Accepted Paper:

Narrating the Nation in Urban Space  


Alexander Diener (University of Kansas)

Paper long abstract:

The Geopolitics of Spectacle highlights a range of issues that intersect and intermingle within contemporary urban settings. It also represents, through their dynamic and contested nature, how cities are not simply lived in but also lived through. Cities operate as a nexus, in all economic, political, and social senses, for the collection and contestation of capital, for the construction and contestation of national and other identities, and for the juxtaposition of inclusion and exclusion. This book insightfully explores how urban design, architecture, and development become entangled with broader issues of identity, power, and prestige. It also emphasizes that cities are constantly evolving through ongoing processes of construction, destruction, and renewal shaped by complex politics of identity and place. Through deep case studies, the Geopolitics of Spectacle highlights how new construction can serve as an agent for identity restriction and contestation. Security controls, limitation of access, consumption of contested land, and the use of symbolically laden construction materials and styles convey meaning, at times as pointed as removing a statue or changing a street name.

Panel GEO-01
Author-Critic Forum: The Geopolitics of Spectacle: Space, Synecdoche, and the New Capitals of Asia