Challenges of Doing Comparisons: Theory and Evidence from the Global South

Shubhra Gururani and Xuefei Ren

The extensive urbanization in China and India, and in the global south more generally, has provoked a great deal of interest and raised questions about the changing landscape of capital accumulation, dispossession, displacement, urban planning, and governance in the emerging spaces of urbanism. It has also spurred an energetic debate over the locus and reach of conventional urban theory, its limitations, and possibilities. With calls for planetary urbanization, comparative urbanisms, and new geographies of theory, it is clear that there is a need to develop new conceptual vocabulary that can transgress the dominant theoretical repertoire derived from post-industrial West and attend to the postcolonial urban conditions. In the context of these debates, we are interested in forging a conversation between scholars who can conceptually explore, and empirically investigate the politics of urban space and subject formation in cities in the global South, especially in the BRICs countries. We particularly welcome contributions that can demonstrate theoretical vantage points of doing comparisons, as well as works that reflect on the methodological challenges and possibilities of comparative research. Substantive focuses include, but are not limited to, politics of housing, land use planning, infrastructural investment, and environmental mobilizations.