You are here

Economies of Signs and Space
Share

Economies of Signs and Space



January 1994 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Scott Lash and John Urry's book is an ambitious and provocative account of the transformations that are convulsing 'economies' and 'societies' at the end of the 20th century. . . . Lash and Urry offer a lucid critique of conceptions of economies and societies as bounded systems and also demonstrate the intricate imbrications of politico-economic and sociocultural processes. . . . This is a feast of a book: rich in ideas, bursting with theoretical insights and empirical details, and outlining an immensely challenging political intellectual agenda for the end of the century and beyond." --Contemporary Sociology "This book is a tour de force. The portrait it draws of an increasingly reflexive world of flows is a major contribution to our understanding of society and space." --Nigel Thrift, University of Bristol "The content of this book is creative, challenging, and provocative. Its scope, and therefore relevance, is broad. Of critical value is the recognition that not all societies are organized according to a neo-liberal model, as well as the centrality given to subjective practices and the value of image in determining identity,m and helping to shape individual life-chances. In addition, the questioning of conventional concepts such as society suggests that the message of the book will be considered seriously. There is successful recourse throughout the text to particular studies or examples that illustrate the arguments. Generally, this a well-written and well-organized book. --Michael Biddulph, Department of Civic Design, Univ. of Liverpool "[This volume] deserves to be widely read, disseminated, and debated." --Times Higher Education Supplement "This is a book rich in material for reflecting on contemporary life. It deals with changes in the economy, in urban life, and in work and leisure (the impact of global toursim gets particularly good treatment). The differences between industrial societies - the handling of Germany is especially interesting - are sensitively noted, and used to explain important variations in class structure, ethnic and gender relations. There are also some stimulating observations on our new experience of time and space as a result.... Students of society will be quarrying this book for its important insights for many years to come." --Krishan Kumar in Political Studies "The book is important. It has significant implications for several fields, in particular the analysis of organizations: henceforth, say Lash and Urry, these should be analysed in terms of the flow of various circuits (I would add 'of power') through time, space and meaning. However, it is an important publications; there is a great deal here for fertile imaginzation to work through. If I am not very mistaken this text will set some significant agendas." --Stewart Clegg in Asian Pacific

 
Introduction
After Organized Capitalism  
 
PART ONE: ECONOMIES OF OBJECTS AND SUBJECTS
 
Mobile Objects
 
Reflexive Subjects
 
PART TWO: ECONOMIES OF SIGNS AND THE OTHER
 
Reflexive Accumulation
Information Structures and Production Systems  
 
Accumulating Signs
The Cultural Industries  
 
Ungovernable Spaces
The Underclass and Impacted Ghettoes  
 
Mobile Subjects
Migration in Comparative Perspective  
 
PART THREE: ECONOMIES OF SPACE AND TIME
 
Post-Industrial Spaces
 
Time and Memory
 
PART FOUR: GLOBALIZATION AND MODERNITY
 
Mobility, Modernity and Place
 
Globalization and Localization
 
Conclusion

`An indispensable, rich, shrewd, and stimulating characterization of the cultural risks and dilemmas generated by globalization.... [the book supplies] bench marks for the present debate on the sociology of culture.... [the book] is an ambitious study that pursues issues of reflexivity in relation to the commodification of signs and symbols that emerge from service industries. The movement from manufacture to service industries, their globalization, and the information and knowledge these generate suggest that reflexivity is a crucial key to understanding class relationships. Debts are to Giddens and Bourdieu, but these form part of a wider enterprise that brings together a vast and unfamiliar literature drawn from the USA, Germany, Japan and England. Material on the food industry, advertising, banking, tourism, the heritage industry, films and publishing, to name a few, is mixed with a theoretical sophistication that provides a unique and indispensable account of the culture industry in all its present permutations. Themes of space, time, memory and place are also embraced in this unparalleled study, a fundamental source book, that should change the contours of debate on culture for some time to come. Written against a dystopia of postmodernism, the study underwrites the importance of culture and reflexivity. It conveys a sense of critical engagement with the "real" world as lived, which is unusual in sociology. One has to look to Bourdieu for a similar sense of compression and engagement in accounts of culture.... intriguing... underlines the significance of Lancaster in the sociological analyses of culture' - British Journal of Sociology

`Reflexivity isn't what it used to be. On the evidence of this book, it's getting better.... This book is important. It has significant implication for several fields, in particular the analysis of organizations: henceforth, say Lash and Urry, these should be analysed in terms of the flow of various circuits through time, space and meaning.... it is an important publication; there is a great deal here for fertile imagination to work through. If I am not very mistaken this text will set some significant agendas' - Asia Pacific Business Review

`A benchmark work of considerable significance.... The evidence presented is often entertaining' - Antipode

`Lash and Urry follow up their influential study The End of Organized Capitalism with an equally ambitious and wide-ranging account of our times.... one of the attractive things about this study is the way in which several influential theories of contemporary Western societies are blended into a sophisticated analysis of late capitalism.... This is a book rich in material for reflecting on contemporary life. It deals with changes in the economy, in urban life, and in work and leisure... There are also some stimulating observations on our new experience of time and space as a result of the `time-space compression' brought about by the revolution in information and communications. Students of society will be quarrying this book for its important insights for many years to come' - Political Studies

`An ambitious and provocative account of the transformations that are convulsing `economies' and `societies' at the end of the twentieth century. The scare quotes are doubly necessary, because in mapping the fin-de-si[gr]ecke constellation of capitalism and postmodernity as a `world of flows', Lash and Urry offer a lucid critique of conceptions of economies and societies as bounded systems and also demonstrate the intricate imbrications of politicoeconomic and socio-cultural processes.... This is a feast of a book: rich in ideas, bursting with theoretical insights and empirical details, and outlining an immensely challenging political and intellectual agenda for the end of the century and beyond' - Contemporary Sociology

`The content of this book is creative, challenging and provocative. Its scope, and therefore relevance, is broad. Of critical value is the recognition that not all societies are organized according to a neo-liberal model, as well as the centrality given to subjective practices and the value of image in determining identity, and helping to shape individual life-chances. In addition, the questioning of conventional concepts such as society suggests that the message of the book will be considered seriously... this is a well-written and well-organised book... the influence of the authors' conceptualisation of disorganised capitalism was great: I would suggest that the argument in this book will be equally influential' - Urban Studies

`Covers a large territory, but a couple of readings reassure one that the various topics discussed are not as diverse or as disconnected as at first appears. The ground covered is considerable, and no review could be a substitute for reading the book, one gets the feeling that Lash and Urry's book may come to be regarded as a milestone in the development of post-postmodernism.... The introductions and conclusions to each chapter are carefully written and carefully written and clearly directed to establishing a connective chain of reasoning to demonstrate the relevance of the concept' - Work, Employment and Society

`This book is a tour de force. The portrait it draws of an increasingly reflexive world of flows is a major contribution to our understanding of society and space' - Nigel Thrift, University of Bristol

`Deserves to be widely read, disseminated and debated' - Times Higher Education Supplement

Preview this book

For instructors

To inquire about the availability of this title for review (print and/or digital), please contact your local sales representative or call (800) 818-7243.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9780803984721
$66.00

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.