met and which are not would be a pointed start. I argue that urban political theory can identify urban problems through a care-based analysis by the method of intersectionality, and provide an alternative through attentive and responding care policies considering the interdependent and contextual characters of the relations within the society in order to reach out to the inclusivity concerning changing dynamics and contexts.
Thesis (M.Sc.) -- İstanbul Technical University, Graduate School, 2023
Anahtar kelimeler
urban space, kentsel mekan, urban political theory, kentsel siyaset teorisi