The Power of the Political in an Urbanizing International

Journal Articles
Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

In this article, I argue that there is a startling resonance between Hans Morgenthau’s conception of the political and power and recent analyses of an urbanizing international realm. By making this connection clear, I depart from a mechanistic understanding of politics, which tends to inform both conventional International Relations views and some claims in urban studies pertaining to the rise of global cities as international actors. Turning to Morgenthau’s conception of the political and power also has wider implications for International Relations studies of urbanization: it helps explain a tendency toward depoliticization caused by ignoring the conflictual character of the political. The emphasis on the political, on the other hand, serves as a bridge between International Relations and urbanization studies by creating conditions for the repoliticization of urban space. After illustrating the existential manifestation of the political and its violent outfalls, the remainder of this article turns to its relational and dialogical manifestation that points out the shortcomings of reading the political merely as an existential concept in the context of urbanization.

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