Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm (eds.) Urban Walls: Political and Cultural Meanings of Vertical Structures and Surfaces – Routledge, 2018 (usual pricing issues)
In recent years, an increasing number of separation walls have been built around the world. Walls built in urban areas are particularly striking in that they have exacted a heavy toll in terms of human suffering. As territorialising devices, walls can be protective, but the protection they grant is never straightforward. This collection invites inquiry into the complexities of the social life of walls, observing urban spaces as veritable laboratories of wall-making – places where their consequences become most visible. A study of the relationship between walls and politics, the cultural meaning of walls and their visibility, whether as barriers or as legible – sometimes spectacular – surfaces, and their importance for social processes, Urban Walls shows how walls extend into media spaces, thus drawing a multidimensional geography of separation, connection, control and resistance. As such, the collection will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology, geography, architecture and politics with interests in urban studies and social theory.
“Walls and cities have long been partners, but their relationship has been understudied. This creative and important collection takes the social and political work of the urban wall seriously. Rather than a self-evident object, the wall becomes lively, talkative, mobile and ambivalent, dividing yet also connecting. A valuable and original contribution.”
Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University, Canada
“It is a remarkable feat for an edited volume to read as cohesively and with such strong focus as Urban Walls. The walls included here (violent walls, but also vulnerable ones; aquatic, immunising, yet totally exposed and medialised walls; affective and playful, immaterial and palimpsestic walls) are marked by the wounds of history, geography and politics that surround them but also that are generated by them. These walls feel as material and fleshy as if we were placing our hand on their surface.”
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, , University of Westminster, UK
“An instructive and compelling examination of walls in their multiple present forms. The emphasis on the material and vertical puts this at the heart of contemporary debates. Historically situated, richly illustrated, and with a view to wider themes as much as empirical detail, this is an important contribution to politics, geography and urban studies.”
Stuart Elden, University of Warwick, UK