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For a political economy of space and place

by Adam David Morton on August 17, 2016

Under capitalism, how does the state organise space in our everyday lives through the streets we walk, the monuments we visit, and the places where we meet?

This was the question that animated my ‘Sydney Insights’ (or Professorial Inaugural Lecture) that was delivered on Thursday 4 August, 2016 in General Lecture Theatre 1 of the Quadrangle.

The lecture contributes to our understanding of spatial political economy by analysing the different functions of space within capitalism. With a focus on the linkage between architecture and modernity, the simple diffusion of modernist architecture from a Euro-American context to the rest of the world is rejected. Instead, the lecture makes a case for understanding local appropriations, transformations and resistances in making multiple modernities. It does so by focusing on three theoretical departure points, drawing from Antonio Gramsci, Walter Benjamin, and Henri Lefebvre, to reveal modernism’s translation through space and place in the context of peripheral geographies. Drawing on current debates about multiple modernities, the lecture demonstrates how a spatial political economy can help understand modernity within capitalism through the ordering of state space.

I was delighted with the turnout as senior colleagues, faculty, students, members of the public and family were all present. Many thanks for attending and engaging!

Below is a video from the evening as well as an audio recording if you prefer.


Adam David Morton
Adam David Morton is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He is author of Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy (2007); Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (2011), recipient of the 2012 Book Prize of the British International Studies Association (BISA) International Political Economy Group (IPEG); and co-author of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis (2018) with Andreas Bieler. He co-edits Progress in Political Economy (PPE) with Gareth Bryant that was the recipient of the 2017 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for the Best Blog (Group) and the 2018 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for Special Achievement in International Studies Online Media.

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