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Flexible Accumulation through Urbanization Reflections on "Post-Modernism" in the American City Author(s): David Harvey Source: Perspecta, Vol.

26, Theater, Theatricality, and Architecture (1990), pp. 251-272 Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of Perspecta. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1567167 Accessed: 22/09/2009 03:10
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Flexible Accumulation Urbanization Through


Reflectionson "Post-Modernism" in the AmericanCity David Harvey

is thecritique Proletarian revolution ofhuman


whichindividuals and geography through communities haveto create placesandevents suitable fortheirown appropriation, no longer butof theirtotalhistory. just of theirlabour,
Guy Debord, Society of theSpectacle.

Timesarehard,but (post)modem.
Adaptationof an Italiansaying.

25I

This paperwas originallypresentedat the symposiumDeveloping theAmerican and City, Society in theRegional Architecture which was at held of in the Yale School Architecture City February,I987.

Introduction architecture andthepassage endofmodernist thesymbolic Charles dates Jencks


as 3:32p.m. onJuly I5th, I972, when the Pruitt-Igoe to the post-modem housing modem was of Le Corbusier's "machine for version (a living") development for the environment low-income as an unlivable peopleit housed. dynamited Nixon officially declared the urban crisis over. President thereafter, Shortly allkindsof othertransitions Nineteenseventy-twois not a baddateforsymbolizing It is roughly sincethenthatthe in the political economyof advanced capitalism. of the stagflation out of the suffocating thatbrought world,shaken torpor capitalist boomto a wimpering new the longpostwar end, hasbegunto evolvea seemingly Setin motionduring accumulation. the severe of capital andquitedifferent regime the equally of consolidated deflation of I973-5andfurther recession during savage is marked the new regime I98I-2 (the "Reagan" recession), by a startling flexibility and of to labour labour with respect markets, products, patterns processes, shiftsin the patterning of It has,at the sametime, entrained rapid consumption.2 bothbetweensectors andgeographical unevendevelopment, regions-a process of entirely new financial These evolution aided systemsandmarkets. by the rapid havepermitted the new regime to be andmobility enhanced powersof flexibility boutsof deflation forcealready weakened that by two savage imposed upona labour riseto unprecedented levelsin allthe advanced sawunemployment post-war forexample,from countries (save,perhaps, Japan).Rapid displacements, capitalist orfrom to the newly industrializing countries the advanced countries, capitalist to unskilled homethe weakness of service skilled jobs, hammered manufacturing levelsof highunemployment, andits inability to resistsustained labour rapid in the real of skills,andmodest(if any) increases andreconstruction destruction alsoundermined the powerof the stateto circumstances economic wage. Political with governments seriously wage, evenin thosecountries protectthe social of resistance the politics state. Although of the welfare to defense commited may the andfiscalretrenchment, havevaried,austerity sometimes accompanied by in advanced have become the a virulent of neo-conservatism, widespread resurgence world. capitalist andintellectual aboutcultural Whatis remarkable lifesinceI972 is how it, too, has

these inwaysthatappear to parallel transformed beenradically political-economic ofthe of"high forexample, thepractices Consider, transformations. modernity hadbythenlostallsemblance in I972.Modernism aspracticed international style" of all orUtopian Theprotopolitical of social (thetransformation critique. program and had of space) hadfailed lifebywayofthetransformation modernism social
TheLanguage Architecture, 4thed.(London: Editions, I984), p. 9. Academy ofPost-Modern CharlesJencks, 2 SeeP.A. Armstrong, Since Two World War A.Glyn,andJ. Harrison, Fontana, (London: I984); Capitalism andC.Sabel, TheSecond A Theory M.A. Aglietta, NLB, I974); M. Piore (London: ofRegulation Divide Industrial Work, Books,I984); A. ScottandM.Storper, eds.,Production, (New York:Basic The AllenandUnwin, I986); and Capatalism Anatomy ofIndustrial Territory: Geographical (London: From Fordist to Flexible of the Transition andGeopolitical "TheGeographical Consequences Harvey, New Economic at Conference on the Accumulation America's (Presented Washington, Geography,
I

252

D. C., April 29-30, I987).

'o

~t

become linked to capital accumulation a project of Fordist closely through modernization characterized andefficiency.3 byrationality, functionality, By I972, wasasstifling modernist architecture andtorporous asthecorporate it power inarchitectural thestagflation of represented. practice paralleled Stagflation it wasnoaccident thatVenturi, Scott andIzenour Brown, capitalism (perhaps in I972).4 Critics LasVegas ofmodernity hadbeenaround for published Learningfrom averylongtime(think Death American ofJaneJacobs's Cities, Lifeand ofGreat in I96I)andthere wasa sense, ofcourse, inwhichtherevolutionary published cultural movement ofthe I96os wasfashioned asa critical to rationality, response andefficiency ineverything.Butit tookthe I973 crisisto shakeupthe functionality,
betweenartandsocietyto allowpost-modernism to becomeboth relationship andinstitutionalized. accepted term. Mostagreethatit entails "Post-modernism" is, however,a mostcontentious somekindof reaction to "modernism." But sincethe meaning of thattermis a to it aredoublyso. Thereappears, muddle,the reactions however,to be somekind of consensus "thatthe typicalpost-modernist artifact is playful,pluralist, selfto the austere andeven schizoid; andthatit reacts of high autonomy ironizing the language of commerce modernism andthe by impudently embracing is one of irreverent "itsstancetowards cultural tradition Furthermore, commodity." andits contrived undermines allmetaphysical solemnities, depthlessness pastiche, of squalor aesthetics andshock."5 But evenin a fieldlike sometimes by a brutal

isclearly inviewand where the"artifact" where writers like architecture, Jencks whatpost-modernism isabout, havesought to define themeaning and definition of Inother thetermstillremains where has incontention.6 fields, post-modernism withpost-structuralism, intertwined become andthelike,matters deconstruction, Intheurban I shall obscure.7 havebecome evenmore context, therefore, simply as a characterize break with the idea that and post-modernism signifying planning should focus onlarge-scale, austere and rational, technologically development efficient andthatvernacular "international traditions, style" functionally design, andspecialized from local functions ofintimacy to spatial history, designs ranging should beapproached withamuch eclecticism of style. greater spectacle grand to me,seeks some kind of accommodation it seems Thiskind ofpost-modernism, thathasemerged flexible of accumulation sinceI973. Ithas withthemore regime a passive, inthepromotion than role ofnew acreative andactive, rather sought withflexible eventhough and consistent cultural attitudes accumulation, practices seeit ascontaining for such asFrampton, some ofitsdefenders, potentialities Theinstitutionalization to capitalist aswellasconformity resistance imperatives.8
of a andhegemonyof "post-modernism" rests,therefore, uponthe creation
distinctive"cultural logic"in late capitalism.9
Positionsin the Post modem Debate," New German 3 F.Jameson,"The Politicsof Theory: Ideological 33: pp. 53-65. Critique Las Vegas 4 R. Venturi,D. Scott-Brown, andS. Izenour,Learningfrom (Cambridge: MIT Press, I972). from Modernity,."TimesLiterary 5 T. Eagleton,"Awakening 20, I987. Supplement February
6 Jencks, Post-Modern Architecture.

David Harvey

must Not onlyhavecapitalism to thepicture beconsidered. element and Oneother a seachange, but cultural and itsassociated practices undergone ideological together shifted. The havelikewise our"discourses" buzz-word) (tousethecurrent oftheory for theabandonment of stucturalist deconstruction interpretations, from Marxism thegeneral of social inmuch science, away backing empiricism of intherealm offutility andthesense andintellectual reasons) (forbothpolitical ofall andthereduction of "theother" real (theimpenetrability representation to our ofcontinuity to preserve make it verydifficult to a"text") anysense meaning the about Wetalked thatsetinaround of thattransformation 1972. understanding to now. Yethere, adifferent ina different world then,compared language way,used achieved transformation thatthepolitical-economic a casecanbemade too,I think affected have class defeats and crises of economic a succession working through Thatsounds andideological aswellascultural discourses is, oldlike,and practices.x? atthewayin ButI cannot Marxian fashioned helpbutbeimpressed argument. and ofeconomy andcultural ofthought world whichawhole institutions, practice, thedust aswe watched to crumble andwaysof relating, ofpolitics explode began down. come of the walls and Pruitt-Igoe crashing upwards Urbanization Accumulation Flexible Through forunderiscritical I haveargued of urbanization, Anunderstanding elsewhere, in shifts beenthrough Ithaspartly ofcapitalism.? thehistorical geography standing beenso have accumulation offlexible thatthenewsystems theurban process have ofmodernism oftherise historians Butalso,asvarious implanted. successfully moveandcultural aesthetic between connection isanintimate out,there pointed It seems oftheurban nature mentandthechanging reasonable, experience."2 of ofintegration asakeypoint intheurban to lookattransitions therefore, process andtheculturalaccumulation flexible movetowards thepolitical-economic towards trend aesthetic post-modernism. intheUnited itsspots Urbanization else,dramatically has,likeeverything changed onthe deflation of I973-5 putincredible sinceI972. Theglobal States pressure of shrinking A combination urban ofmany base markets, regions. employment of labour, division andtheglobal constraints shifts in spatial rapid unemployment, financial and layatthe reorganization, technological plant closings, capital flight,
NewGerman the PostModern," 7 SeeA. Huyssen, 33: pp.5-52. Critique "Mapping in C.Johnson, of Resistance." on anArchitecture 8 K.Frampton, "Critical ed., Speculations Regionalism: TheCityin Conflict Mansell, I985). (London:
9 Jameson,"Post Modernism,or, The CulturalLogic of LateCapitalism,"New Left ReviewI46: pp. 53-92.
254

andSpecificity in the Transition of Human io SeeD. Harvey andA. Scott,"Practice Theory, Geography, ed Remodelling Basil in W. MacMillan, Accumulation" to flexible fromFordism Geography (Oxford: Blackwell, forthcoming).
andthe Urban II Harvey,The Urbanization of Capital (Oxford: BasilBlackwell, I985); idem, Conciousness

Basil Blackwell, I985). Experience (Oxford: Simon andSchuster, IntoAir (New York: Melts All That Is Solid andJ. 12M.Berman, I982), M. Bradbury ThePainting Modernism Pelican, McFarlane, I976) T.J.Clark, ofModern Life:Paris (Hammondsworth: and hisFollowers in theArtofManet Fragments ofModernity (New York:Knopf,I985) andD. Frisby,
(Oxford: Polity Press, I986).

wasnotonlyto other Thegeographical and root ofthatpressure. dispersal regions ofurban deconcentration ofpopulations it included and nations, yet another phase and intorural andsmall-town America inawaythat thesuburbs beyond production
almost seemed like the fulfillmentof Marx'spredictionof the "urbanization of the

Fixed investments andphysical infrastructures inexisting countryside". capital locations wereconsequently threatened withmassive thusundermining devaluation, ofmany taxbase and fiscal theproperty urban ata timeof capacity governments social thatfederal need.Tothedegree redistributions also became harder increasing
to capture of Nixon'sdeclaration in I973), so social consum(thiswasthe import
ption was reduced,forcing more and more governments to a politicaleconomy of retrenchmentand disciplinaryaction againstmunicipalemployees and the local real wage. It was exactly in such a context that New YorkCity went into technical for bankruptcyin I975, presaginga wave of fiscaldistressand radicalrestructuring many U. S. cities."3 Ruling class alliancesin urbanregionswere willy-nilly forced (no matterwhat their composition) to adopt a much more competitive posture. Managerialism,so of urbangovernancein the I96os, was replacedby entrepreneurialism characteristic as the main motif of urban action.14 The rise of the "entrepreneurial city" meant increasedinter-urbancompetition acrossa numberof dimensions. I have elsewhere arguedthat the competition can best be brokendown into four differentforms: (a) competition for position in the internationaldivisionof labour; (b) competition for position as centers of consumption; (c) competition for control and command functions (financialand administrative powers in particular);and (d) competition for governmentalredistributions (which in the United States, as Markusenhas focusedheavily these last few years on militaryexpenditures).16 These four shown,"5 options arenot mutuallyexclusive, and the uneven fortunesof urbanregionshave dependedupon the mix and timing of strategiespursuedin relationto globalshifts. It was in part through this heightened inter-urbancompetition that flexible accumu-

hasbeenrapid theresult inurban firm hold.However, tooksuch lation oscillations Houston ofuneven fortunes andinthepatterning development.17 geographical short inthe weresuddenly townsinthemid-I970s, bothboom andDenver, caught
collapseof oil prices after I981; SiliconValley,the high-tech wonder of new

hassuddenly lostitscompetitive inthe I970S, andnewemployment edge; products


I3

to the Urban Policies Critical I. Szelenyi, ed., Citiesin Recession: of theNew Right(BeverlyHills: Responses in an Age of Austerity and Urban and W. P. Goldsmith, Forester, Clavel, Planning Regional 1984); J. Sage, M. and N. R. S. York: Smith, Restructuring Hill, Fainstain, Fainstain, I983); D.Judd, Pergamon, (New theCity ( New York: Longman, I986); andW. Tabb, TheLongDefault(New York: Monthly Review
Press, 1982).

I4

in an Advanced Urban R. Hanson, ed., Rethinking Economy Develpment (Washington,D. C.: Policy: Urban Villesen France desGrandes National Academy of Sciences, I983) andJ.Bouinot, ed., L"ActionEconomique et a l"Etranger Economica, I987). (Paris:

and s5A. Markusen,"Defense Spending: A SuccessfulIndustrial Policy," International Journal of Urban io Research Io5-22. 986): ( pp. Regional
I6 Harvey,The Urbanization (Oxford: BasilBlackwell, I985), chapter8. of Capital
I7

andtheProduction N. Smith, Uneven Nature,Capital, (Oxford: BasilBlackwell,1984). of Space Development:

David Harvey

andthe once-jaded whileNew York economies of New England arerebounding

inthe i98os onthebasis ofexpanding command andcontrol functions vigorously and evennew-found Twoother more effects have manufacturing strength. general thenfollowed. inter-urban hasopened within whichthenewand more First, competition spaces labour flexible could bemore hasopened and theway processes easily implanted to much more flexible currents ofgeographical than wasthecase before mobility forafavorable "business forexample, haspushed urban I973. Concern climate," to allkinds ofmeasures to public (from investments) governments wage-disciplining inorder to attract economic but in the this concern has development, process thecostof change lessened of location to theenterprise. Much ofthevaunted oftoday amounts to a subsidy foraffluent consumers, "public-private partnership" and command functions to stayintownattheexpense of corporations, powerful local collective fortheworking class andtheimpoverished. Second, consumption urban havebeenforced intoinnovation and investment to make their governments more cities attractive asconsumer and cultural centers. Such innovations andinvestments down-town consumer centers, stadia, (convention sports disney-worlds, beenimitated elsewhere. Inter-urban thus etc.)havequickly paradises, competition hasgenerated urban innovations inlife-styles, cultural forms, leap-frogging even and and consumer based all of which have innovation, political products, thetransition to flexible Andherein, accumulation. I shall actively promoted argue, of secret of the the to in liespart culture. passage post-modernityurban Thisconnection canbeseenintheradical oftheinterior ofthe reorganization spaces U. S. cityunder theimpulsions ofinter-urban I shall contemporary competition. theaccount, withsome remarks ontheclass content of however, preface general inurban spatial practices settings. inUrban TheClass Content of Spatial Practices Settings inanysociety in subtleties abound andcomplexities. Since Spatial practices theyare notinnocent to theaccumulation withrespect ofcapital andthereproduction of class relations under forsocial arena conflict and theyarea permanent capitalism, whohavethepower Those to command and avital produce space possess struggle. forthereproduction and enhancement oftheir ownpower. instrumentality Any to the transform nettle of the transmust, therefore, society project grasp complex of spatial formation practices. I shall ofthecomplexity some construction of a"grid" of tryto capture through sideI range three dimensions identi(Table i). Downthelefthand spatial practices
I8 fiedin Lefebvre"s T7he Production of Space: 256

18H. Lefebvre, La Production del'Espace in English as7heProduction (Paris:Anthropos, I974),forthcoming Blackwell). (Oxford:Basil ofSpace

A"Grid" of Spatial Practices


& Accessibility Distanciation Material spatial practices (experience) Flowsof goods, money, labour people, power, information, etc.; &communitransport cations market systems; andurban hierarchies; agglomeration & Appropriation Use of Space Urban builtenvironments, social spaces of the city &other'turf' social designations; networks of communication&mutual aid Domination & Control of Space
-oo

Private in land, property state,&administrative divisions of space;


exclusive communities

&neighborhoods; exclusionary zoning &otherforms of social control (policing andsurveillance)

of space Representations (perception)

and Personal mental Social, psychological space; measures of of physical maps occupied space; distance; hierarchies; mapmaking; spatial theories of the'friction of symbolic representation distance' of of spaces (principle leasteffort, social physics, of a range good,central place&otherforms of location theory)

Forbidden spaces; "territorial imperatives;"


community; regional

culture; nationalism; hierarchies geopolitics;

of representation "Media is the message" Spaces new modes of spatial (imagination) transaction (radio, t.v.,film,photography, painting, etc.);diffusion of "taste"

Popular spectaclesstreetdemonstrations, of popular riots; places spectacle (streets, squares, markets); iconography andgraffiti

Organized spectacles; & monumentality constructed of spaces barriers ritual; symbolic andsignals of symbolic capital

Material spatial practices to thephysical refer andmaterial andinter-actions thatoccur inand flows,transfers, across in sucha wayasto assure andsocial production space reproduction. of space Representations all of codesandknowledge, thatallowsuch encompass the signsandsignifications, be material to about and no matter talked whether in terms of understood, practices sense or the sometimes of common the academic through everyday arcanejargon thatdealwith spatial architecture, disciplines practices (engineering, geography, social andthe like). planning, ecology, of representation Spaces constructs suchassymbolic aresocial inventions (codes,signs,andevenmaterial and the museums built environments, like)thatseekto paintings, spaces,particular forspatial orpossibilities new meanings practices. generate

257

Lefebvre thesethreedimensions characterizes asthe experienced, andthe theperceived, He regards the dialectical relations betweenthemasthe fulcrum of a imagined.

tension dramatic which thehistory of spatial canberead. The through practices

DavidHarvey

relations A "vulgar Marxist" would are,however, problematic. position presumably hold thatmaterial determine both the of practices directly spatial representations
of representation. Marxdidnot holdsucha view.'9He depicts spaceandthe spaces

asamaterial force and writes inajustly intheGrundrisse productive knowledge in Capital: famous "What theworst of architects from thebest passage distinguishes ofbeesisthis,thatthearchitect hisstructure inimagination raises before heerects it inreality."2 Thespaces havethepotential ofrepresentation, notonlyto therefore, affect butalso of space to actasamaterial force with representation productive to spatial practices. respect thattherelations Butto argue between theexperienced, theperceived, and the aredialectically, rather than leaves much determined too causally, imagined things a clarification. Heexplains how"a matrix ofperceptions, provides vague.Bordieu andactions" canatoneandthesame to timebeputto work appreciations, flexibly timebeing "in diversified thelast "achieve whileatthesame tasks," infinitely instance" famous outofthematerial of phrase) engendered (Engels's experience structures" andtherefore "out oftheeconomic basis ofthesocial "objective inquestion."2" the"well-founded Bordieu ofobjective formation accepts primacy thefalse inference thattheobjective or relations" however, without, making withapower of autonomous structures arethemselves endowed development of human independent agency. of "habitus"-a Themeditating linkisprovided installed by theconcept "durably which of regulated thatin improvisations" "produces practices" principle generative conditions whichproduced theobjective tendto reproduce thegenerative turn ofhabitus inthefirst Thecircular causation is (evencumulative?) place. principle averystriking Bordieu's conclusion obvious. ofthe is, however, depiction to thepower of theimagined overtheexperienced: constraints isanendless thehabitus toengender Because capacity products-thoughts, actions-whose limits are setbythehistorically and perceptions, expressions, conditions of its situated the and conditional production, conditioning socially
from a creation ofunpredictable is asremote freedom it secures asit is novelty
of the initial froma simplemechanical reproduction conditionings.22

I accept thattheorization make useofit. andwilllater considerable


Across the top of the grid (Table i) I list three other aspects to spatialpracticedrawn from more conventionalunderstandings: anddistanciation Accessibility speakto the role of the "frictionof distance"in human

affairs. Distanceis botha barrier to anda defense humaninteraction. It against


imposes transactioncosts upon any system of productionand reproduction those basedon any elaboratesocialdivisionof labour,trade, and social (particularly

258

I9 K. Marx, Grundrisse (Harmondsworth:Penguin, I973). 20 Marx, Capital,volune I (New York: International Publishers,I967).
21

P. Bourdieu,Outlineof a Theory (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press, I977). of Practice

of reproductive differentiation is simply Distanciation ameasure ofthe functions). to whichthefriction of space hasbeenovercome to accommodate social degree interaction.23 The thewayinwhichspace examines isused and appropriation ofspace occupied by orother social and institutionalized classes, individuals, Systemitized groupings. the entail of of social founded forms appropriation may production territorially solidarity. Ihedomination reflects howindividuals orpowerful dominate the ofspace groups andproduction of space soasto exercise a greater ofcontrol organization degree either overthefriction ofdistance oroverthemanner inwhichspace is appropriated orothers. bythemselves These three dimensions to spatial arenotindependent ofeachother. The practice friction of distance isimplicit inanyunderstanding of thedomination and of space, whilethepersistent of a space appropriation appropriation bya particular the that out on the street amounts to adefacto (say gang hangs group corner) domination of thatspace. theattempt to dominate insofar asit Furthermore, space, reductions in thefriction ofdistance "annihilation of space requires (capitalism's forexample) time" alters distanciation. through Thisgrid of spatial tellsusnothing initself.Spatial practices important practices their derive in social lifeonlythrough thestructure of social relations within efficacy whichtheycomeintoplay. Under thesocial relations ofcapitalism, spatial practices become withclass imbued To it this is to not, however, meanings. put way argue thatspatial are of derivative These take practices capitalism. spatial practices on andthese areputintomotion andspaces areused ina specific meanings meanings theagency of class, orother social When particular waythrough gender, practices.24 inthecontext ofcapitalist social relations and placed (theaccumulation imperatives ofcapital), thegrid canhelpusunravel some ofthecomplexity thatprevails inthe ofcontemporary field spatial practices. in setting wasnot,however, to setabout a systematic Mypurpose upthegrid ofthepositions within such anexamination would beof it, although exploration interest considerable inafewcontroversial within (andI havepenned positionings thegrid forpurposes ofillustration). isto findawayto characterize the Mypurpose radical intheclass shifts content andthenature of spatial thathave practices
22 Ibid., p. 95.
259

23 A. Giddens, Ihe Constitutionof Society (Oxford: Polity Press, I984), p. 258-9.

contents of spatialpracticesalsoneed to be considered in any full 24 The gender,racial,ethnic, and religious accountof community formationandthe productionof socialspacesin urbansettings.A beginninghas been madeon the genderaspectin works by C. Stimson,ed., Women andtheCity (Chicago: University of D. the Uneven Development of Marx's Rose, Gentrification; Press, I981); Beyond "Rethinking Chicago Urban Theory"in Society andSpace II (1984): p. 47-74;ShlayA. and Di Gregorio,D. "SameCity, Different Worlds:ExaminingGenderand Work-base Differencesin Perceptionof Neighborhood in Urban , no. 2I (I985): p. 6686; andSmith, N., "OfYuppies and Desirability", AffairsQuarterly SocialRestructuring, andthe Urban Dream," in Society andSpace,vol. V (2, Housing; Gentrification,
1987): p. I5I-I72.

David Harvey

to reorganize the interior overthe lasttwo decades.The pressure occurred spaceof under the conditions of flexible the city,forexample,hasbeenconsiderable themes accumulation. The vitalityof the central city corehasbeenre-emphasised, and of urban suchasthe quality consumption palaces, living(gentrification, control social overbothpublicand andenhanced entertainment) sophisticated But the urban withinthe city,havebeenof widespread significance. private spaces andunemployment, hasalsohadto copewith increasing impoverishment process wherethe social underconditions Here,too, spatial wagecouldnot be increased. a return anincreasing control to in parttowards haveshifted through practices thatwasnever,of course,severely dented,let alone (a practice ghettoization wherethe homeless the andthe riseof new spaces wander, overcome) mentalpatients anddischarged hangout, andthe impoverished schizophrenics survival bothnew andwell-tried How, then, arewe to make strategies. practice of classpolarities? Arethere andconflict-prone senseof allthisshifting spatialization of the of spatial to address the question empowerment ways, futhermore, andimpoverished to be foundin all oppressed, populations segregated, increasingly urban areas? of Community andthe Construction ClassPractices classes construct theirsenseof territory Different andcommunity in radically

Thiselemental factisoftenoverlooked different who theorists ways.25 bythose is some apriori thatthere and universal forallhuman ideal-typical presume tendency ahuman of a roughly to construct similar what sort,nomatter community beings A study oreconomic circumstances. ofclass thepolitical withrespect to agency under conditions ofcontemporary construction urbanization illustrates community canhaveradically howessentially different class similar contents. spatial practices forexample, attheclass Letuslookmore which closely, practices through inurban aretypically constructed communities Weencounter here allthe settings. ofperceptions, andadaptability andactions thatBordieu flexibility appreciations, insists between construction inthelow-income community upon.Butthecontrast ofthepopulation intheaffluent strata and and and strata disempowered empowered isindeed striking. Low-income themeans to overcome and hence usually populations, lacking forthemostpart command find themselves in space. Since ownerspace, trapped ashousing) ofevenbasic means ofreproduction is restricted, themain (such ship isthrough continuous values wayto dominate space appropriation. Exchange andsothepursuit ofusevalues fordaily survival is central arescarce, to social action. Thismeansfrequent material andinterpersonal transactions andtheformation ofverysmall scale communities. Within thecommunity usevalues space, get some mix of mutual aid and mutual shared predation, through creating tightbut social inbothprivate conflictual often and interpersonal bonding public highly is an The result often intense attachment to and "turf" and to anexact spaces. place
work of PhillipSchmandt. 25 I am here deeply indebtedto the research

260

it isonlythrough active because sense of boundaries thatcontrol appropriation isassured. overspace Successful control apower to exclude unwanted elements. Fine-tuned presumes status discriminations are and called ethnic, racial, frequently intoplay religious, construction. of community within such aprocess Furthermore, political of a ofpolitical takes a form, expressive culture special generally organization of political to normal channels resistance and Thestate is hostility incorporation. of repressive asanagency control education, (inpolice, experienced etc.) largely thatcanbecontrolled benefits to them.26 rather thanasanagency by and bring sort of aparticipatory Political are,asCrenson observes,27 weakly organizations to the asirrelevant sort ofthebourgeois understood and politics developed, survival. fordaily thestate of theusevalues Nevertheless, necessary procuring of thereserve since of in such communities intervenes theyarevital preserves army ofcontagious of such thatallsorts social ills theunemployeddeprivation spaces canflourish, andspaces thatappear to tuberculosis) (from prostitution dangerous of the of social outside normal because lie they processes incorporation. precisely of affluent whocancommand thiswiththepractices Contrast space groups, of of and basic means cars, (houses, mobility ownership reproduction spatial through values withwhichto sustain blessed withabundant life, etc.). Already exchange usevalues forsurvival. community-provided upon theyareinnowaydependent isthengeared to thepreservation or of community Theconstruction mainly values. Usevalues relate to matters of accessibility, ofexchange enhancement taste, and cultural with the and that aesthetic tone, symbolic capital goes appreciation, built environment. relations a kind of of certain "valued," Interpersonal possession overspace does nothaveto atthestreet are level,andthecommand unnecessary access to the continuous beassured Money provides appropriation. through onother it lessexclusionary (residential grounds segregation community, making thefurther scale one to weaken andevenrace tends uptheincome byethnicity thespatial field andflexible, are diffuse mainly dependent upon goes).Boundaries values. thatcaneffectindividual effects ofexternality Community property thatcaneffect ofextemality effects form individual to takecare organizations of thecommunity Thestate is seen the"tone" maintain values and space. property and and asbasically beneficial controllable, security keep assuring helping of "noxious" inunusual circumstances undesirables out,except (thelocation ofhighways, theconstruction facilities, etc.).
261

ofcommunity andprocesses Distinctive construction-coupled practices spatial outof and cultural withdistinctive practices ideological predispositions-arise ofeconomic andsocioConditions material circumstances. different oppression of spatial andstyles of kinds different domination practices quite generate political under other class circumstances. befound than willtypically formation community

26P. Willis, Learning to Labor (Famborough:SaxonHouse, I977).


27

Politics M. Crenson,Neighborhood University Press, I983). (Cambridge:Harvard

David Harvey

ofSymbolic theProduction andthe Informalization, Capital, of theSpectacle Mobilization Flexible accumulation hasdeeply affected class structures andpolitical-economic soasto modify theprocesses ofcommunity while possibilities production, theimportance oftheclass of spatial content I willlook re-emphasising practices.
of thistransformation. at threeaspects briefly
andInformalization Impoverishment

anincrease of the urban haveexperienced in the sheernumbers The UnitedStates

ofthispoverty hasalso sinceI972. Thecomposition population poor changed.


workers thrownon the streetby de-industrialization, and blue-collar Unemployed orregional orfrom rural economies the floodof displaced peopleout of depressed the "hospital" of havebeenpiledon top of what Marxcalled third-world countries, urban the working class,left to fendforitselfin the cities. In somecases,particular havebeenplunged asa source localemployment tiedto a dominant communities of impoverishment wholeintoa condition by a singleplantclosing.Inother have vulnerable households, instances, particularly groups,suchasfemale-headed thuscreating zoneswherephenomena intothe mireof poverty, beenplunged deeper of whichneoFiscal of povertybecomedominant. likethe feminization constraints, at the thananeconomic virtuerather hasmadea political conservativism necessity, andhencethe life-support the flow of publicservices, sametimehaveundercut andthe poor. forthe massof the unemployed mechanisms, no incomeis anartthat on almost in urban to copeandsurvive settings Learning mutual and betweencompetition, takesa whileto learn.The balance predation, The growthof withinlow incomepopulations. shifted aidhasconsequently mutual of the powerof some to a diminution hasled, paradoxically, impoverishment to copewith it. But therehasalsobeenoneother of the morepositivemechanisms in American the riseof whatis knownasthe "informal sector" dramatic response: suchasdrug-trafficking, on illegal cities,a sectorthatfocusses practices prostitution, of services.Mostobservers andtrading andlegalproduction agreethatthese the same in scopeandformafterI972.28 Furthermore, expanded practices

thusbringing inthe theurban inEuropean wereobserved cities, process phenomena to thethird-world urban asawhole much closer countries advanced capitalist
experience.29

varies the form Thenature and ofinformalization upon greatly, depending ofthereserve forgoods andservices, thequalities markets to findlocal opportunities
relations (forwomenplaya armyof labour power(its skillsandaptitudes), gender
262

of small-scale inorganizing informal thepresence role economies), veryconspicuous andoversight oftheauthorities andthewillingness skills, (regulatory entrepreneurial
of the Informal andEffects TheOrigins, 28M.Castells "World Underneath: andA. Portes, Dynamics, Sector the on the Hopkins Study of Informal (Baltimore:Johns Economy," Conference Comparative University). and Subsistence andE.Mingione 29 N. Redclift Gender, Household, eds.,Beyond (Oxford:Basil Unemployment:
Blackwell, I985).

co

thatareoftenoutside the law. Lowpowerslikethe unions)to tolerate practices incomecommunities of labour present,in the firstplace,a vastreserve powerunder in these to times a find strongpressure livingof almost anysort. Underconditions of government laxness andtrade unionweakness, new kindsof of canarise,sometimes fromoutside the production goodsandservices organized butin otherinstances withinthe lowcommunity, organized by entrepreneurs incomecommunity itself. Homework hasbecomemuchmoreprominent, allowing the tasksof child-rearing andproductive women,forexample,to combine labour in the samespace,whilesaving the costsof overhead entrepreneurs (plant,lighting, and the informal of services to etc.). Sweatshops provision began emergeasvital of the New York andLosAngeleseconomies in the I970S andby now have aspects becomeimportant the U. S. urban throughout system.Thesehavebeenparalleled

commodification of traditional mutual aidsystems within lowbyanincreasing income communities. odd Baby-sitting, laundering, cleaning, fixing up,and jobs, whichused to beswapped more asfavours, are nowbought andsold,sometimes on anentrepreneurial basis. Social relations within low-income communities have,asaconsequence, many
becomemuchmoreentrepreneurial, with allof the consequences of excessiveand

oftenextraordinary ofwomen) inthelabour The exploitation (particularly process. flowofincomes intosuch communities hasincreased, butattheexpense of traditional mutual aidsystems andthestronger of social hierarchies implantation within thecommunities themselves. Theflowofvalue outof such communities has also increased Thishasledmany to lookwithsurprise atthelocal substantially. ofurban andto argue forthetoleration, and dynamics development acceptance, evenencouragement ofinformalization, thuslending credence to theneoconservative thatprivate isalways thepath to argument entrepreneurial activity economic andsuccess-as if thatcould solve theproblems of allthepoor growth rather than those few. Nevertheless, thegrowth ofinformalizationofjusta select andtheemergence ofunregulated urban within whichsuch spaces practices are tolerated-is aphenomenon consistent with the new of thoroughly regime flexible accumulation. The Production ofSymbolic Capital Thefrenetic of theconsumption of theaffluent dollars hasledto a much pursuit theregime differentiation under offlexible stronger emphasis product upon
63

accumulation. Producers of have,asa consequence, begunto explorethe realms Gdifferentiated tastesandaesthetic in waysthatwerenot so necessary preferences a Fordist under of standardised accumulation massproduction. In so regime through have a accumulation: the doing,they re-emphasisedpowerful aspectof capital 30 and of what Bourdieu calls"symbolic production consumption capital." Thishas hadimportant for the and of the urban implications production transformation in which live. spaces upper-income groups
30 Bourdieu,Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, I977),

pp 177-97; A SocialCritique idem, Distinction: of theJudgement of Taste(London: Routledgeand KeganPaul, I984).

David Harvey

isdefined as"the of luxury collection by Bourdieu "Symbolic capital" goods attesting thetaste and a distinction of theowner." Such of kind is, course, transformed capital ofmoney but"produces itsproper effect andonlyinasmuch, asit inasmuch, capital, conceals thefactthatit originates in"material" forms ofcapital whicharealso, inthe lastanalysis, thesource ofitseffects." Thefetishism involved isobvious, butit ishere to conceal, therealms of culture andtaste,thereal deliberately deployed through bases ofeconomic distinctions. Since "the mostsuccessful effects are ideological those which havenowords, andasknomore than the silence," complicitous of symbolic serves functions because themechanisms production capital ideological it contributes which "tothereproduction oftheestablished order andto the through 3 of domination remain hidden." perpetuation Itisinstructive to bring Bourdieu's theorizations to bear theproduction of upon communities andtheir built environments. Ithasa lotto tellus upper-class about thematerial ofgentrification, therecuperation of "history" processes (real, orsimply re-created aspastiche) of "community" and real, imagined, (again, orsimply forsale andtheneed forembellishimagined, packaged byproducers), mentdecoration, andornamentation thatcould function assomany codes and of social distinction.32 I donotmean to argue thatsuch symbols phenomena
arein anyway new-they havebeena vitalfeature to capitalist urbanization from

theverybeginning bear more than afewechoes ofdistinctions and,ofcourse, onfrom older social orders. Buttheyhave become ofmuch passed greater significance sinceI972, inpart their into of the through proliferation layers population thatwerehitherto denied them.Flexible accumulation a permits profitable response to the cultural discontents of the I960s, which of standardised implied rejection accumulation andamass culture thatprovided toofewopportunities to capture Tothedegree thatpolitical economic crisis the symbolic capital. encouraged ofproduct sotherepressed market desire to acquire differentiation, exploration could becaptured theproduction of built environments.33 symbolic capital through Andit was,ofcourse, this kind of desire thatpost-modemist architecture set exactly outto satisfy. "For themiddle class Venturi etalobserve, not suburbanite," "living,
in anantebellum butin a smaller version lostin a largespace,identitymust mansion,

comethrough treatment oftheform of thehouse, either symbolic through styling orthrough avariety of (forinstance, provided by thedeveloper Colonial) split-level 34 ornaments thereafter symbolic applied bytheowner." orenhancement is, however, opento devaluation Symbolic capital through changes
in taste. If symbolic a hidden contains thenpower capital powerof domination,
31Bourdieu,Outlineof a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, I977), p. I88. G. The and 32 Simmel, Philosophy of Money(London: Routledge KeganPaul, I978); W. Firey,"Sentiment and Symbolismas EcologicalVariables", American ReviewIO: I45-60 (1945); and M.Jager, Sociological "ClassDefinition andthe Aestheticsof Gentrification" in N. Smithand P. Williamseds., TheGentrification the and Unwin, I986). of City (London: Alien
33

N. Smithand M. Lefaivre,"A ClassAnalysisof Gentrification," inJ. Palenand B. Londoneds., and Revitalization Displacement Neighborhood Gentrification, (Albany: StateUniversity of New YorkPress,
1984).

34 Venturi,Scott-Brown, and Izenour;Las Vegas,p. 154.

intaste.Since vulnerable to mutations relations arethemselves between competition of consumers themachinations render taste and insecure, producers struggles within the urban fashion a certain over scene.35 The to acquire significance power aswellastheability to convert intomoney becomes dominate, symbolic capital, Butthatalso inthecultural oftheurban embedded that politics process. implies hasanevenmore of space within theurban vitalcultural domination process edge Tothedegree a regime offlexible accumulation. thatdomination to it under ofviolent sort contains thepotentiality onthepart ofwhatever ofthe response of conflict sohere,too,alatent domain hasbeenopened dominated, upforexplicit articulation.
Mobilization The of theSpectacle

forsocial andFestivals" wastheancient Roman formula "Bread ofthe pacification restless hasbeenpassed onintocapitalist culture for plebs.Theformula through, Second festival and where theurban became Paris, example, Empire spectacle
in a societyrivenby classconflict.36 instruments of social control hasbeentransformed fromcounter-cultural Since I972, theurban events, spectacle anti-war streetriots,andthe inner-city revolutions of the I96os. It demonstrations, of community asbotha symbolandaninstrument hasbeencaptured unification in conditions whereunemployment andimpoverishment under control bourgeois of classpolarization conditions havebeenon the riseandwhereobjective havebeen As partof thisprocess, the modernist formonumentality-the penchant increasing. andpowerof the established of the permanence, communication authority, capitalist an "official" that order-has beenchallenged the by post-modernist style explores andspectacle, with its senseof the ephemeral, of festival of display, architecture and butparticipatory The display of the commodity hasbecomea of transitory pleasure. ascrowdsflockto gazeat themandat eachotherin central partof the spectacle, Harbor andsecure Faneuil intimate likeBaltimore's Place,Boston's Hall,and spaces a hostof enclosed mallsthathavesprung up alloverAmerica.Evenwhole shopping of urban anddisplay. havebecomecenterpieces builtenvironments spectacle thanI cangivehere. It fits, of Thisphenomenon deserves moredetailed scrutiny fordeconsumer to compensate to capture dollars course,with urban strategies success restsin parton the way in commercial Itsundoubted industrialization. in secured of the spectacle whichthe actof buyingconnectsto the pleasure spaces, Harbor allof the Baltimore's Placecombines safefromviolenceorpolitical agitation. to the arcades of nineteenth-century thatBenjamin attributed virtues bourgeois to worldexpositions, of thatattached with the senseof the festival Paris "places

would takeit further: 37 Debord "thespectacle to thefetish Commodity." pilgrimage thetotality of the ofmoney where isthedeveloped modern complement
35

andCapital in Urban See S. Zurkin, LoftLiving:Culture (Baltimore:Johns HopkinsUniversity Change


Press, I982).

36Clark, ThePainting (New York: Knopf, I985). Life: Parisin theArt of ManetandhisFollowers of Modern
37 W.

A LyricPoetin theEraof High Capitalism Baudelaire: (London: NLB, I973), pp Benjamin,Charles

I58-65.

David Harvey

asawhole,asa general forwhattheentire world equivalence commodity appears Tothedegree thatthespectacle becomes "thecommon canbeandcando." society soit canalso offalse itself of deceived consciousness," present gazeand ground InBaltimore, Schaefer andtheurban ofunification."38 instrument as"an Mayor of Harbor used thespectacle behind alliance class him,haveconsciously ranged and of thesupposed inthatway,asa symbol Place unityof aclass-divided precisely liketheLos events and activities sports city.Professional racially-segregated inanotherwise function a similar Games fragmented perform Olympic Angeles urban society. to hasthuscomeincreasingly offlexible a regime Urban accumulation, life,under no downtowns American of spectacles," accumulation asan"immense itself present and of power, sense amonumental communicate authority, exclusively longer Itison andplay. of spectacle theidea Instead domination. theyexpress corporate that urban culture intothepost-modern, thatthebreak ofthespectacle thisterrain andit isinthe beenfashioned, haspartially accumulation flexible hasaccompanied and consciousness of class thattheoppositions of such context mediating images an "isnever thespectacle haveto unfold.39 class observes, But,asDebord practices oftheworld anaccount it isalways inplace; and mounted finally securely image tenacious ofdifferent, sometimes theresistance andmeeting withothers, competing 40 of social forms practice." Accumulation Flexible Under Stress Urban The economies. hashada serious accumulation Flexible allurban upon impact that those urban ofmany (particularly governments entrepreneurialism increasing it andthe to reinforce hastended haveemphasised partnership") "public-private thatwentwithit. Theuseof trends cultural and neoconservativism post-modemist thatthesocial hasmeant to capture resources scarce development increasingly to keeptherich benefits to provide inorder wasneglected ofthepoor consumption Nixon thatPresident indirection intown.Thiswastheswitch and powerful ofcourse, overin I973. Whatthatmeant, crisis theurban whenhedeclared signalled stresses intonewforms. ofurban wasthetransmutation infacilitating and their thecitylikewise within Theinternal part played adaptations more much hadtobecome Poor accumulation. flexible populations fomenting to survive. means economic forexample, "informa'l" adopting, entrepreneurial, ofincreasing conditions under forsurvival impoverishment competition Increasing inurban communities aidmechanisms mutual oftraditional erosion serious meant withrespect wereoftendisempowered and to dominate thathadlittlecapacity space
38G. Debord, Society (Detroit: : Black and Red Books, I983). of theSpectacle
391

266

can not resistdrawingattentionto the way in which Barthes(7TePleasure of theText[New York: Hill at the sametime as into philosophical and Wang, I975]) broughtthe concept ofjouissance respectability the explorationof the city as a theater,as a spectacle,full of play spacesbecamemore prominentin both of the urbanfabricas a "text" the theory andpracticeof urbandesign.I alsosuspectthat the appreciation that derivedto the with pleasurehad somethingto do with the tax advantages to be readandinterpreted districts". realestate industrydeclaringwhole segmentsof the city "historicpreservation

40Debord, Society of theSpectacle.

Theability to dominate ofpolitical to normal space integration. through processes communal and ofappropriation at weakened solidarity mutually supportive patterns theverymoment thatmany became vulnerable to invasion and spaces occupation A tension arose between ofworkers in byothers. unemployment increasing traditional and theemployment occupations growth by downtown triggered onfinancial revivals based services andtheorganization of spectacles. A newand of professional affluent and onthe raised workers, relatively generation managerial withmodernism cultural discontents inthe I96os,came to dominate wholezones of urban differentiation inbuilt environments, inner-city space product seeking quality of life,andcommand of symbolic The of and capital. recuperation"history" became essential to theproducers ofbuilt "community" selling gimmicks Thustheturn environments. to post-modernist wasinstitutionalized. styles There areserious social andspatial stresses inherent in such a situation. Tobegin class inurban with,increasing polarization (symbolized bytheincredible surge islands of startling and isinherently poverty wealth) surrounding conspicuous andgiven theprocesses ofcommunity construction available to thepoor, dangerous, it also setsthestage forincreasing orsimply "turf' tensions. racial, ethnic, religious, different mechanisms for class thespatiality ofcommunity Fundamentally defining comeintoconflict, thussparking warfare overwhoappropriates and running guerilla controls various ofthecity.Thethreat ofurban notofthe violence, spaces although sort massive inthe I96os, looms Thebreakdown of theprocesses experienced large. thatallow thepoor to construct ofcommunity ofmutual aidisequally anysort since it entails anincrease inindividual andallof the anomie, alienation, dangerous thatderive therefrom. Thefewwho"make it"through informal sector antagonisms cannot forthemultitude whowon't.At theother endof the activity compensate social thesearch forsymbolic a cultural introduces dimension to scale, capital economic tensions. Thelatter feedinter-class and state hostilities political prompt thatfurther interventions low-income alienate for (I amthinking, populations of thewaystreet-corner ingentrifying youths example, getharassed Themobilization hasitsunifying of thespectacle butit isa effects, neighborhoods). and uncertain toolforunification, and to thedegree thatit forces the fragile to become it contains consumer "aconsumer ofillusions" itsownspecific alienations. festivals areonething,butriots and andrevolutions Controlled canalso spectacles of thepeople." become "festivals Butthere isafurther contradiction. inter-urban Heightened competition produces investments that wasteful contribute rather than the to, ameliorate, oversocially
267

accumulationproblemthat lay behind the transitionto flexible accumulationin the firstplace.41Put simply,how many successfulconvention centers, sportsstadia, disney worlds, and harborplacescan there be? Successis often short-livedor renderedmoot by competing or alternativeinnovationsarisingelsewhere. Over-

fromshopping in everything investment makesthe values mallsto cultural facilities in urban to devaluation. embedded Down-townrevivals spacehighlyvulnerable
41 Harvey and Scott, "HumanGeography".

David Harvey

built infinancial andreal services estate where upon employment people burgeoning loans real and deals for other estate in financial daily process employed people services andreal a of and estate, depend upon hugeexpansion personal, corporate, theeffects debts.Ifthatturns than willbefarmore sour, devastating governmental of Pruitt-Igoe thedynamiting evercould Therash ofbank in failures symbolize. and evenCalifornia ofthemattributable to overColorado, Texas, (many inreal thatthere hasbeenserious investment in over-investment estate) suggests urban re-development. in short, is associated withahighly Flexible of accumulation, fragile patterning aswellaswithincreasing urban social andspatial ofurban investment, polarization class antagonisms. Political Responses order to produce," established tends Bordieu "the naturalization ofits writes, "Every ownarbitrariness" the"most and bestconcealed" mechanism forsodoing important is"the dialectic oftheobjective chances andtheagent's outofwhich aspirations,
arises the sense the sense called whichis "thebasisof commonly of limits, of reality"

themostineradicable adherence to theestablished order." and Knowledge (perceived anintegral ofthepower "becomes of society to reproduce thereby part imagined) itself." The"symbolic to impose theprinciples ofconstruction of reality-in power 42 social dimension ofpolitical particular, reality-isamajor power." Thisisakeyinsight. Ithelps howeventhemostcritical theorist canso explain endupreproducing "adherence to theestablished Itexplains order." Tafuri's easily onthehistory conclusion of avant-gardism and in architecture) of (based modernity theimpossibility of anyradical transformation ofculture and therefore ofanyradical andtransforming inadvance architectural of anyradical in transformation practice social relations.43 Thisinsight towards those whohaverecently compels scepticism embraced radical or some other of individualism (or post-modernism aspect asa radical and break withthepast.There is contemporary practice) liberating that evidence isnothing more than thecultural of post-modernity strong clothing flexible accumulation. "Creative destruction" -that centerpiece of capitalist indaily lifeasit everwas.Thedifficulty, isto therefore, modernity-is justascentral finda political to theinvariant andimmutable truths ofcapitalism ingeneral response to theparticular forms whileresponding of appearance thatcapitalism nowexhibits under offlexible conditions accumulation. From thatstandpoint, letme therefore, some modest explore proposals. theinterstices ofpresent forpoints of resistance Consider, first, exploring processes
andempowerment. anddeconcentration takentogether Decentralization with the cultural with qualities of placeandspace,create,a political concern climate in which the politics of community, canunfoldin new ways, at the very place,andregion momentwhen the cultural of allplacesis seriously threatened continuity by flexible
42Bourdieu,Outlineof a Theory of Practice (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, I977), p. I64. andUtopia(Cambridge,Mass.: MIT Press, I976). 43 M. Tafuri,Architecture 268

aregional advocates thatFrampton oftension Itisoutof thatsort accumulation. andRossi ofglobal forces to thehomogenizing of resistance architecture capitalism,44 ofneighbourhood tradition and of thecontinuity anarchitecture expressive pursues ofpost-modernity theses Thecultural collective are,evidently, opento memory.4s ofthepoor ofgreater and inthecause radical empowerment interpretation to the"creative destruction" with beer Butthatis small compared underprivileged. ofthecity. scars thefabric accumulation whichflexible typically of social also accumulation Flexible Spatial dispersal opens upnewpaths change. in to lure new activities to of much means equality opportunity geographical greater Position within theurban townsintheremotest eventhesmallest hierarchy region. inherent lose their cities and lesssignificant, becomes political-economic power large
haveoften to lurein new activities townsthathavemanaged Small to dominate.

blowhard winds ofcompetition Butthechill their remarkably. position improved Asmany evenrecently onto activities to hang hard too. It proves here acquired. hasalso undermined markets inlabour loseasgain cities by this.Theferment formigration, and union traditional employment, upopportunities opened powers under them(although oncedenied inthepopulation forlayers andself-employment work and deteriorated to lowwages circumstances more much leading competitive Flexible andghettoized newmigrants, forwomen, conditions minorities). of labour forms of cooperative organization upthepossibility opens production and thisargument andSabel Piore control. ofworker a modicum under emphasize much newand whentotally of capitalism inthehistory moment seethisasa decisive Thisstyleof canbeimplanted.46 ofindustrial forms more democratic organization sector" of "informal thesocial consolidation arise canalso through organization endeavours. andworker-controlled ascooperative activities control andcommunity worker make in short, offlexible Conditions accumulation, on ofpolitical Theemphasis to capitalism. asafeasible alternative ideology appear thus a"feasible," decentralized towards hasshifted thelefttherefore socialism, from than andanarchism social from more much democracy inspiration drawing attack and withthevigorous external Thisshift Marxism. traditional corresponds inthesocialist countries.47 mechanisms of centralized internal planning critique direction. inmuch thesame evolved onthelefthave Political Municipal practices United in the control and economic in Britain, socialism democracy community the in West illustrate andcommunity mobilization States, Germany by the"Greens" andregional thatcanbedone,atbothlocal much isplainly There trend. levels,
269 44Frampton,"CriticalRegionalism." andtheCity (Cambridge:MIT 45 A. Rossi,Architecture Press, I984).Rossi,it is interestingto note, baseshis the of several on ideas architectural of notablyVidalde la Blanche,regarding geographers, practice theory of and sites de vie" collective for the as of continuity of"genres importance neighbourhoods settings becauseVidalwas notoriouslyreluctant, memory.Frommy standpoint,Rossichose the wrong geographer de l"Est, to explorethe at leastuntil the very end of his life andhis seminalbut much neglectedGeographie socialrelations. under and of social transformations capitalist landscapes wrought physical dynamic

Divide(New York: BasicBooks, I984). Industrial 46M. PioreandC. Sabel,TheSecond Socialism 47Forexample see A. Nove, TheEconomics (London: Allen and Unwin, I983). of Feasible
David Harvey

andreligious local interests. and to defend Community organizations empower otherwise the and closure, support buy-outs, plant fightplant actively support low-income oftraditional, aidmechanisms mutual commmunity solidarity. forgreater thethrust to support bepersuaded canalso Institutions empowerment state canfind them.A sympathetic ofthepopulations thatsurround apparatus and (inservice housing provision, cooperatives provision, waysto support of skills theformation canalso find and waysto encourage perhaps production) canbepressured into institutions of local talent.Financial thetapping through and reinvestment, endeavours, cooperative neighbourhood community supporting in a cause. can be Even organized political corporations. spectacles development ofneighbourhood willpreserve cantryto ensure thatthetransformations Planners beturned Far thatadeserted better collective rather than factory memory. destroy ofthose wholived and center where thecollective intoacommunity memory thatit beturned intoboutiques rather than andcondos ispreserved, worked there ofonepeople's theappropriation thatpermit history byanother. havetheeffect Boththetheory andthepractices of Butthere areacute dangers. to regard Itisinvidious andreifications. thefragmentations places, reinforcing inthemselves" ata time as"things orevennations communities, cities,regions, isgreater than of capitalism ever.Tofollow thatlineof whentheglobal flexibility than inaggregate rather vulnerable to the is to beincreasingly, decreasingly, thinking Itisjustasgeographically of flexible accumulation. centralized power extraordinary asit isto ignore ofa global naive to ignore thequalities the and process unprincipled fashioned ofplace Practices distinctive andcommunity. onlyinthelatter qualities than of active andsubmission rather ofadaptation resistance apolitics terms define of socialist transformation. and
hasto beginwith the realities of resistance andtransformation Yeta globalstrategy

isto discover a centralized Theproblem that andcommunity. ofplace politics offlexible accumulation whileremaining matches theincreasingly centralized power in West of local resistances. The"Greens" and to thegrass-roots faithful Germany States to betaking intheUnited theRainbow Coalition appear upsuch questions. with a more to these is Thedifficulty merge traditional, freshly-minted ideologies ofaccumulation inresponse to aprevious shaped regime politics oppositional orpostradical individualism, neo-conservativism, however, (without, embracing There isplenty of scope forprogressive of liberation). here assigns modernism to dothehard and national levels and intellectual forces atlocal, practical regional, force outof themaelstrom of social amore-unified of creating work oppositional hasunleashed. accumulation thatflexible change ofresistance. Whatofthepolitics to speak, of thepolitics Thisismainly however, Whilecapitalism is always ina state radical of some more transformations ofpreto as these think about onanyone's it is scarcely socialism, agenda days something a clueasto why: to socialism. asthetransition Bordieu, perhaps, provides daring

270

Thecritique which theundiscussed intodiscussion, theunforbrings mulated intoformulation, hasasthecondition ofitspossibility objective inbreaking which theimmediate fitbetween structures crisis, subjective and theobjective self-evidence structures, destroys practically.48 of crisis do we havethe powerto thinkradically new Onlyunderconditions because it thenbecomes to reproduce "thenaturalization of our thoughts impossible own arbitrariness." All major socialrevolutions havebeenwroughtin the midstof breakdown in the bourgeois to govern. ability Thereareabundant cracks in the shakyedificeof modern not a few of capitalism, themgenerated in flexible inherent accumulation. The world's by the stresses financial of accumulation-is in system-thecentral powerin the present regime turmoil andweigheddownwith anexcessof debtthatputssuchhugeclaims on futurelabour thatit is hardto seeanyway to workout of it exceptthrough massive orrepressive deflation. The insecurity andpowerof defaults, inflation, rampant creative destruction unleashed takesa terrible toll, oftenon by flexibleaccumulation of a population, thusgenerating acutegeopolitical rivalries. These manysegments couldeasilyspinout of control(asthey didin the 1930s) andbreak up the Westasa coherent unit (protectionist andfinancial "wars" havebeenpart political-economic of ourdailydietof newsforsometimenow). Thoughcrisis prone,however,the

isnotincrisis, and fewofuscare to consider howlifewould beif it capitalist system were.Indeed, thesystem is soshaky thatevento talkabout itsshakiness is seenas it inunseemly ways. rocking Thisbrings meto mysecond crisis but major point.Objective maybeanecessary, a sufficient, never condition formajor social transformations. Thelatter depend the rise of some force of into the vacuum of power upon political capable stepping and creative withit. Thenature ofthatpolitical force does truly doing something indeed make a difference ownpolarities, thetransition to barbarism in, to useMarx's orsocialism. Ifthepresently are to haveavoiceinthat,theymust disempowered first "the material andsymbolic means of rejecting thedefinition of thereal possess
thatis imposed on them. 49 As Willisshows,however,the disempowered evolve

their ownmeans of symbolic thatinmany representation respects represent their social world more than thatwhich educators would accurately impose upon andoppositional them.5? withtheir distinctive subcultures, "Drop-out" inner-city areaswidespread andvibrant astheyhave everbeen.Butthatlanguage, languages,
if onlybecause it is the language of thosetrapped in space,is adaptive rather than transformative with respect to global thatpreclude forthe processes empowerment massofthepopulation.

271

Critical hasa role.Butonlyif it, too,is self-critical. here Tobegin with,all theory critical asthepractice ofa group of "organic intellectuals" theory emerges (touse itsqualities and Gramsci's therefore in theclass andterritory phrase) depend upon
48 Bourdieu, Outline, p. I68.

49Ibid., p. I69.
50

to Labor Willis, Learning (Famborough:SaxonHouse, I977).

David Harvey

whichthepractitioners havetheir and are not being.Academics professionals Ourcritical hascertain therefore thatdifferentiate it from exempt. theory qualities thecritical inworking-class cultural and True theory expressed political practices. for the must bewonby struggle from below empowerment presently disempowered and notgiven outof largesse from above. Themodes of class and under-class to flexible accumulation therefore must betaken Theproblem, opposition seriously. onallsides, is to find thatdefine alanguage ofclass and territorial alliances practices from whichmore to flexible accumulation canarise. oppositional global strategies Eventhatkind of critical cannot contain theanswers. Butit canatleast theory pose in sodoing and thequestions reveal ofthematerial withwhich realities something hasto cope.Thatis, to besure, a small contribution. Butit isoutof anytransition of suchsmall theassemblage contributions thatmeaningful transformations must be A critical ofthecurrent offlexible ofthe accumulation, appraisal wrought. regime cultural ofpost-modemity, andofthere-shaping ofphysical andsocial practices withreflection ontheideologies urbanization, space through together through which we understand such as one but small processes, appears necessary preparatory towards the reconstitution of a movement of to a sick step opposition plainly global and troubled capitalist hegemony.

272