Defeated in the East and discredited in the West, Marxism has broken down as an ideology and as a guide to governance. But, for all its flaws, it remains an important tool for understanding and raising questions about key aspects of modern life. In Marxism and the City Ira Katznelson critically assesses the scholarship on cities that has developed within Marxism in the past quarter century to show how some of the most important weaknesses in Marxism as a social theory can be remedied by forcing it to engage seriously with cities and spatial concerns. He argues that such a Marxism still has a significant contribution to make to the discussion of such historical questions as the transition from feudalism to a world composed of capitalist economies and nation-states and the acquiescence of the western working classes to capitalism. Professor Katznelson demonstrates how a Marxism that embraces complexity and is open to engagement with other social-theoretical traditions can illuminate our understanding of cities and of the patterns of class and group formation that have characterized urban life in the West.
`an extraordinarily rich book ... a major work of urban politics and urban history but also makes significant contributions to comparative politics' American Political Science Review
'a very stimulating and important book ... this is a very interesting, well-written and thought-provoking book and deserves to be widely read'
Derek Kerr, Heriot-Watt University, Urban Studies, Volume 30, Number 2, March 1993
`Ira Katznelson's Marxism and the City not only is a major work of urban politics and urban history but also makes significant contributions to comparative politics.'
American Political Science Review
'like any confrontation between a thoughtful reader and a massive and unevenly developed body of literature, the essay repays reading and even rereading ... I also think that his book has the wonderful quality of making the reader question just the presumptions that the author would urge us to hold. His rich descriptions of 19th century class formation, and his respectful engagements with the works of Marxist theorists from a variety of intellectual and
disciplinary traditions, teach a Marxism that is continually open and unfolding. For this reason, I hope that many people will read and learn from this book.'
Julie Graham, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, The Regional Science Research Institute, 1993
`Katznelson has produced an erudite and intellectually stimulating synthesis and a unique contributioin to Marxist urban theory.'
Social and Behavioural Sciences
`An extended scholarly reflection on some debates and issues in Marxist urban analysis in the 1970s and early 1980s ... a thoughtful resume of past debates within the bounds of Marxist scholarship ... Katznelson offers a lucid and focussed ... overview.'
`Readers will appreciate this book not for its final resolution of the issues but for the questions that it raises, for its sophisticated review of several Marxist urbanists over the past two decades, for its strong argument for the relevance of urban issues to Marxist thought, and for the hints that it offers about the future direction of urban theory.'
`He has produced a rich and challenging book, one that not only surveys recent Marxist influences on urban studies but makes important and original contributions to the study of the built environment as well ... General readers and (non-Marxist) urban specialists will find Katznelson's first project stimulating ... This is a book that deserves to be widely read, and will encourage critical, interdisciplinary thinking in a number of fields. Moreover,
Marxism and the City is a book shot through with optimism about the continued relevance of Marxism as a guide to action and scholarly inquiry.'
Journal of Urban History