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John Howe Translator. An ever-increasing proportion of our lives is spent in supermarkets, airports and hotels, on motorways or in front of TVs, computer and cash machines. In this fascinating and lucid essay he seeks to establish and intellectual armature for an anthropology of supermodernity. Starting with an attempt to disentangle anthropology from history, Auge goes on to map the distinction between place , encrusted with historical monuments and creative social life, and non-place , to which individuals are connected in a uniform manner and where no organic social life is possible.

Unlike Baudelairean modernity, where old and new are interwoven, supermodernity is self-contained: from the motorway or aircraft, local or exotic particularities are presented two-dimensionally as a sort of theme-park spectacle. Auge does not suggest that supermodernity is all-encompassing: place still exist outside non-place and tend to reconstitute themselves inside it. But he argues powerfully that we are in transit through non-place for more and more of our time, as if between immense parentheses, and concludes that this new form of solitude should become the subject of an anthropology of its own.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 17th by Verso first published April More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Non-Places , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.

Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 27, Andrew added it Shelves: theeeeeeory. These theorists who seem to prioritize elegant writing over systematic knowledge are sometimes brilliant Benjamin, Barthes and sometimes blithering Baudrillard, Certeau.

First of all, his definition of "non-places" strikes me as pretty suspect an deeply rooted in some of the more discreditable brands of mid-century structuralist thought. However, a number of ideas he expresses are provocative, even fascinating. I just find it somewhat bothersome that he-- as an anthropological and geographic investigator-- chooses to write his arguments through spiderwebs of Jesuitical axioms and the structure of myth rather than groundwork and legwork.

As a connoisseur of spatial thought, I would compare this to Bachelard's Poetics of Space; both are totally fascinating, and almost completely inapplicable, but thought-provoking reads. Jan 06, Erdem Tasdelen rated it liked it Shelves: masr A marvellous discussion of supermodernity, but I'm a little skeptical of the notion of non-spaces. It seems to me that all places are potentially non-places, and all spaces that are framed as non-places in this book are potentially anthropological places too.

My friend gave the most amazing example when we were discussing this: an airport is not a non-place for a person who works at the airport and goes there every day.

I would have expected two or three more chapters in which he'd actually do something with these notions; that would have made this book a much better read. View 2 comments. The premise of the book is interesting: non-places lack the significance to be really considered as spaces; they are spaces that are not, anthropologically, places.

However, the book falls short. Auge concentrates on defining what an anthropological space is, although people with even a fairly basic knowledge of anthropology will know this. At the same time he often is vague on the concept of non-places, as a result of which I have so much doubts about the concept that I do not see it as a usefu The premise of the book is interesting: non-places lack the significance to be really considered as spaces; they are spaces that are not, anthropologically, places.

At the same time he often is vague on the concept of non-places, as a result of which I have so much doubts about the concept that I do not see it as a useful tool. When he writes of airports as non-places, I am reminded of the narrator's discussion of airports in Palahniuk's Fight Club; but then I realize that people work there, and for them it is an anthropological space. Second of all, sticking to the airport, we can easily see it as a anthropological place despite its super-modern qualities.

The way airports are divided into different places, the way we interact with security, the VIP lounges and waiting rooms, etc. Taking transit into account, when most of us take a bus, subway or fly somewhere, it is true - we do so in virtual isolation. But think of the field trip, or when a group of people travel together, e. Similarly the hotel room - it seems a non-place at first, but if we shift our attention to a concrete room, we may find history, e.

The same could be said about a specific supermarket or shopping center, particularly when it is not used as a place to engage in consumer activity, but a social space. Think off mall rats, who are just there, the young people who redefine these spaces by using them as places to go out for a date. Furthermore, the assumption that one is anonymous in such non-spaces, an individual without links to the community seems either myopic or deemphasizing the way a space is used by those visiting it.

Even more problematically, this raises questions of the existence of non-places prior to super-modernity.

I also have an issue with his view that entering non-places takes away our identity in the social sense , and we only are identified when entering or exiting a non-place. This argument completely falls apart if you use cash rather than a check or credit card an issue Auge adroitly avoids, which is problematic in light of the view that we are always observed and never anonymous in a 'panopticonic' world.

When one visits a supermarket, or anything else that is deemed a non-place, and meets a colleague, friend, etc. We can say that Auge mentions that the traveler he discusses and, by extension shopper, or anyone else in a non-place is alone. However, this is problematic: the same rule seems to apply to many pre-super-modern spaces.

This beckons at the old conundrum of the tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it: if I visit a supermarket, and no one is there to identify me, have I visited the supermarket? Barring the question of self-consciousness I identified myself in the supermarket , which Auge does by separating an individual from a society, this is not, again, limited only to super-modernity, but to a broader question of how society functions also think of taboo places that existed, had an anthropological role as myths, but were not ventured into.

Auge is not reckless in his argument, and he mentions mentions, whereas it should be emphasized that the status of a non-place is fluid, preparing for such contingencies, but he never seems to give them any thought, as a result of which he creates the impression of being dismissive of them.

Furthermore, he draws very heavily on the work of Michel de Certeau, which he simply places in the context of what he calls 'the three excesses of super-modernity', which undermines the originality of his discussion. Auge tries to place the notion of non-places in the area of politics. This is risky, and I consider it ill-advised.

First of all, he sees the status of a non-place as fluid. If it is for this quality that he believes such places are e. But if we take his entire argument into account, it seems that they are actually protesting in his context, as it seems that recent history invalidated parts of this hypothesis against the way a place is used. Tentatively I think that the book suffers from comparisons to other anthropological texts, while ignoring western historicity and being vague about a number of differences.

I think that it is possible to find examples of non-places in times preceding super-modernity. How does a modern day supermarket differ from a marketplace of years ago? Is a modern mom and pop store a non-place? How does a a modern day passenger differ from a traveler, and why is a 'traditional' train a place, whereas the TGV is not? By doing so in a seemingly arbitrary manner, he seems to be undermining his own argument.

The book left me nonplussed, but the fact that I wrote such a long and likely rambling review shows that it has the potential to challenge certain assumptions, and definitely is thought provoking, despite of its shortcomings. Jan 23, Frieantpieaggio rated it liked it. Motorway travel is thus doubly remarkable: it avoids, for functional reasons, all the principal places to which it takes us; and makes comments on them.

A little gem of a meditation on the distinction between "anthropological places" formed by social bonds and collective history, and "non-places" of atomized, individual travel and consumption. This is the non-silly vein of French theory, grounded, urbane, a delight to read, crammed with provocative concepts presented in a graceful style. Quite wonderful. Feb 03, Elliot rated it it was amazing.

I thought this was so fun!!! Mar 01, Romina rated it it was amazing. His book is useful because it offers a theoretical framework for understanding why we think of some places the way we do, in particular there is a description of places that can put us in contact with a social structure, because there is a very close, consubstantial link between space and social organization.

At the same time, he noticed the proliferation, in the contemporary world, of spaces in which no lasting social relations are established transit spaces, spaces people pass through , he suggested calling those spaces non-places to suggest that in those contexts there were a total absence of symbolic ties, and evident social deficits.

Although the two sets of relations overlap to a large extent, and in any case officially individuals travel, make purchases, relax , they are still not confused with one another; for non-places mediate a whole mass of relations, with the self and with others, which are only indirectly connected with their purposes.

As anthropological places create the organically, so non-places create solitary contractuality. A world where people are born in the clinic and die in hospital, where transit points and temporary abodes are proliferating under luxurious or inhuman conditions hotels chains and squats […]'' Feb 16, Rebecca rated it really liked it. Good quote: -"Everything proceeds as if space had been trapped by time, as if there were no history other than the last 48 hours of news, as if each individual history were drawing its motive, its words and images, from the inexhaustible stock of an unending history in the present" 84 and Ethnology of solitude: "The community of human destinies is experienced in the anonymity of non-place and in solitude.

An assigned reading for one of my classes, it reflects on the consequences homogenization can have when applied to the design process of architecture.

It is an interesting introduction to the non-places theme, and not only for anthropologists mostly, though but also for laymen, just like me, who are into different themes in literature.


Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

Non-places : Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. An ever-increasing proportion of our lives is spent in supermarkets, airports and hotels, on motorways or in front of TVs, computer and cash machines. This invasion of the world by what Marc Auge calls non-space results in a profound alteration of awareness- something we perceive, but only in a partial and incoherent manner. Auge uses the concept of supermodernity to describe the logic of these late-capitalist phenomena a logic of excessive information and excessive space.








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