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quote: 'totalizing visions, attractive though they may be, can never capture all the meanings and significations of the urban when the landscape is critically read and envisioned as a fulsome geographical text. there are too many auteurs to identify, the literalite (materiality?) of the manufactured environment is too multilayered to be allowed to speak for itself, and the countervailing metaphors and metonyms frequently clash, like discordant symbols drowning out the underlying themes. more seriously, we still know too little about the descriptive grammar and syntax of human geographies, the phonemes and epistemes of spatial interpretation... The task of comprehensive, holistic regional description may therefor be impossible, as may be the construction of a compleat historical-geographical materialism.'

edward soja, Postmodern Geographies. (the italics are his.)

while sections of soja's book proved interesting, it was steeped in marxism and materialism, which is, to be completely honest, not where i want to go. i wish to focus upon the people, and while knowing certain aspects about the economics of an area will definitely help, i can't see myself stomaching more than a few of these marxist (or, as soja would have you believe) post marxist geography texts.

but there were interesting factors.

however, what i think i took mostly from this, was that i do want to focus on the people of sydney. where in the past i have said that i am writing a novel on sydney, i think i will now have to focus it and say: the people living in sydney.

but i can't say i won't look into a few more of these texts. but if they all proceed to prove as uninteresting as the majority of soja's to me, then i think i will begin looking elsewhere.

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Apr. 2nd, 2002 09:38 pm (UTC)
After reading these quotes from Soja twice i still only half understand them. I've been rattling my brain around trying to get some sense out of what you've been posting but it just seems like all so much post modern literary masturbation.
I'll admit that my ignorance of the subject matter means that it takes me some thought to comprehend the jargon he's using but even having gained some, however limited, comprehension of the ideas he is trying to communicate I have finally realise that I don't get the point.
Please explain what Soja's point is. What is he enquiring into, what does he hope to acheive, what is the hypothesis he is investigating in this book?
Jase
benpeek
Apr. 2nd, 2002 10:03 pm (UTC)
a lot of it is postmodern masturbation.

basically, what soja (and lefebvre, though i find him much easier to stomach) are talking about is the city. they are talking about the urban foundations which a social climate builds itself out of: economics, social issues, the state, ect.

sadly, in soja's case, i've come to the conclusion that he is simply unreadable for long portions of the day. it took me three weeks to read that book, because i just didn't want too. and because he spent over half the book talking about marxism and how current geography theory was removed from that.

about the only thing the book was interesting in was for two things: the idea of talking about a city when you have to talk about it in a linear, prose fashion. one word after the other. like this. when in fact our experience of any city is not so linear, and is taken in all at once, and in this case if often fragmented.

and it was useful as a history to the subject.

(and basically, what soja is trying to do is provide a neat entry level book for everyone interest in geographical study (a post modern one, applicable to current cities). it's basically a history i guess.

but it's also a large part wank.

a lot of things i have been reading are a large part wank.)
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