Geografie 2014, 119, 299-319

Cases onto themselves? Theory and research on ex-socialist urban environments

Örjan Sjöberg

Stockholm School of Economics, PO Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Received December 2013
Accepted October 2014

Although the contribution of geographers to post-socialist urban studies has shown considerable vitality and resulted in a great volume of research, its impact on urban studies as a general field of inquiry is neither proportionate to the momentous changes since 1989 nor to the volume of research that has found its way into the literature. The entire field punches below its weight and, despite recent claims to the contrary, the prominence and visibility of this line of research beyond the confines of established communities of scholars working in the field of socialist and post-socialist urban studies remains insubstantial. This has been pointed out by scholars of a post-colonial bent, who argue that in order to move forward both the alleged parochialism and empiricism of much current geographical work on post-socialist cities and the deference to hegemonic strands of Westerns urban theory need to be shed. This paper attempts to put these claims in perspective, suggesting that while some of the problems decidedly issue from the manner in which of urban geographers themselves conduct and report research on post-socialist cities, post-colonial theory might not be an ideal way forward.


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