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Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (Cultural Studies) Paperback – May 17, 1995

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Shopping malls, motorways, airport lounges—we are all familiar with these curious spaces which are both everywhere and nowhere. But only now do we have coherent analysis of their far-reaching effects on public and private experience. Marc Auge has become their anthropologist, and has written a timely and original book.”—Patrick Wright, author of The Village That Died for England

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cultural Studies
  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (May 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859840515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859840511
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,467,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Marc Augé's book "non-places" explores the interstitial places between the 'significant and meaningful' spaces that he calls 'place'. He starts with a prologue about a man traveling from Paris by airplane. The man draws money, waits on the highway, enters the airport, then the airplane itself. All the while his reality is suffused with the advertising, the bright lights, digital displays, glass and polished walkways of places that are not quite places in Augé's sense, but which acquire their identity from their being on the way to other places, near or far. These 'non-places' are the declared interest of Augé.
But in the first chapter he conducts a very general study of 'the contemporary world' with the goal to find possible objects for anthropological investigation, which in the end turn out to be these 'non-places'. They seem to be the answer to the question posed by Augé, "whether there are any aspects of contemporary social life that seem to be accessible to anthropological investigation" (p. 16).
Augé observes three kinds of accelerated transformations that are responsible for what he eventually calls 'supermodernity'. Speaking about time he states an "acceleration of history" (p. 26) which leads to an overabundance of events. Secondly Augé finds a surplus in the realm of space: "the excess of space is correlative with the shrinking of the planet" (p. 31) which leads to a spatial overabundance. His third 'figure of excess', as he calls them, is "the figure of the ego, the individual" (p. 36).
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Format: Paperback
Non-Place is a major theoretical contribution to the visualization of space. Auge's lucid and groundbreaking book is necessary reading for anyone interested in architecture, ethnography or urban planning. His writing is beautiful to read, and offers provocative theoretical tools for interpreting urban modernity.
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Please note that I normally do not write negative reviews. I will say that this book tackled the concept of "non-places" with such brevity in its final chapter as to make one wonder what this book was really about. The first two-thirds of the book were not a lead up to the concept of "non-places," but instead explorations of something . . . else. The concept of "supermodernity," which should have been coupled tightly with the concept of "non-places," was also not examined in detail. This work feels like a thesis paper--written for a very specific audience, interacting largely with other literature, and lacking a firm focus. I am very disappointed as the premise of the book sounds really excellent but it doesn't deliver on its premise. It seems to skirt the territory while not sticking a pin in it.
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Best modernist anthropology I've read in many years. Reads like an esoteric thriller. The thrills are the deep insights into things you knew you were experiencing but were not ready to name. Max Auge names all the ghostly experiences we have in the modern uber space. Looking forward to more from him.
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