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ABSTRACT: Urban political economy has been prone to two errors: overgeneralizing to abstract theory and overemphasizing the role of economic interests. Drawing on postmodern philosophy, the author examines these two errors, which he labels economism, and suggests a more concrete culturally rooted approach to urban political economy. The author develops his argument through a critique of the conventional concept of urban economic restructuring. Far from being a unified global process, urban economic restructuring is, in fact, highly fragmented and rooted in particular political and cultural relations. Geographically rooted political and cultural loyalties are not drags on economic growth but are essential, the author argues, for a well-functioning economy. The paper concludes with some policy implications for the problem of concentrated urban poverty.