Extraordinary Cities
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Extraordinary Cities

Millennia of Moral Syndromes, World-Systems and City/State Relations

Peter J. Taylor

In this innovative, ambitious and wide-ranging book, Peter Taylor demonstrates that cities are the epicenters of human advancement. In exploring cities as sites through which economies flourish, by harnessing the creative potential of myriad communication networks, the author considers cities from varying temporal and spatial perspectives. Four stories of cities are told: the origins of city networks; the domination of cities by world-empires; the genesis of a singular modern creative interval in which innovation culminates in today’s globalised cities; and finally, the need for cities to act as centres for human creativity to produce a more resilient global society in the current crisis century.
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Chapter 2: Conceptual toolkits

Millennia of Moral Syndromes, World-Systems and City/State Relations

Peter J. Taylor


This chapter is an exploration that attempts to transcend social science’s nineteenth-century foundations. Such a purpose can be pursued in many different ways: as indicated in the last chapter, my particular approach foregrounds cities, their interrelations, and their relations with states. This requires a customized suite of conceptual toolkits. I know the idea of ‘toolkits’ is not always popular in social fields of study, primarily because they evoke mechanical modes of operation. But in this case toolkits are an eminently suitable way of describing my methodology because my later arguments will focus very much on work, on making a livelihood. Concepts are the tools of trade in my line of work and therefore I have decided to start with my research toolkits; the fact that they are conceptual should be enough to allay fears that my thinking is too mechanical. Given my indisciplinary stance, it follows that the toolkits should not be seen as a template for others to use, much less a nascent social theory; they are what they are, a collection of tools that I believe are fit for my specific purposes in this book, no less and no more.

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