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ANT347Y Lec 4 Metropolis and Modernity.pdf

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Sharon Kelly

Lec 4 Metropolis and Modernity October-01-13 12:05 PM Outline: 1. What is modernity? 2. The Metropolis as Site of Modernity 3. Experiencing Modernity: Metropolis and Mental Life 4. The Metropolis as a Stage for Modernity 5. Michel de Certeau: Panopticon and spatial practices Panopticon=aerial view? What is Modernity? - Literally = contemporaneousness, the quality of being in the present, or being up-to-date - Sociologists and anthropologists use to describe: ○ A whole complex of things, from new ways of organizing societies to new sets of beliefs and world views - Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim Modernity According to Marx, Weber, Durkheim: (3 main ways socialists try to characterize modernity) - Marx Understood modernity through Capitalism ○  Wage labor  Private ownership of capital  Private property, free labor  Alienation ○ This type differed from earlier European, which was imagined to operate under feudal lines ○ According to feudalism - had lords and peasants - Durkheim ○ Understood modernity through Division of Labor ○ Organic vs Mechanical solidarity ○ Social-solidarity (social cohesion) - one hand, mechanical solidarity, on the other hand: organic solidarity ○ Mechanical solidarity = solidarity of pre-capitalist societies  Common set of beliefs (through rituals and religions) -> e.g. rice growing, in most of Asia  What one person is doing, it wont be much diff from their neighbor ○ Organic solidarity = industrial, modern capitalistic societies  Division of labor, specialization of functions, like the "organs" in our bodies (metaphor of 'organic')  Social body - using the metaphor, using the scientific concept (each part of the bodily organs of specific tasks..)  What you do and what your neighbor does can be totally different (e.g. assembly person does one task, and another person does a different task along that line = divided task)  Interdependent (activities and jobs/work, make sense only through this bigger system of complex organization) - Weber ○ Saw division of labor = process, process that is characteristic of modernity (Weber called "rationalization") ○ Rationalization = the rationalisation process that is the practical application of knowledge to achieve a desired end ○ Rise of bureacracy  Within systems of political organization, a bureau of people of specific functions  Idea of experts, specialized knowledge of governing  Bureaucracies came into being with capitalism □ To increase productivity etc.. ○ Disenchantment of the world  Process of secularization  By making things predictable and calculable,...people would stop believing in Gods, fate Other Features of Modernity - Fascination of the 'new' (technologies, sciences, commodities) - A way of viewing history as being the place of tradition and the present as being the place of liberation from tradition - A way of viewing the future as someday being a reality ○ Utopian mode, or doomsday ○ Already present in modern society ○ e.g. 1984 George Orwell  The total surveillance that George Orwell was imagining wasn't even to the degree of surveillance of today  Surveillance on the internet and other devices in the modern world - A belief in the idea of a "Future" Moving as a social collective into that future ○ ○ Imagined as a linear progress through different stages ○ Modernisation = future, that we are all collectively moving towards ○ Trains are used as symbols for this type of modernity (positively and negatively) ○ Symbolic resonances impact is felt when catastrophes occur by these symbols Metropolis as Site of Modernity - Most people regard metropolis = site of modernity at its most extreme form - Cities always distinguished from countryside - City and the Country City comes into view only in relation to the country (and now the suburb) Lectures Page 1 ○ City comes into view only in relation to the country (and now the suburb) ○ City:country::modernity:tradition - Stereotypes ○ Countryside comes out more in the negative light ○ Experience of country and city - Relate to Robert Park on urban theory - Simmel article ○ After rise of industrial city ○ Written before WW1 and WW2 (this fact is significant)  These 2 wars had a tremendous impact  WW1 had a similar effect on the optimism on modernity □ Technological advance and modern technology of weapons ○ According to Simmel  If you want to experience the modern - the most up-to-date - you do so in the city  The up-to-date may be the misery and 'social murder' …. Experience of Modernity - Simmel: ○ 1858-1918 ○ 'Metropolis and Mental Life': 1903 ○ Reflections on the form of subjectivity that pertains to the industrial city ○ The village is emotional and slow, there is no freedom of individual (Simmel's remarks on the countryside) ○ Idea of 'ourselves' as 'individuals' each with a unique character and set of attributes, and the concept of person is associa ted with the Metropolis - Groups have a collective dynamic - Personhood is culturally-constructed and not a given - The clock, agendas, are central to the organization of cities ○ Shapes who we are, creating our personhood - According to Simmel City = associated with the crowd  Cosmopolitan by nature  Intense division of labor  Specialization  Form of social interaction ○ All the sound, likes the impressions a barrier is created (the blasé attitude = someone who isn't affected by what is happening around it; depersonalizing) ○ Dissociation associated with freedom of individual  Freedom of distachment (lack of caring) as well  People 'perform individuality' ○ The money economy  Exchange value  Anything can be translated into money (every object can be reduced into a nu
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