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Icon Project : Architecture, Cities, and Capitalist Globalization (Hardcover) (Leslie Sklair)

Icon Project : Architecture, Cities, and Capitalist Globalization (Hardcover) (Leslie Sklair) - image 1 of 1

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In the last quarter century, a new form of "iconic" architecture has appeared throughout the major cities of the world. Typically designed by globe-trotting "starchitects" along with a few leading international architectural firms, these massive edifices are almost always funded through private capital and intended for transnational firms. This represents a sharp turn from the era stretching from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, in which signature buildings were more often than not built to house state institutions and publicly funded. What does this shift in architectural priority tell us about the larger global forces at work?In The Icon Project, the eminent sociologist Leslie Sklair, originator of the "transnational capitalist class" concept in the 1980s, provides a tour d'horizon of contemporary architecture, ranging from the financial capitals of the global North to the megacities of the global South to the petro-cities of the Gulf States. The spectacular skyscrapers that now populate these various urban forms are almost always the products of global architectural firms featuring brand-name architects, but in Sklair's reading they are more than just buildings-they are masks for the larger processes that have transformed capitalism in recent decades. Namely, the private sector has obtained power at the expense of the state throughout the world, and we are now roughly three-plus decades into the neoliberal era. Both increasing inequality and hyperconsumerism are intrinsic features of this regime, the representational form of which is in near-perfect accord with these trends. Sklair traces how the iconic buildings of our era-elaborate shopping malls, spectacular museums designed by the likes of Frank Gehry, ever-higher skyscrapers, and vast urban megaprojects-constitute the triumphal "Icon Project" of contemporary global capitalism. Such icons match with the tastes and preferences of the transnational capitalist class, whose ideology is put into concrete form by the web of architects and firms enlisted in the project. In Sklair's view, the transnational capitalist class has mobilized two distinct but related forms of iconic architecture-unique icons (buildings recognized as works of art in their own right) and successful typical icons (buildings copying elements of unique icons)-to promote their root ideological message: the culture-ideology of consumerism.Until now, there has been no one book that explains the connection between the social production of iconic architecture, its central role in globalizing cities (namely, cities aspiring to global status), and the broader transformation of capitalism. Sklair's trenchant thesis-that the Icon Project is an important weapon in the struggle to solidify capitalist hegemony as well as reinforce transnational capitalist control of where we live, what we consume, and how we think-will surely be controversial, but it also promises to reshape the core debates within contemporary u
Number of Pages: 329
Genre: Architecture, Business + Money Management
Sub-Genre: Architecture, Globalization
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
Author: Leslie Sklair
Language: English
Street Date: March 27, 2017
TCIN: 51504385
UPC: 9780190464189
Item Number (DPCI): 248-22-1660
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