New Geographies of Spectacle

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cultural Geography Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 3, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Jacob Miller, Vincent Del Casino
Chairs: Jacob Miller


In the early twenty-first century of hyper-consumption of media and the proliferation of new political media cultures, we think there is no better time to reconsider the prospect of a “society of the spectacle” as an evolving mode of power and psycho-political condition to be confronted by radical/critical geographic thought. While Guy Debord and the Situationist Internationale are often discussed as putting forth a dialectical theory of the spectacle, insofar as it also creates the spaces for resistance in the everyday landscape, other recent versions of the spectacle have launched into new theoretical territory of hyperreal and/or relational ontologies of what could be considered contemporary landscapes of spectacle and their emerging political potential. Urban theorists have examined embodied and affective dimensions of the urban landscape that correspond to the dynamics of spectacle (Hetherington and Cronin 2008; Lee 2015), while others have elaborated on the geopolitics of spectacle as corporate and state media craft the foundations for ongoing conflicts (Retort 2005; Chu and Sanyal 2015). Other feminist and gender theory scholars like Grace (2000) and Toffoletti (2007) see great potential in the move towards hyperreality as an opening to more radical futures where queer, transgender and post-humanist subjectivities, for instance, might thrive. The spectacle, then, carries with it dense theoretical, methodological and conceptual challenges that this session would like to give expression to.

Any topic is invited, as long as there is some serious link to developing or critiquing “spectacle” as a theoretical concept relevant for geographic thought and research. Topics might include:

Urban landscapes and consumer culture
Geopolitics and spectacle
Spectacle, gender and sexuality
Digital geographies of spectacle
Critiques/criticism of spectacle and/or hyperreality

Chu C L and Sanyal R 2015 Spectacular cities of our time Geoforum 65: 399-402

Grace V 2000 Baudrillard’s Challenge. A Feminist Reading Routledge, London and New York

Hetherington K and Cronin A M 2008 Introduction. In Cronin A M and Hetherington K (eds) Consuming the entrepreneurial city: image, memory, spectacle Routledge New York

Lee K-W 2015 Technical frames of affect: Design-work and brand-work in a shopping mall. Geoforum 65: 403–412.

Retort 2005 Afflicted Powers. Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War. Verso

Toffoletti K 2007 Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls. Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman
Body I.B. Tauris, London and New York


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Vincent Del Casino*, University of Arizona, Jacob Miller, University of Arizona, Spectacle Geographies and Everyday Geopolitics 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Natalie Koch*, Syracuse University, The geopolitics of spectacle: Space, synecdoche, and the new capitals of Asia 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Joern Langhorst*, University of Colorado Denver, College of Architecture and Planning, The City of the Spectacle: Aestheticizing Urban Space/ Urban Nature in the Rebranding of the Neoliberal City 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Craig Dalton*, Hofstra University, Emma Fraser, University of Manchester, Jim Thatcher, University of Washington-Tacoma, Clancy Wilmott, University of Manchester, Augmented Spaces of Spectacular Consumption 20 9:00 AM
Discussant Daniel Bos 20 9:20 AM

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