Thinking Cities Through Objects

Carter, Simon; Dodsworth, Francis; Ruppert, Evelyn and Watson, Sophie. 2011. Thinking Cities Through Objects. CRESC. [Other]

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Abstract or Description

Why study the city through objects? As we will argue below, material objects are analytically important but until recently they have largely been marginalised in urban studies. Thus, our aim here is to bring them to the centre of the analysis of the city. In Part I, after first reviewing how materiality has been taken up in the work of key urbanists, we propose a conceptual and methodological orientation that draws on these and sets out a way for following and analysing city objects. We then articulate two sets of questions that arise from this orientation: how are different political rationalities embedded in the material objects and infrastructures of cities and what is the relation between city objects and their materialisation and ordering in inscriptions and abstractions such as maps, charts and plans? In Part II we provide preliminary sketches of two city objects—those associated with street cleaning and city benches—and from this identify some key themes and topics that arise from thinking through these objects.

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May 2011

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Date Deposited:

29 Apr 2013 13:18

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:50


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