ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Globalisation as a Messy Whole

Spectacular Cities: Religion, Landscape and the Dialectics of Globalisation by Ipsita Chatterjee; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp xvi +194, 795.

The absolutist yet multifaceted Baroque city that Lewis Mumford charts in The City in History suggests that there need be two vantage points from which to view the urban landscape. One, the view from above, where the city appears as neat and ordered geometries set upon a terrain, and the other, the view from within where the disorderly intersections of locality and being-ness emerge. Together these views, Mumford argued, gave us the city in its entirety, as a Baroque concept— the mathematical and methodical, and the sensuous and rebellious—held in a tension, the ultimate dialectic (Mumford 1961: 351).

Following in Mumford’s footsteps Spectacular Cities gives us an impressive and important conceit: that the complex and interrelated forces of globalisation can best be understood through such a dialectical framework when it is focused upon a contemporary urban landscape. The author, Ipsita Chatterjee, states that she is “frustrated” (p 2) with current theories of globalisation that simplify the “chaotic” “mess” that is globalisation (p xi). Chatterjee seeks to allow this productive chaos to endure and inform her argument, and identifies the dialectical approach as allowing for viewing the phenomenon of globalisation—“in its entirety” (p 4)—through interrelations that are, as she terms it in a bio-philosophical bent of phrase, “the cell pigment that permeate(s) all aspects of reality” (p 4).

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Updated On : 24th May, 2017

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