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Spatial Political Economy

by Adam David Morton on March 6, 2018
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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 at the University of Sydney and has now been published as an article in the Journal of Australian Political Economy, Issue 79 (Winter 2017) that can be freely downloaded HERE.

The article contributes to an 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, my argument 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 article demonstrates how a spatial political economy can help understand modernity within capitalism through the ordering of state space.

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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