Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Marxist Thought and the City

2016
Author:

Henri Lefebvre
Translated by Robert Bononno
Foreword by Stuart Elden

Marxist Thought and the City

For the first time in English, Lefebvre’s essential work on how Marx and Engels conceptualized the development of the city

Henri Lefebvre reviews the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for analysis on the life and growth of the city, describing its transition from life under feudalism to modern industrial capitalism. Now available in English, Marxist Thought and the City provides background and supplementary material to Lefebvre’s other works and marks a pivotal point in his evolution as a thinker.

This pithy, provocative little book brings Marxist humanism to bear on urban problems as pressing today as they were nearly half-a-century ago. Upsizing cities spell downsizing work, the coming of urban society announces the financialization of space, a crisis of industrial production begets a politics of urban reproduction—all with daunting threats as well as immanent possibilities. Dead for twenty-five years, old man Lefebvre lives on as our most visionary twenty-first-century urban thinker.

Andy Merrifield, author of Metromarxism, Magical Marxism, and The New Urban Question

One of the most influential Marxist theorists of the twentieth century, Henri Lefebvre first published Marxist Thought and the City in French in 1972, marking a pivotal point in his evolution as a thinker and an important precursor to his groundbreaking work of urban sociology, The Production of Space. Marxist Thought and the City—in which he reviews the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for commentary and analysis on the life and growth of the city—now appears in English for the first time.

Rooted in orthodox Marxism’s analyses of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, with extensive quotations from the works of Marx and Engels, this book describes the city’s transition from life under feudalism to modern industrial capitalism. In doing so it highlights the various forces that sought to maintain power in the struggles between the medieval aristocracy and the urban guilds, amid the growth of banking and capital.

Providing vital background and supplementary material to Lefebvre’s other books, including The Urban Revolution and Right to the City, Marxist Thought and the City is indispensable for students and scholars of urbanism, Marxism, social geography, early modern history, and the history of economic thought.

Marxist Thought and the City

Henri Lefebvre (1901–1991) was a leading French philosopher, sociologist, and urban theorist. Many of his more than sixty books have appeared in English translation, including The Critique of Everyday Life, The Production of Space, and (all Minnesota) Dialectical Materialism; State, Space, World; and The Urban Revolution.

Robert Bononno has been a translator from French for more than twenty years. His recent nonfiction translations include Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, by Henri Lefebvre (Minnesota, 2014), Speech Begins after Death, by Michel Foucault and Claude Bonnefoy (Minnesota, 2013), and Language, Madness, and Desire by Michel Foucault (Minnesota, 2015).

Stuart Elden is professor of political theory and geography at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Marxist Thought and the City

This pithy, provocative little book brings Marxist humanism to bear on urban problems as pressing today as they were nearly half-a-century ago. Upsizing cities spell downsizing work, the coming of urban society announces the financialization of space, a crisis of industrial production begets a politics of urban reproduction—all with daunting threats as well as immanent possibilities. Dead for twenty-five years, old man Lefebvre lives on as our most visionary twenty-first-century urban thinker.

Andy Merrifield, author of Metromarxism, Magical Marxism, and The New Urban Question

Lefebvre’s work remains of enduring importance.

Stuart Elden, from the Foreword

Marxist Thought and the City

Contents
Foreword
Stuart Elden
Introductory Note
Henri Lefebvre
Marxist Thought and the City
1. The Situation of the Working Class in England
2. The City and the Division of Labor
3. Critique of Political Economy
4. Engels and Utopia
5. Capital and Land Ownership
Conclusion
Notes