In The Imaginative Structure of the City Alan Blum explores the symbolic and imaginative nature of the city as a vital part of everyday life in modern civilization. He introduces the city as a community that must struggle to maintain its collective identity against typical problems – problems that threaten to fragment the city’s sense of itself.
Blum’s distinctive form of theoretical inquiry pushes the reader to move beyond conventional ways of thinking about familiar urban issues in answering such fundamental questions as, How does a city exist? How do its inhabitants define their relationship to it? Who is entitled to speak for it? What is its symbolic nature? In what way does the city function as a focus of attempts to resolve social problems such as alienation, participation, and community? In what ways do night and nighttime affect our relationship to it? How is it possible to speak of a city as both exciting and alienating?
Table of Contents
The City is Nothing But a Sign!
The Common Situation
“A timely and challenging analysis of the city. It will prompt an ‘aha!’ of delight on the many occasions when Blum’s analysis moves the reader beyond conventional ways of thinking about familiar urban issues. This book is provacative in the best sense.”
Leslie Miller, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary
“Blum breaks new ground in the area of discussion of urban culture, through his radical questioning of the assumptions that are made in the extensive literature on cities. His study forces us to question again the implications of many of the concepts which we bring to our discourses on the modern city.”
David Frisby, Department of Sociology, Glasgow University