Walking Plutocratic London: Exploring erotic, phantasmagoric Mayfair

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Walking Plutocratic London: Exploring erotic, phantasmagoric Mayfair. Social Semiotics, 27(3), pp. 299-309. ISSN 1035-0330 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Exploring fragments of a spatially calibrated dialogic between wealthy lives and the landscapes of their production and enactment describes this paper’s central aim. The dynamic between plutocrats and their neighbourhood coproduces both, exposing social and built architectures simultaneously; revealing scraps of information about who plutocrats are and how they live, plugging a gap in the literature on elites with a mobile-micro-spatial-biographical approach. Certain kinds of plutocrats live and play in Mayfair: others visit its hotels, restaurants, clubs and casinos, all of which form sites of plutocratic production. No abstract fraction of accumulated assets as scholars exploring capital and eliteness as social categories imply, capital works through bodies and emotions; it eats, sleeps and pleasures itself in London’s wealthier neighbourhoods. The rising fortunes of the ultra wealthy are one of the defining issues of our time [1], and yet there are few close encounters with how they live and their impact on cities. In this paper I show how wealth is lived and played in Mayfair – one of London’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. Walking through Mayfair at night I explore its phantasmagorical qualities as a plutocratic playground, describing the city making and lives that result from pursuit of pleasure.

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walking, plutocrat, city, erotic, phantasmagoria

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20 March 2017Published Online

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24 Mar 2017 10:37

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:25

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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