Introduction: cultures of resistance in Asia’s transforming cities

Butcher, Melissa and Velayutham, Selvaraj (2009). Introduction: cultures of resistance in Asia’s transforming cities. In: Butcher, Melissa and Velayutham, Selvaraj eds. Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia’s Cities. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 1–13.



The convergence of global capital, technology and labour flows together with the efforts of Asian nation-states vying to position their cities as major nodes in the global economy is bringing about new challenges and opportunities in these urban centres. This is generating what Burawoy (2000) calls a ‘transformative crisis’ in urban space, in that cities which mediate global economic activity and the movement of goods, capital, technology and people, are doing so under conditions of disparity and segmentation (Knox 2002, Sassen 2005), fracturing urban landscapes into new enclaves of spatial and economic inequality, disrupting former frames of reference and spaces of order within the city. Overt opposition to these transformations has come from various perspectives: from political groups, NGOs and activists. This chapter, however, aims to introduce a series of essays that document these contemporary processes of urban transition from the perspective of everyday resistance, giving voice to the experiences of lives embedded and implicated in these processes, and exploring how ordinary inhabitants of Asia’s transforming cities are responding and actively intervening in urban and social change.

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