The Insubstantial Pageant: Producing an Untoward Land1

Nigel Thrift

in New Spirits of Capitalism?

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199595341
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191750755 | DOI:
The Insubstantial Pageant: Producing an Untoward Land1

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This paper will consider how we might think about the capitalist economy that now seems to be emerging, one based on spontaneous synthesis. Following an extended introduction, the first part of the paper examines the main changes that have been taking place in the economy grouped around the notion and value of innovation. I will argue that these changes might be thought of as adding up to a second Industrial Revolution. Then, in the second part of the paper, I will consider how these changes are producing a different kind of production - one which is both industrial and cultural at once - which is constructing naturalism. The industrial revolution is often characterized as the first break in human history with the natural economy. But what if the natural economy was now being recovered - but by other means - as a redefinition of what counts as land? In the final part of the paper, I will then turn to modern cities and the imprint that these changes are making upon them as this new land is founded and endowed and rented out to grow new kinds of crop upon.

Keywords: capitalism; cultural economy; commodity; expressive infrastructure; spatio-temporal practices; proto-environment

Chapter.  17675 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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