Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age

Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age

Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age

Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age


In Global Cities, scholars from an impressive array of disciplines--sociology, political science, comparative literature, cinema studies, and architectural theory--critique the growing body of literature on the current process broadly known as "globalization." This inter disciplinary focus enables the authors to explore the complex geographies of modern cities, and to offer possible strategies for reclaiming a sense of place and community in these globalized urban settings. While examining major cities including New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, and Hong Kong, contributores insist that the study of urban experiences must remain as attentive to the material effects as to the psychic and social consequences of globalization. Accordingly, individual essays explore the implications of global culture for architecture, cinema, and communication-but do so in a way that highlights the importance of the spaces between such metropolitan centers, These locations, the authors argue, serve as increasingly important "frontier zones, " where an incredibly diverse set of actors converge and struggle for power and presence. Such a perspective, they contend, ultimately adds nuance and meaning to our understanding of the heterogeneous urban landscapes of these global cities. A volume in the New Directions in International Studies Series, edited by Patrice Petro.


We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.

—Jean Baudrillard

For the contributors to this volume the dynamic size, diversity, and interconnectedness of cities complicate any argument for ‘more information” and ‘less meaning.” The newly digitized relationships within, between, and beneath major metropolitan centers suggest the potential for place and community, and information and meaning, to expand and emerge in often surprisingly new configurations. This discovery of complexity within global cities links the essays gathered here.

To be sure, cities and their buildings have long carried culturally loaded meanings. Most famously, postmodern architect and critic Charles Jencks dated the demise of the modern movement to the implosion of the St. Louis Pruitt-Igoe Housing project on July 15, 1972. More recently, historian John Lewis Gaddis dates the demise of the post-cold war era, which he claims began when the Berlin Wall came down, with the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. In an influential essay he explains, ‘We never had a good name for it, and now it's over”:

The post-cold-war era—let us call it that for want of any better termbegan with the collapse of one structure, the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, and ended with the collapse of another, the World Trade Center's twin towers on September 11, 2001. No one, apart from the few people who plotted and carried out those events, could have anticipated that they were going to happen. But from the moment they did, everyone acknowledged that everything had changed.

But has everything really changed? To describe these momentous events as ones that bracket an era and alter all that has come before is certainly . . .

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