Suburbia and the Arts

Mette Mechlenborg
Institute of Literature, Media and Cultural Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=042

Ingår i: Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:42, s. 393-403

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Identical lawns; gossiping housewives and watching sit-coms: traditionally the suburb has been associated with mass culture; consumerism and the middle class; making it subject to an emphatically critical discourse in high culture – to the extent it has been accorded any attention at all. This perception may explain the absence of the fine arts in cultural studies’ research on suburbia. But it also reveals profound dichotomies in the academic disciplines dealing with suburbia. As the alternative to the city; suburbia engenders research on oppositions like the fine arts vs. popular culture; masculinity vs. feminine culture; immaterial values vs. materialism; and; finally; experiences of modernity vs. more traditional ways of living. My project is theoretically placed in the field between housing research; cultural studies and aesthetic disciplines and is methodologically embedded in Mieke Bal’s theory of ‘travelling concepts’ developed for interdisciplinary studies (2002). What I am trying to do is to (re)establish a dialogue between more traditional representations of suburbia and contemporary aesthetic investigations into life in the suburb. It is my hope that this dialogue will challenge the conventional understanding of suburbia in cultural studies as well as question the historical and contemporary canonisations of suburbia as a concept.


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