Introduction to the special issue 'Contested urban territories: Decolonized perspectives'

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This paper serves as an introduction to the “Contested urban territories: decolonized perspectives” special issue. The idea for this issue emerged during our reflections on a socioterritorial perspective, preeminent in the current Latin American analysis of contemporary urban struggles (Schwarz and Streule, 2016). It aims to contribute to these ongoing debates about a specific understanding of urban territories from a postcolonial and decolonized perspective by combining contributions from two paper sessions we organized at the 2017 meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston with additional papers by scholars who could not participate in the conference. All seven contributions tackle the question of what a relational and dynamic conceptualization of territory may contribute to current debates in the urban studies field. Put more precisely, to which extent are socioterritorial approaches of value for a further decentering and pluralizing of urban theory? What is their significance to research on urban social movements? And, finally, how does such a socioterritorial perspective nurture and complement an analysis of the social production of space? The present special issue invites the reader to get familiar with new concepts and engage in a critical reflection on the conditions of knowledge production in urban geography and beyond.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11–18
Number of pages8
JournalGeographica Helvetica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

External IDs

Scopus 85079421839



  • territory, territoriality, urban geography, urban studies, territorialization, dekoloniale Stadtforschung