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Remaking New York

Primitive Globalization and the Politics of Urban Community

2003
Author:

William Sites

Remaking New York

Uses New York City to discuss the ways that policy has mismanaged the effects of globalization

William Sites proposes a new perspective on politics, globalization, and the city through the concept of primitive globalization, identifying a pattern of reactive politics that facilitates a damaging type of international integration. Sites examines the transformation of New York City since the 1970s, focusing on the logic of political action at national, local, and neighborhood levels.

William Sites re-conceptualizes the relationship between urban development and globalization. Sites provides a thought-provoking work highlighted with vivid and interesting descriptions of New York’s Lower East Side.

Regional Studies

Inequality increases, instability grows, communities fragment: this is the fate of a city in the wake of globalization—but is globalization really the cause? Proposing a new perspective on politics, globalization, and the city, this provocative book argues that such urban problems result in part from U.S. policies that can be changed.

William Sites develops the concept of primitive globalization, identifying a pattern of reactive politics—ad hoc measures to subsidize business, displace the urban poor, and dismantle the welfare state—that uproots social actors (corporations, citizens, urban residents) and facilitates a damaging, short-term-oriented type of international integration. In light of this theory, Sites examines the transformation of New York City since the 1970s, focusing on the logic of political action at national, local, and neighborhood levels.

In the process, the story of late twentieth-century New York and its Lower East Side community emerges as something different: not a tale of globalist transformation or of local resurgence but a distinctly American case, one in which urban politics and the state, in their own right, exacerbate inequality and community fragmentation within the city.

Remaking New York

William Sites is associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

Remaking New York

William Sites re-conceptualizes the relationship between urban development and globalization. Sites provides a thought-provoking work highlighted with vivid and interesting descriptions of New York’s Lower East Side.

Regional Studies

Offers a unique perspective on the way cities face pressures from globalization. This book makes an important contribution to the literature concerning the relationship of globalization to the state and would be a valuable addition to an upper division globalization or urbanization course.

City and Community

Remaking New York is theoretically engaging and politically challenging, a welcome contribution to scholarship on New York City and to the ongoing attempts of critical urbanists to document, analyze, and ultimately contest the workings of urban neoliberalization. Remaking New York insightfully intervenes in debates concerning the relationship between globalization, shifting processes of capital accumulation, sub-national localities, and the state.

Antipode

This is one of those books that made me wish I had written it, but more importantly, glad that someone has. It deserves a large audience, both locally and beyond New York, and it will stand as a useful contribution to the work being done to make sense of the processes of neoliberal urbanization. To overlook this book would be a significant mistake. Sites does a wonderful job of recasting much of the discussion of the global-local connections to foreground the role of the state, and in particular the nation-state, in the shaping of the processes of urbanization in a globalizing political economy.

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

In Remaking New York, William Sites develops an innovative and compelling “vertical case study” of urban restructuring in the joint contexts of neoliberal globalism and welfare-state retrenchment. This pioneering text will help establish new research agendas concerning the geopolitics of urban restructuring, both in the United States and beyond.

Social Service Review

Remaking New York

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Globalism and the City

1. Primitive Globalization? State, Economy, and Urban Development
2. Building an Urban Neoliberalism: The Long Rebirth of New York
3. Public Action: Gentrification and the Lower East Side
4. Urban Movements, Local Control: Fighting over the Neighborhood
5. Beyond Primitive Globalization: Policy, Activism, and the Metropolis

Postscript: Rebuilding after 9/11
Notes
Select Bibliography

Index