POST MODERN URBANISMCRITIQUE ON MICHAEL DEAR AND STEVEN FLUSTY (1998) POST MODERN URBANISM CONCEPTM.A.SALEEMM.URP2160400050PostmodernismThe concept of postmodernism describes an emergent paradigm shift within mainstream discourse. A Los Angeles school has emerged as a progenitor of postmodern discourses as applied to urban geography studies. In Postmodern Urbanism authors Michael Dear and Steven Flusty (1998) identify Los Angeles as the paradigmatic city which is shaping postmodern urban processes and socio-spatial forms. Richard Shearmur (2006) in Chicago and L.A.: A clash of Epistemologies, challenges the Los Angeles school on the ground of unsound scientific practices which result in poorly grounded research. In The Paradigmatic City: Post-industrial illusion and the Los Angeles school, James Curry and Martin Kenney assess the history of Los Angeles and its present role in shaping the world economy. The sum of research on postmodernism has effectively connected the unscientific approach employed with its inability to produce accurate interpretation of global political economy.20th Century has given arise to theory of modest urban planning where Chicago School of Thought during 1920s and 1930s being the pioneer in planning of concentric zones, Multi nuclei theory, Sector theory explains a city has one CBD later as stated in multi Nuclei theory cities grow accordingly like nucleus. Slowly the development started happening in different directions which is more evident in Indian cities as of now. As stated by Chicago School of Thought all cities grow in a set pattern with prescribed identity of its own whereas this paper advocated by Michael Dear and Steven Flusty depicts about Post Modern Urbanism (1986) which has taken urban planning to view in different perspective and says city does not require patterns and signature eg: City of Los Angeles and giving way to another side of coin and thought as “Los Angeles School”Urbanism has not just evolved but has been fundamentally transformed. Many theories have evolved in conceptualizing the urbanization based on its growth. The present article, which is written by Michael Dear and Steven Flusty in 1998 talks about the postmodern urbanism under the critical urban geography. We are ending the modern age, so now the modern age id being succeeded by postmodern period. As per Michael Dear “post modernism is a political economy of social dislocation. Time and space are now ordered differently and no longer exert the influence to which we are accustomed.”Accentuating Los Angeles leading role in the world economy and in influencing urban development, Dear and Flusty (1998) use Los Angeles as a miniature to understand greater changes occurring in the global economy. The fundamental features of the Los Angeles model include a global-local connection, a ubiquitous social polarization, and a reterritorialization of the urban process in which the hinterland organizes the centre. This is, indeed, an ambitious undertaking. And yet, in the conclusion, we are told that their notion of keno capitalism is not a metanarrative but rather a micro narrative awaiting dialogical engagement. If the argument to shift our understanding of cities from the Chicago School to the Los Angeles School (if indeed such exists) isnot a metanarrative (which most postmodernists oppose), then what a metanarrative is?The most serious problem of the postmodern urbanism, as we see it, is that the argument is premised on the dubious assumption that the society has been transformed and has moved from a modern epoch to a postmodern epoch. Ironically, the three pillars used by the authors to construct their postmodern urbanism—the world-city hypothesis, the dual-city theory, and the edge-city model—are concepts that emerged in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.Highlighting Los Angeles dominant role in the world economy and in influencing urban development, Dear and Flusty (1998) use Los Angeles as a microcosm to understand greater changes occurring in the global economy. Postmodern space can be characterized as a resistance toward modernist top-down planning and seeks to cultivate older styles in the same vein as Jane Jacobs, leading to the formation of a postmodern consciousness. Dear and Flusty (1998) consider that the key features which distinguish postmodern from the modern, are the regimes of regulation which accompany the already existing modernist regimes of accumulation, and the economic doctrine of flexism. Regimes of regulation refer to the built environment which supports command and control centers of surveillance, policing measures, planning which seeks to fragment spaces, and the efforts amongst the rich to further polarize and segregate themselves from the poor through perpetual discourses of othering and minoritization.By ‘Flexism,’ Dear and Flusty (1998) consider the economic mechanisms which allow capital to be more flexible, in the way it can shift employment, or operations depending on where the profit is highest, this has lead to deindustrialization and loss of jobs, which is only partially mitigated by the information economy. Central to postmodern urbanism are the narratives created to describe randomized capitalist accumulation, and the increasing flexibility of corporations to effect their will.Within the urban geography discipline, the Los Angeles school remains a subject of fierce debate. Shearmur (2008) examines research approaches used by different schools, pointing to the superiority of scientific method in establishing transparent, meticulous, and reproducible analysis. The Chicago and Los Angeles schools can be contrasted on their basis of analysis, while Shearmur (2008) acknowledges the Los Angeles school has its own way of acquiring knowledge, he points to the depth and volume of research conducted by the Chicago school and its relative utility. The advancement of a theory of ‘random’ capitalism, simply does not follow empirical evidence. Shearmur (2008) specifically attacks the postmodernist Los Angeles school on the basis of two contentions, first the polyvocality approach of the postmodernist school which seeks to give all voices equal agency, and second the ethical questionsof determining which narratives are right and which are wrong. If all things are equal, there is no point in studying further, Shearmur (2008) concludes that this inability to have an effective epistemological basis prevents the Los Angeles school from making real strides in scientific evidence-based research.Curry and Kenney (2000) analyze the standpoint of the Los Angeles school in its ability to interpret economic and social statistics and employ them effectively in a field of study. The triumphalist tone of Dear and Flusty (1998) was particularly problematic as it highlighted a dynamic of utopian vs. dystopian narratives and became further estranged from scientific analysis as a result. In the early 1990s when Los Angeles faced an economic downturn, one which Curry and Kenney (2000) detail was perpetual and long term, the Los Angeles school has been forced to rescind some of its more lofty claims.Curry and Kenney (2000) situate Los Angeles as such an exceptional city that it would be impossible to project it as a universal model for all cities. The origins of the west was dependent on capital transfers, the military installments and defense industries which followed were much the same enabling Los Angeles fortunes to be largely tied to the permanent arms economy as opposed to normal economic cycles. Curry and Kenney (2000) detail the economic problems of Los Angeles as having originated in the outsourcing of jobs and being unable to replace them with other high wage jobs, and having the effect of numerous failed ventures to rejuvenate growth. Los Angeles is a city being shaped more than it is shaping the global economy.The concept of postmodern urbanism is based primarily on the assumption that the global capitalist economy has fundamentally transformed in its mode of production and in its relations of production. Such logic is imbued in Dear and Flusty (1998) with the distinction placed on ‘flexism’ as having fundamentally altered conventional political economy. The two trends identified within this are automation, and greater freedom of capitalist enterprises. Automation refers to the natural revolutionizing of means of production, and the freedom of enterprise in this case refers to its ability to circumvent barriers, regulations, and other constraints such as distance, and commitments to establishing equilibrium with labour and capital. The specific configuration of Fordism suited the needs of the capitalist class at that particular time, however it was also contingent on the relative pressure being asserted by the combined forces of production which was labour, and the power they could exercise in negotiating for a better position. The creation of the welfare state functioned to allow capitalism to continue while allowing certain concessions to the working class. Postmodernism as it intersects with the rise of neoliberal economic doctrine occupies the same ideological tendency in that they both proclaim the end of historytriumphantly, and they seek to obscure the predations of capitalism. The trends which Shearmur (2008) highlights about the negation of the very purpose to seek knowledge, closely relates with Fukuyama’s thesis on the end of history coinciding with the end of the cold war and resulting in the universal victory of democratic liberalism (Fukuyama, 1989). In this view, the questions have already been settled over who is right and wrong, therefore postmodernist discourse adopts a moral relativist cause. This is supported in ideology, but it is also effected in practice by the means capital asserts its authority in imposing policies which further the interests of accumulation within a realm that can be controlled and conducive to further accumulation.Insofar as resistance is concerned, the research into political action, and organizing are weak at best. Actual prospects of revolution are totally absent from discourses, the lack of agency which is attributed to actors in the models presented by the Los Angeles school do fall neatly in a utopian/dystopian dichotomy where all power resides with an implacable elite. The practical utility of the Los Angeles school is undermined by its inability to understand concrete conditions. Effective political action rests in the ability to appreciate agency and cultivate class conscious to mobilize forces.I declare my position without any postmodern obscurity. Although Dear and Flusty (1998) present some interesting points, their paper fails to present a set of coherent and convincing arguments. Not only are numerous arguments in their paper self-contradicting, but the paper’s overarching theme—to establish the Los Angeles School of postmodern urbanism—is problematic. Does a postmodern theory for a postmodern city justify repudiation of the Chicago School and do Dear and Flusty provide such a theory from their Los Angeles vantage point?. I hope this review symposium will blow away the dense smoke that Dear and Flusty have generated in urban studies. In this commentary, I will first comment on Dear and Flusty’s postmodern urbanism, followed by brief remarks on postmodernism in general. I do not believe we can gain a clear understanding of Dear and Flusty’s postmodern urbanism without touching on Dear’s larger agenda: to promote postmodernism.References? Francis Fukuyama (1992) The End of History? The National Interest. (Summer 1989)? James Curry & Martin Kenney (1999) The paradigmatic city: post-industrialillusion and the Los Angeles School. Antipode 3,? Michael Dear & Steven Flusty (1998) Postmodern urbanism. Annals of theAssociation of American Geographers ,? Richard Sheamur (2006) Chicago and LA: a clash of epistemologies. UrbanGeography ,


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