11 Oct 2011 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge


Professor Göran Therborn (Professor emeritus of Sociology at Cambridge, previously, i.a., co-Director of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences.


 Cities do not have much power in today’s world, and “global cities” are not moulding the world economy. But some cities, capitals in particular, are important sites of power. As such, they are strategic  locations in the social structure of power, and they have crucial functions of representation. The seminar will focus on how, in what variable forms, capital cities represent political power, which will take us to urban spatial forms and to urban political iconography and toponymy. Power entails (potential) resistance, and we shall pay attention to the cityscape of contestations of power.

Therborn is the author of a number of books and articles on a wide range of  topics, sometimes theoretical but mostly empirically macrosocial, comparative, and with a historical dimension. His latest book is a historical sociology of the world,  The World. A Beginner’s Guide (Polity 2011)

He has an ongoing global project on Cities of Power, which includes,  among others, the following publications:

Capital cities in Africa: power and powerlessness (co-edited with S. Bekker), Cape Town and Dakar, HSRC Press and CODESRIA  (2011, in press)

End of A Paradigm. The Current Crisis and the Idea of Stateless Cities. Environment and Planning 43:272-85 (2011)

European  Roads to Modernity and Their National Capitals, in S. Eliaeson and N.Georgieva (eds.), New Europe. Growth to Limits? Oxford, The Bardwell Press (2010)

Capital cities and their contested role in the life of nations, City – analysis of urban trends 12:1 (2009)

Identity and Capital Cities: European Nations and the European Union, in F. Cerutti and S. Lucarelli (eds.) The Search for a European Identity:: Values, Policies and Legitimacy of the European Union, London, Routledge  (2008)

Eastern Drama.Eastern European Capital Cities in the 20th Century, guest editor´s lead article to a special issue on Eastern European capitals, International Review of Sociology no. 2 2006

Monumental Europe. The National Years. On the Iconography of European Capital Cities, Housing Theory and Society no. 1-2002


Open to all. No registration required

Part of the City Seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.


Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk