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The Place of Urban Politics within Political Science: Still a Black Hole?

Sat, September 2, 8:00am to 5:30pm, Westin St. Francis, Elizabethan A


In 2007, a trio of scholars published a provocative article in Urban Affairs Review contending that urban politics scholarship had become peripheral to the discipline of political science. Through a careful examination of journal citations, they found that influential work in other subfields had only sporadically penetrated the borders of urban politics. By the same token, even the most prominent studies within urban politics had achieved only a limited impact beyond the subfield. The conclusion that urban politics had become a veritable “black hole” – with little getting in and little getting out–prompted a good deal of debate. A decade later, this paper reassesses the place of city politics within the broader discipline in light of recent societal trends, shifts in the political environment, and developments in research. It considers how and why urban politics might once again occupy a more central position within political science while acknowledging ongoing challenges.