The City as Spectacle: A Debordian Critique of the City as Commodity and Brand
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
In this paper focus is put on how the ”meta-processes” (Krotz, 2007) of mediatization and commercialization are expressed in relation to the city – how they conflate and create the conditions from which the being of the contemporary city is renegotiated from polis to postpolis. The contemporary “commodification of everything” (Harvey, 2005) and the logic of the global market economy means that the city expresses a need to create a “competitive identity” (Anholt, 2007) and elevate to the fore of attention its’ “collective symbolic capital” (Harvey, 2012). This involves turning the city into a brand and as such, the city becomes dependent upon the logics of the media and the symbol – the contemporary city is “the realm of the sign” (Tesfahuney & Schough, 2009: 142). In all its shapes, suggests Debord, “the society of the spectacle constitutes the model for the dominant perspective in society” (2002: 22). Thus the representation of the city – the city-as-a-brand - is both ideological and political in the sense that makes claims as to “represent the entirety of the city when the image is actually a strongly selective and partial ideal image” (Ek, 2007: 97). But the city-as-a-brand is also political in its attempts at reifying the city as a non-political entity. The spectacle-city – the city which turned in to a commodity which turned into a brand which lost itself in its own appealing mirror image like Narcissus - embodies an extreme commodity fetishism in the way in which its’ social relations (criminality, segregation, unemployment, gentrification) are placed in the shadows. The resources spent on city-branding amplifies the image of the city as the “space of ultimate experiences” (Tesfahuney & Schough, 2009: 120) while the consequences of neoliberal doctrine veils itself behind the curtains.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Media and Communications
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-27258OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-27258DiVA: diva2:621946
Contested/Ordinary/Spectacular Media City Conference, 15th to 17th May 2013, Helsinki, Finland