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New Left Review I/204, March-April 1994


Manuel Castells

European Cities, the Informational Society, and the Global Economy

An old axiom in urban sociology considers space as a reflection of society. Yet life, and cities, are always too complex to be captured in axioms. Thus the close relationship between space and society, between cities and history, is more a matter of expression than of reflection. The social matrix expresses itself into the spatial pattern through a dialectical interaction that opposes social contradictions and conflicts as trends fighting each other in an endless supersession. The result is not the coherent spatial form of an overwhelming social logic—be it the capitalist city, the pre-industrial city or the ahistorical utopia—but the tortured and disorderly, yet beautiful patchwork of human creation and suffering. [1] This article was first given as a lecture at the Centrum voor Grootstedelijk Onderzock, Amsterdam, and is reproduced with their kind permission. It has also been presented at the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, ucla.

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