Cities are more important as cultural entities than their mere function as dormitories and industrial sites. Yet, the understanding of what makes a city ‘alive’ and appealing in cultural terms is still hotly contested - why are some cities so much more interesting, popular and successful than others? In this engaging discussion in the text City Life, Adrian Franklin takes the reader on a tour of contemporary western cities exploring their historical development and arguing that it is the transformative, ritual and performative qualities of successful cities that makes a difference. Emphasizing the importance of experience, the book represents the fluid complexity of the city as a living space, an environment and a posthumanist space of transformation. It will be of interest to all those engaging with the difficulties of urban life in sociology, human geography, tourism and cultural studies departments.

Cities of Spectacle and Carnival

Cities of spectacle and carnival

In this chapter I am going to make connections between spaces of travel and tourism and the contemporary city that are seldom made, and link these to the transformative powers of ritual and earlier forms of ritual in the city. In a way I will be arguing that the renaissance of an enervating and ritualised city life in contemporary cities is something of a restoration also. It was quite explicitly evident in Roman and medieval times, as we saw in Chapter 1, and was expressly banished and suppressed through Protestantism and the Victorian legacy – a period that in cultural terms only terminated or at least abated in recent years. Although the carnivalesque and pilgrimage were ...

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