Extended Urbanization: Implications for urban and regional theory
Roberto Luís Monte-Mór and Rodrigo Castriota, “Extended Urbanization: Implications for urban and regional theory,” in Annsi Paasi, John Harrison and Martin Jones eds., Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories (Cheltenham, Northampton: Edgard Elgar, 2018), 332-345. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4337/9781785365805.
How do we use the word 'urban'? As noun or as adjective? What about ‘rural’? What is the difference between them and what did they ended up ‘signifying’? To address these questions, one must access the dramatic changes of meaning that inherited categories—urban and rural, city and countryside—underwent throughout the twentieth century. This article—written by two of our close colleagues in Brazil, Roberto Luís Monte-Mór and Rodrigo Castriota—revisits and critically re-interprets these foundational concepts for urban and regional theory through the lens of the concept of extended urbanization. The authors provide an historical review of different theoretical tools mobilized during the past century in relation to urbanization processes in Brazil, highlighting the dynamics of urban and regional restructuring since the second half of the twentieth century and the concomitant redefinition of city/countryside relations through processes of territorial integration. On this basis, Monte-Mór and Castriota redefine these categories to improve our understanding of sociospatial transformations, and in so doing, they contend that the sociocultural and political dimensions of the urban have become crucial for concrete struggles around social reproduction and everyday life. The broad sense of the Lefebvrian concept of the ‘urban’ needs to be clarified, they argue, to avoid misunderstandings and possible anachronistic interpretations that may obscure the urban-industrial production of space in Brazil, in particular, and in the contemporary world, more generally.