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Canadian Political Science and the City: A Limited Engagement

  • Zack Taylor (a1) and Gabriel Eidelman (a1)

Abstract

Abstract. This paper expands on the work of Higgins, whose 1979 review remains the only synthetic overview of the field, by presenting an updated analysis of the study of municipal, local and urban issues in Canadian political science. We conclude that despite several discursive shifts—from the descriptive works of the 1950s and 1960s, through to the blossoming of interdisciplinary research in the 1980s and 1990s—Higgins' principal conclusion, that the various streams of urban politics continue to be studied in relative isolation from each other, still rings true. Despite the recent broadening of the literature, productive scholarly debates within and across research clusters are rare, and where debates do emerge, they are more often driven by current events and normative claims than by theoretical innovations. To remedy these deficiencies, we propose several bases for a new urban research agenda that is more methodologically and theoretically diverse and connected to work in other disciplines.

Résumé. Dans la foulée des travaux de Higgins, cet article présente une mise à jour sur les enjeux municipaux, locaux et urbains en science politique canadienne. Higgins publia en 1979 la seule synthèse des travaux dans ce domaine disponible à ce jour. Il y concluait que les diverses problématiques associées aux politiques urbaines étaient étudiées de manière isolée les unes par rapport aux autres. Cette conclusion nous apparaît encore juste, malgré les nombreux changements de discours qu'a connus ce domaine d'études. En effet, les travaux descriptifs des années 1950 et 1960 ont fait place, dans les décennies 1980 et 1990, à un foisonnement de recherches interdisciplinaires. Or, malgré ce récent élargissement de la littérature, les débats productifs dans et entre les différents champs de recherche sont rares. De plus, lorsque des débats émergent, ils sont plus souvent motivés par les événements de l'actualité et les opinions émises que par l'innovation théorique. Pour combler ces lacunes, nous proposons plusieurs avenues ouvrant sur un nouvel agenda de recherche en politiques urbaines à la fois plus diversifié sur le plan méthodologique et théorique et davantage connecté aux travaux réalisés à l'extérieur de la science politique.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Zack Taylor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Room 3018, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaM5S 3G3, zack.taylor@utoronto.ca
Gabriel Eidelman, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Room 3018, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaM5S 3G3, g.eidelman@utoronto.ca

References

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