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Alternative geohistories of global cities in Salman Rushdie’s novels

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Saskia Sassen posits the ‘global city’ as the centre of the late twentieth-century and twenty-first-century global agglomeration economy. This article considers that the cities depicted in Salman Rushdie’s novels offer an alternative geohistory of global cities. Rushdie traces the impulse of urban agglomeration to the earliest moments of city formation. He also emphasizes the cities of the global south and the alternate linkages they forged with the world. Edward Soja’s concept of ‘synekism’ is effective in explaining the different trajectory of the formation of the global cities in Rushdie’s novels. Particularly, taking a cue from Soja, this article aims to explore how the different moments of urban agglomeration in Rushdie’s novels reflect a contestation of the matriarchal, nomadic energies and paternalistic, statist, institutionalizing impulses, also evident in a renewed form in the formation of the postmodern global cities.
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Keywords: Salman Rushdie; Soja; geohistories; global cities; nomadic cities; synekism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

Publication date: 01 September 2015

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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