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Planetary concerns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2018

King's Authors


This paper responds to the challenge to refract Harvey’s theory of uneven development through the planetary. It does so by questioning the way in which ‘the planetary’ has functioned as an abstraction within recent work in urban and environmental studies. With some now framing the field of urban studies as caught between two perspectives—‘the planetary’ and ‘the everyday’—I reject such a typology, arguing that it fails to reflect the current state of the field and is an obstacle to the practice of genuinely inquisitive scholarship. Writing against such a myopic view of the field, I nevertheless argue that we might rethink the current planetary turn through considering the planetary as one moment in a process of abstraction. Rather than the planetary serving as the starting point for an analysis—as the whole notion of a planetary turn seems to suggest—I argue that the planetary needs to be considered an arrival point, an ensemble of social relations that can only be arrived at through the hard work of critical scholarship. I begin by detailing the so-called planetary turn in urban and environmental thought before looking at the simplistic typologies counterposing such a position to the more situated or everyday. I then suggest an alternative framing by rethinking the relationship between the abstract and the concrete. I conclude by advocating for a philosophy of praxis.

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