chapter  1
22 Pages

Rethinking feminist interventions into the urban


Feminist urban studies has been generated through a hierarchical ordering, tending to be strongly bifurcated by those scholars who study issues pertaining to cities in the “global south” and those who focus their attention on the urban “global north”, formulating an urban geographical imaginary of discrete and autonomous spatialities, which in turn justifies the lack of any communication between them (Peake 2009). In this respect, and regardless of their field, disciplinary or otherwise,1 feminist urban studies have mimicked the field of urban studies, itself an unwieldy and mercurial terrain, that as Jennifer Robinson (2006) has pointed out has nevertheless a tendency to characterise cities of the global north as crucibles of modernism, and hence sites for engagement with critical theory, rendering cities in the global south as objects in need of development, representations of which emphasise poverty, culture and tradition and their populations as lacking or passive. Although there is a diversity in intellectual histories and political positions among feminist urban scholars the hegemonic nature of these representations of northern modernity and southern developmentalism (Escobar 1995), and their pervasiveness in travelling globally, speaks to their continued influence on feminist theoretical framings and analytical studies of urban places and their inhabitants.2