• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Significant changes are occurring in the social spaces of modern cities and the social functioning of media. This erudite, forceful book argues that the spaces and rhythms of contemporary cities are radically different to those described in classic theories of urbanism. Changes in the city have been paralleled by the transformation of media which has become increasingly mobile, instantaneous and pervasive. The media are no longer separate from the city. Offering social commentary at the deepest levels of historical and critical reference, The Media City links Myspace to Howard Hughes; trams to cinema; security cameras to exploding buildings; reality TV to Marx; and Lenin on privacy to Kracauer on the mass ornament.

Wide-ranging and richly illustrated, it intersects disciplines and connects phenomena which are too often left isolated from each other to propose a new way of understanding public and private space and social life in contemporary cities. It will find a broad readership in media and communications, cultural studies, social theory, urban sociology, architecture, and art history.

The Territory of Images
The territory of images

I am a stranger to what is coming and to what is here, as for example to these new boulevards without turnings, without perspectives, implacable in their straight lines […].

(Edmond de Goncourt 1860)

Haussmann […] estranges Parisians from their city. They no longer feel at home there and start to become conscious of the inhuman character of the metropolis.

(Walter Benjamin 1935)1

Daguerre's photographic process was announced to the public in 1839, coinciding with a period of phenomenal urban growth. Between 1801 and 1851, the population of Paris doubled, while that of London tripled (Blau 1989: 36). To call the parallel development of technological images and the industrial reconstruction of the city a ‘coincidence’ stretches that term beyond its usual bounds. ...

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