Handbook of Gentrification Studies
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Handbook of Gentrification Studies

Edited by Loretta Lees and Martin Phillips

It is now over 50 years since the term ‘gentrification’ was first coined by the British urbanist Ruth Glass in 1964, in which time gentrification studies has become a subject in its own right. This Handbook, the first ever in gentrification studies, is a critical and authoritative assessment of the field. Although the Handbook does not seek to rehearse the classic literature on gentrification from the 1970s to the 1990s in detail, it is referred to in the new assessments of the field gathered in this volume. The original chapters offer an important dialogue between existing theory and new conceptualisations of gentrification for new times and new places, in many cases offering novel empirical evidence.
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Chapter 8: Rent gaps

Tom Slater

Abstract

This chapter argues that class struggles need rent gap theory. Rent gap theory helps open up questions of resistance and nudges the conversation in the direction of what cities might look like without the structural and institutional forces producing gentrification. From the research that is available, and still emerging, it seems to be the case that rent gap theory has a lot to teach us about gentrification in the Global South, and is far from ‘less than adequate in much of the world’. The research evidence on planetary gentrification points to the growing importance of secondary circuits of accumulation and the planetary shift to rentier extraction and what might be termed the robbery of value, rather than the production of value. Asset pursuit and asset stripping, via land grabbing and evictions, is a hallmark of contemporary urbanization and shows little sign of retreating on a planetary scale. It is argued that it is not ‘seeing like a capitalist’ to consider rent gap theory in radically different contexts, nor is it an act of intellectual imperialism to do so, as long as one theory does not shut out the possibility of developing new theories which may teach us even more.

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