The Power of the Political in an Urbanizing International

Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 2018

16 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2017 Last revised: 29 May 2018

See all articles by Jodok Troy

Jodok Troy

University of Innsbruck; Stanford University

Date Written: November 17, 2017


In this article I argue that there is a startling resonance between Hans Morgenthau’s conception of politics and the political and the ones implicit in analyses of urbanization processes and outputs. The advantage of making this connection clear is that it helps scholars of International Relations and urbanization to see the political and different carvings more clearly. This helps depart from a mechanistic understanding of politics that informs conventional International Relations views and some of the claims of urban studies about global cities displacing states as international actors. Turning to the conception of the political has wider implications for International Relations studies of urbanization: It helps to gain a more profound understanding of de-politization tendencies caused by the process of urbanization and its research. The emphasis on the political serves as a bridge between International Relations and urbanization studies and how both relate to one another. An urbanizing international does not only produce de-politicization and conflict. It also creates the conditions for the re-politicization of urban space. After illustrating the conflictual existential manifestation of the political, the remainder of the paper turns to its relational manifestation that points out the shortcomings of existential readings of the political in contexts of urbanization.

Keywords: urbanization, power, international relations, the political, realism

Suggested Citation

Troy, Jodok, The Power of the Political in an Urbanizing International (November 17, 2017). Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Jodok Troy (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020
+43(0)512.507.2849 (Fax)


Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States


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