Significant changes are occurring in the spaces and rhythms of contemporary cities and in the social functioning of media. This erudite, forceful book argues that the redefinition of urban space by mobile, instantaneous and pervasive media is producing a distinctive mode of social experience. Media are no longer separate from the city. Instead the proliferation of spatialized media platforms has produced a media-architecture complex – the media city. Offering critical and historical analysis at the deepest levels, The Media City links the formation of the modern city to the development of modern image technologies and outlines a new genealogy for assessing contemporary developments such as digital networks and digital architecture, web cams and public screens, surveillance society and reality television.
Wide-ranging and thoughtfully illustrated, it intersects disciplines and connects phenomena which are too often left isolated from each other to propose a new way of understanding public and private space and social life in contemporary cities. It will find a broad readership in media and communications, cultural studies, social theory, urban sociology, architecture and art history.
‘If only more new media commentators had this level of historical-critical reference, engaging, good stories, and a degree of wonder at what media and windows bring to the city, to life…’
– John Hutnyk, Academic Director, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London.
‘Just when you thought the last word had been said about cities and media, along comes Scott McQuire to breathe new life into the debate. When revisiting existing pathways, his always ingenious eyes produce startling and original insights. When striking out into new territory, he opens up before us inspiring new vistas. I love this book’
– James Donald, Professor of Film Studies, University of New South Wales
‘A book that contains sometimes audacious segues, that crams into a single chapter more insights and illustrations than seems feasible, yet which ties all threads together through a consistent, theoretically rich analysis of the interplay of media and city… Writing with effusiveness uncharacteristic of back-cover blurbs on academic tomes, James Donald says “I love this book”. But I will end by echoing his praise, and make a promise to readers: you will love The Media City, too’
– European Journal of Communication
‘Compared to the urban studies literature of say David Harvey or Ed Soja, McQuire writes with a much greater architectural sensibility. His argument is that we move from a rather centred space of the classical renaissance city to a ‘relational space’ where past and future are juxtaposed not in simple Newtonian chronology but in complex relation to present. Such a transformed urbanism and media (compared with say Renaissance and Beaux Arts perspective) moves from what might be seen as the panoptic to a serial succession of photographic shots, of film frames, of movements along vistas at speed.
At stake is a city that is continually redefined by the media and understood along the lines of McQuire’s quite novel media theory. At stake is a vision of media, which are too ubiquitous in the multiplication of screens, surveillance and other devices/interfaces in private and public space to primarily function any more as representations. Media in this (McQuire’s) context are no longer primarily a set of representations, but constitute the very substance and fabric of urban public and private space’
– Scott Lash, Goldsmiths, University of London
‘refreshingly clear, getting to grips with some of the key concepts of urban sociology in a way that moves beyond the wistful evocation and splatter of undigested terms that characterises so much academic writing on culture and cities a clear historical and theoretically informed look at the city over the last 200 years give us one of the most cogent accounts we have had for some time’
– Media, Culture & Society
The Uncanny Home
PART ONE: THRESHOLDS OF THE MEDIA CITY
The Territory of Images
The City in Fragments
PART TWO: PUBLIC SPACE
Streets, Lights and screens
Performing Public Space
PART THREE: PRIVATE SPACE: FROM GLASS ARCHITECTURE TO BIG BROTHER
The Glass House
The Digital Home
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Related Journal Articles:
Media Capital: Towards the Study of Spatial Flows
International Journal of Cultural Studies, Jun 2003; vol. 6: pp. 202 – 228.
American Cultural Primacy in a New Media Order: A European Perspective
Jean K. Chalaby
International Communication Gazette, Feb 2006; vol. 68: pp. 33 – 51.
Cultural-economy and Cities
Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift
Progress in Human Geography, Apr 2007; vol. 31: pp. 143 – 161.
The Cultural Economy of Cities: A Comparative Study of the Audiovisual Sector in Hamburg and Lisbon
Eduardo Brito Henriques and Joachim Thiel
European Urban and Regional Studies, Jul 2000; vol. 7: pp. 253 – 268.
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The SAGE Companion to the City
Tim Hall, Phil Hubbard, John Rennie Short
Cities in a World Economy
Key Concepts in Urban Studies
Mark Gottdiener, Leslie Budd
Key Concepts in Urban Geography
Alan Latham, Derek McCormack, Kim McNamara, Donald McNeill
The Cultural Economy of Cities
Allen J Scott
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Other Books by the Author
Visions of Modernity: Representation, Memory, Time and Space in the Age of the Camera Sage Publications Ltd, 1998.
The Look of Love (with photographs by Peter Lyssiotis), limited edition artists book, Masterthief, Melbourne, 1998.
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Scott McQuire is Associate Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne. He has a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and has lectured in disciplines including politics, sociology, cinema studies, art and architecture, and media and communication. His research explores the social effects of media technologies, with particular attention to their impact on the social relations of space and time, and the formation of identity. Full profile and list of publications