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The study of cities: historical and structural approaches Pieter Saey.

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1 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches Pieter Saey

2 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches 1. Historical and structural approaches: structural approaches relate to the logic of a system historical approaches relate to causal chains 2. The real methodological problem of historiography the use of knowledge of outcomes in the analysis of the past how to avoid historical necessity 2 strategies: investigating periods in which the outcome is still undetermined combining historical and structural approaches

3 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches A critical analysis of the replacement of Christallerian ideas about central places by Taylorian ideas about global cities. Taylor has developed his ideas on the basis of a rejection of state-centric and afterwards territorial thinking. The background of my analysis is (i) the rejection of the so-called morphogenetic approach in the pre- positivist urban geography of the first half of the twentieth century (ii) the narrowing down of the field of application of central place theory.

4 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches 3. Bobek-Christaller-Barton: rejection of the historial approach of explaining the location of urban settlements by site and situation Bobek (1927): urban settlements are nodes in a network of flows Christaller (1933): (spatial) structure Barton (1978): agency (entrepreneurs) 2 kinds of centrality Christallerian analysis as structural approach 4. From B.C.B. to P.J.T. Hall (2002): Christaller for a global age Christallers theory, Taylors conception of the world city network

5 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches 5. Pirenne-Jacobs-Taylor the legitimacy of the concept cities as transhistorical entities Pirenne, Jacobs: city-based view of history with inter-city relations as the formative force Pirenne: historical approach Jacobs, Taylor: structural approach Jacobs: transubstantiation Taylor: abstraction 6. The structural approach structures the historical approach Determination of the unit of analysis Example of the archipelago of cities (Abu Lughod)

6 1. Historical and structural approaches a structural approach relates to the logic of systems, a historical approach relates to: (i) the examination of idiographic causal chains: chains of causes and human purposes and motives, and their intended or unintended results and the possible generalisations or general historical trends that can be deduced from the investigation of these chains, (ii) the actual formation, development and disintegration of systems, e.g. the analysis of the world system by Janet Abu-Lughod

7 2. The real methodological problem of historiography The use of knowledge of outcomes in the analysis of past events E.g. the economic and political hegemony of the West in modern times examining ex post factor of this outcome and then reasoning backward, to rationalize why this supremacy had to be conveys the impression that the rise of the West was an inherent historical necessity

8 2. The real methodological problem of historiography Strategies to avoid the pitfall of historical necessity 1. Abu-Lughod: Investigation of a period in which the outcome is still undetermined 2. Combination of historical approach and structural approach - Difference between existential necessity and necessary existence - Reasoning backward is a legitimate procedure (retroduction or abduction) - Difference between structural causality and efficient causality

9 2. The real methodological problem of historiography Strategies to avoid the pitfall of historical necessity 2. Combination of structural and historical approaches In Aristotelian terms: the structural approach should reveal formal causes, the historical approach should reveal efficient and final causes. In present-day language: structure is causally effective, it constrains and enables, agency is causally efficient, human agency is intentionally causally efficient.

10 The study of cities: historical and structural approaches A critical analysis of the replacement of Christallerian ideas about central places by Taylorian ideas about global cities to reveal the implications of the second strategy

11 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Bobek (1927) Grundfragen der Stadtgeographie (Basic questions of urban geography) Um städtische Siedlungen hervorzurufen, ist die Zusammenraffung, die Konzentration, die Brechung dieser Verkehrsfäden an gewissen Punkten nötig The gathering, the concentration, the breaking of these threads of traffic in certain points is necessary to bring about urban settlements. In present-day language: Urban settlements come into being as nodes in networks of flows of traffic.

12 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Bobek (1927) Bobek reacted against the morphogenetic approach in urban geography: the description of the site or topographic location of the urban settlement, the description of the situation or geographic location of the urban settlement, the historical development of the urban settlement insofar as it is connected to the site and situation the urban settlement as part of the broader landscape and as a landscape in itself. Bobek argued that this approach only dealt with superficial characteristics of urban settlements. If geography wanted to say more interesting things about urban settlements, it should focus on their function als lebendigen Wirtschafskörpers innerhalb des Wirtschaftsgetriebes der Landschaft [as living economic bodies within the economic machinery of the landscape]. Further in the article Bobek extended the notion of traffic to political and cultural communication.

13 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Bobek (1927) In dieser Ansichziehung aller früher ungeordeneten Verkehrsfäden, welche sich so wie durch die Wirkung eines Magnetpols zu einem radialen Netze um die städtische Siedlung anordnen, scheint uns das geographisches Faßbare und Wesentliche an städtischer Wirtschaft zu liegen. Den Namen Stadt können nur solche Orte verdienen, welche eine derartige beherrschende Stellung im wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen und politischen Verkehr eines Gebietes besitzen. It appears to us that the geographically explicable and essential aspects of the urban economy are to be found in this attraction of all formerly unordered threads of traffic that are organized into a radial network around the urban settlement as if the latter function like a magnetic pole. Only those places that hold such a controlling position in economic, cultural and political communications deserve the name of Stadt (town, city).

14 3. Bobek – Christaller – Barton 3. Bobek – Christaller – Barton Christaller (1933) rational behaviorirrational behavior public interestpriv.i. resistances schemesdeviations primary chief lawsecundary laws tertiary deviations of regional or local nature, of distributionof deviationexplainable by economics; (marketing principle) (traffic principle,deviations not explainable by economics separation princ.)

15 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Bobek (1927): network of flows Christaller (1933): spatial structure Christallers theory meets the requirements of a scientific explanation. Science explains a fact when it is able to establish that the fact was possible at time T1 and place P1, but impossible at time T2 and place P1, and at time T1 and place P2. This definition of scientific explanation conveys the idea that a fact could not have happened in another way than it actually did, without being inevitable. The method of abstraction is at the origin of the methodological success of Christaller.

16 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Bobek (1927): network of flows Christaller (1933): spatial structure Barton (1978): agency The creation of centrality, AAAG Barton rejects the neoclassical framework in which the received theory of central places is formulated and defends an entrepreneurial/exchange framework based on classical economics. Centrality arises from the activities of the entrepreneur, which can be a merchant, a trader, a retailer, a wholesaler, a banker.

17 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton

18 Two kinds of centrality centrality generated by central functions that serve households (including consumer services, education, administration, and so on) (Christaller) = process of town formation (Taylor) centrality generated by producer services (Barton) = process of city formation (Taylor)

19 3. Bobek – Christaller - Barton Christallers theory as structural approach Distinction between spatial system and system of agents = figuration Logic of a system: the functioning of the system according to the rules of figuration when the agents act completely according to these rules Rules of figuration resulting in the spatial arrangement of central places: - suppliers locate either as closely as possible to each other or as far away as possible from each other -consumers patronize the nearest central place Rules of figuration to maintain the system of suppliers and consumers (the entire body of rules without which the society concerned would disintegrate)

20 4. From B.C.B to P.J.T. Hall (2002): Christaller for a global age Drops the three lowest levels because the settlements concerned have ceased to perform any significant role as central places Adds two new levels above the L-centres: the global cities and the sub- global cities, which he identifies with the alpha global cities and beta or gamma global cities from the GaWC-classification of global cities. Christallers theory Taylors conception of the world city network

21 4. From B.C.B to P.J.T. ChristallerHall M-OrtMarktfleckenno significance A-OrtAmtsstädchenno significance K-OrtKreisstädchenlimited significance B-OrtBezirkhauptort= Bezirkstadt G-OrtGaubezirkhauptort= ? P-OrtProvinzialhauptort= provincial city L-OrtLandeszentrale= regional city RT-OrtReichsteilstadtsubglobal city R-OrtReichhauptstadtglobal city

22 4. From B.C.B to P.J.T. Connectivity of cities replaces hierarchy of towns Christaller: towns servicing households in a hinterland Taylor: cities as locations of producer services servicing a hinterworld Nevertheless: central places Questions about the relation between central places and economic development (growth pole mechanisms and state intervention) To what degree does the key position of producer services entail a coordinating or even organizing role of these services in capital accumulation (global cities and commodity chains)? Question about the legitimacy of the notion of cities as transhistorical entities

23 5. Pirenne-Jacobs-Taylor Transubstantiation Procedures to neutralize the importance of social classes: Abstraction: Man appears in the shape of Economic Man Banalization: no particular role of social classes Transubstatiation: Man appears in the shape of (Wagnerian) Ecological Man Conception of cities as transhistorical entities = variant of transubstantiation (Man appears in the shape of Jacobsian Innovative City Man) ?

24 5. Pirenne-Jacobs-Taylor Pirenne: Medieval Cities History is obliged to recognize that, however briljant it seems in other respects, the cycle of Charlemagne, considered from an economic viewpoint, is a cycle of regression. […] The ninth century is the golden age of what we have called the closed domestic economy and which we might call, with more exactidude, the economic of no markets … [T]e period which opened with the Carolingian era knew cities neither in the social sense, nor in the economic sense, nor in the legal sense of the word. [T]he abbey-merchants were […] not free agents, but employees exclusively in the service of their masters. It is not apparent that any of them ever carried on business on his own account. European history: Development of commerce by a strong independent middle class Creation of cities with a strong middle class

25 5. Pirenne-Jacobs-Taylor Jacobs: The economy of cities, The nature of economics World history: Development of networks of cities, economic parentage The development of forces of production is: not alternately promoted and hindered by the relations of production (Marx) not caused by the development of Mans creative capacities through his exploitation of the physical environment (Ratzel, Ecological Man) not caused by applying best practices of allocation (Economic Man) but caused by the victory of the innovators in a permanent economic conflict between innovators and conservatives (Innovative City Man) = transubstantitiation

26 5. Pirenne-Jacobs-Taylor Taylor: Cities within spaces of flows, Cities and states Abstraction 1: Creating a fiction (Economic Man) Abstraction 2: Focusing on a selected number of qualities of the study object, defined at a certain spatiotemporal level Transhistorical entities Pirenne: historical approach, same causes same effects Taylor: structural approach, moral syndromes = rules of figuration

27 6. The structural approach structures the historical approach Determination of the unit of analysis World city network as interlocking network: Level of the network: world-economy Nodal level: cities (local networks of institutions) Sub-nodal level: producer service firms Agency: Firms, cities, sectors, nation-states Interaction: causal nexuses, identity assignments

28 6. The structural approach structures the historical approach Determination of the unit of analysis World city network: System of agents: a complex of internally related elements defined at the appropriate level of spatiotemporal abstraction, Wallersteins modern world-system in the ongoing phase of intensified globalization Logic: the functioning of the network according to the rules of the causal nexuses and identity assignments when the four agents act completely according to these rules Structural approach determines the causal chains to be investigated by the historical approach

29 6. The structural approach structures the historical approach Determination of the unit of analysis Abu-Lughod: World system in formation (archipelago of cities): Transformation into an integrated world system has not been realized because the subsystems followed their own path of development to such a degree that the trade network was not able to integrate them and fragmented In structural terms: The creation of a world-system failed because the systems to be integrated followed their own logic to such a degree that the trade network was not able to develop a logic of its own No system, no subsystems, no unit of analysis, no investigation of commodity chains

30 6. The structural approach structures the historical approach Determination of the unit of analysis Misleading use of terms: The term world system, as it is currently used, has unfortunately been conflated with the particular hierarchical structure of organization that developed from the sixteenth century onward. This makes debates over world systems less than fruitful. It is important to remember that a system is simply a whole composed of parts in orderly arrangement according to some scheme (Oxford Dictionary). Issue is not similarity to the modern world-system, but existence of complexes of internal relations between agents exhibiting a logic of their own


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