This article aims to develop a comparative framework of analysis to study urban crises, arguing that there is a need to establish the analytical links between everyday life and systemic trends and struggles', and thus to tie together the insights produced by particularistic accounts'. It examines urban crises as political phenomena and brings the Marxist notion of alienation' to the centre of attention. We argue that alienation' - as a universal mechanism facilitating capital accumulation process via dispossession, and as negative mental/emotional implications of dispossession, is useful to establish those analytical links. We identify two domains, urban economic structure and urban political system, where alienation is contained. Public authorities deploy various containment strategies in these domains to govern alienation, and urban crises occur when these strategies fail. The post-2008 wave of urban upheavals could be explained by the failure of roll-out neoliberal strategies, which constitute the basis of our comparative framework.