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51VMPBWS+TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Our cities have been plagued by economic injustices and inequalities long before COVID-19 upended urban life everywhere. Beyond Plague Urbanism delves into this zone of urban pathology and wonders what successive lockdowns and exoduses, remote work and small-business collapse, redundant office space and unaffordable living space portend for our society in cities and our cities in society. 

The city has historically been a Great Book inspiring a liberal education, the kind that teaches you how to become a citizen of the world. The city was always an existential rite of passage, especially for young people, broadening horizons, deepening your whole being. But lately our great seat of learning has remaindered a lot of its classics texts, closed down public access, and auctioned off its campus to the highest bidder. The city’s romance is already talking alimony. How to resuscitate the city as a vast open-air public library? How to redraft this Great Book together? How to dialogue anew about its table of contents, re-typesetting the future social life contained within its leaves? 

Andy Merrifield journeys intercontinentally as he reflects on these questions, in a narrative that moves imaginatively between literature and life, plague and populist politics, public values and private inclinations, the U.S. Main Street and the British High Street, overcrowding and undercrowding, the right to the city today and eco-cities of tomorrow. Blending modern jazz with French Surrealism, Thomas Pynchon’s rocket science with the odyssey of James Joyce, Henri Lefebvre’s Marxism with the street ballets of Jane Jacobs, this challenging book appears at a timely moment in our fraught political history and opens up an urgent humanist conversation about the future of city life.

Forthcoming, Spring 2023 (Monthly Review Press, New York)

*Cover image: André Kertész, “Bird’s Eye View, Washington Square Park, September 25, 1969”

3 Responses to Home

  1. lelandais78 says:

    Hi Andy, welcome to the blog world. Hope to see you soon 🙂 Gülçin

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  2. Mark Hayes says:

    Just reading your book “The wisdom of donkeys” after looking at your book on Marx. Having travelled a similar route from working class council estate to (inevitably phoney) “academic”; and having also rejected that facile game (after writing several books myself) I would just like to say how much I enjoy your reflections. I feel an empathy for your journey. I am semi-retired now but only became a “scholar” after Thatcher made my job at the shipyards redundant. I rejected the bullshit of academia from day one (1992). Never regretted it, despite the ostracism and condescension. Only the Marxism remains….I was never likely to throw the baby out with the bath water 😊

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