En demokratisk urban fremtid? En kritisk analyse af Barbers "If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities"

Julie Lund Jeppesen, Sebastian Lund Saust & Thomas Brydensholt Hansen

Studenteropgave: Kandidatprojekt


This study is predominantly dedicated to a theoretical discussion of the somewhat radical ideas presented by the political theorist and author Benjamin R. Barber in one of his most recent works If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities (2013). Through a close examination of his book, it is attempted to elucidate and expand the conceptual and theoretical understandings he implies in his political theorizations of the nation-state and the urban. While new global political action is supposedly far better suited for the latter, Barber argues, we must conform to this new reality of interdependence in a world of global cities, thus transcending the sovereignty and independence of nation-states. Drawing primarily from critical urban studies and marxist approaches Barbers concepts are challenged and extended into the academic language of geography. In doing so, certain contradictions arise when Barbers arguments are confronted with processes of capitalist urbanization and spatial rescaling, that as a consequence (in a critical perspective) places Barbers normative ideas in continuation of - rather in opposition against - established neoliberal ideology and structure. Despite his attempts to address urban inequality, Barbers shortcomings, in formulating radical alternatives to contemporary democracy and capitalist development, becomes evident in his deliberate pragmatic approach to political action. While Barber offers valuable insights into the possibilities of urban democracy and participation in his rethinking of global political space, his thoughts on global city governance entails some fundamental limitations in regard to notions of uneven geographical development which remain mainly unattended.

UddannelserGeografi, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato30 maj 2017
Antal sider73
VejledereTatiana Fogelman


  • Benjamin Barber
  • Critical Urban Studies
  • Marxist Approaches
  • Critical Urban Geography
  • Nation-states
  • Global Governance