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Iconic architecture as a hegemonic project of the transnational capitalist class

Sklair, Leslie and Gherardi, Laura (2012) Iconic architecture as a hegemonic project of the transnational capitalist class. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 16 (1-2). pp. 57-73. ISSN 1470-3629

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13604813.2012.662366


Identifying the drivers of actually existing capitalist globalization as the transnational capitalist class, this paper suggests that theory and research on its agents and institutions could help us to explain how the dominant forms of contemporary iconic architecture arise and how they serve the interests of globalizing capitalists. We define iconic architecture in terms of buildings and/or spaces that are famous, and that have distinctive symbolic and aesthetic significance. The historical context of the research is the thesis that the production and representation of architectural icons in the pre-global era (roughly before the 1960s) were mainly driven by those who controlled state and/or religious institutions, whereas the dominant forms of architectural iconicity in the global era are increasingly driven by those who own and control the corporate sector. The argument is illustrated with reference to debates around the politics of monumentality in architecture; the relationship between iconic architecture and capitalist globalization; and an explanation of why these debates are being overtaken by critical and uncritical conceptions of architectural iconicity derived from an analysis of the use of iconicity and similar terms in the discourses of major architecture and architect–developer firms and mass media presentations of their work.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Sociology
LSE Human Rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2013 09:27
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2024 23:11

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