On ‘Third World’ Urbanization

Freud also made interesting arguments about homosexuality and bisexuality which are quite progressive even for today’s standards. In terms of homosexuality, Freud argued that homosexuality fosters an intensification with an ‘object-libido’ as a way of replacing aggression and hostility. And in terms of bisexuality, Freud argued that bisexuality amounts to the very basic nature of an individual’s identity because of the manner in which the ‘ego’ resolves the ‘Oedipus complex’ either through identification with the mother or an identification with the father through the removal of the mother as an ‘object-cathexis.’ 

And as a final note regarding Freudian dream analysis and interpretation, dreams play a futuristic and intuitive role, in the sense that both collective and individual futures can be intuited to a certain extent through dreams. Hence, the notion that dreams are a “substitute” for normal or ordinary mental functions and processes which also employ prediction and intuition as means of getting an idea as to what the future holds. 

An interesting fact or statistic not just about ‘Third World’ urbanization but about urbanization in general is that approximately two-hundred years ago, only about 3 percent of the world’s population lived in cities and urban areas. Now, about 56 percent of the world’s population lives in cities and urban areas. Thus, it follows that population growth in cities – as well as the concentration of the means of production such as capital and technology in urban areas and the phenomenon of industrialization which has taken root in cities and in urban areas – are perhaps the three most important political and social phenomena of our day and age. And in a sense, industrialization and urbanization have gone hand-in-hand over the last couple of centuries. 

Yet, the main difference between the Western urbanization of the last two centuries or so and the urbanization of the ‘Third World’ today is that the general economic growth which occurred within the scheme of Western urbanization has not occurred within the scheme of ‘Third World’ urbanization. In the overall “theory of urbanization” if there actually is such a thing, the basic concept or idea is that Western advancements and innovations would “diffuse” to the ‘Third World,’ thus enabling “parallel transformations” between the Western world and the ‘Third World.’ Yet, the evidence shows that this “diffusion” and “parallel transformation” has not occurred. 

Certain intellectuals and scholars have argued that the failure in “diffusion” and “parallel transformation” between the West and the “Third World” has been the result of the dependence of the ‘Third World’ on the Western world, which in turn has been fostered and imposed on the ‘Third World’ by the Western world. While the ‘Third World’ is ‘autonomous’ and ‘independent’ on paper, the economic, political, and social realities of the ‘Third World’ suggest otherwise, which is why ‘diffusion’ and ‘parallel transformation’ between the ‘Global North’ and West on one hand and the ‘Global South’ and the East on the other hand have failed. Moreover, the ‘Third World’ in general has gone through “civilizational shock” over the last two centuries as a result of European colonialism and modernity. European colonialism and modernity have impacted both the “basic contours” of ‘urbanity’ as well as the basic culture and space of ‘Third World’ urban areas. 

But the good thing is that although the impact of European colonialism and modernity on the very basic essence of ‘urbanity’ in the ‘Third World’ has been significant, the impact has not dramatically altered or effaced the basic essence of urbanity in the ‘Third World,’ given the very basic nature of a ‘city.’ It has been argued that cities embody both physical and social structures, and as long as those basic structures are kept, the city can maintain all its other characteristics and features as well:

“As much as social structures reveal, cities are not social structures alone; neither are cities physical structures only, nor are they all about symbolic representations and webs of meaning. What seems to be difficult – and what must occupy the central stage in future studies – is to establish the linkages between these spheres.” 

Thus, at its very core, a ‘city’ is essentially a ‘space’ with both symbolic and social realities, and to a large extent, these symbols and social realities of ‘Third World’ cities have been able to survive a centuries-long period of European colonialism and modernity, even though a certain level of revival and rejuvenation of these symbols and social realities is needed over time. The symbols and social realities of a ‘city’ can also be lost as a result of either natural disasters or wars which prompt the original inhabitants of a city to either migrate to other places or disappear. Yet, everything that is lost can also be regained, perhaps in an even better shape and form. 

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