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The City's Continuous Cycle of Consumption: Towards a New Definition of the Power Over Time?

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Abstract:

In postmodern societies, the power over time is exercised not only through norms and laws—the traditional devices of a modern state—but also through the production of systems of desire and need. In some cases, the role of pleasure as an instrument of command is far stronger than that of pain and coercion. Consumption is a very important area in which this kind of power over time is active. The reduction in the length of the production cycle in driving sectors of capitalist economies induces the acceleration of exchange and consumption. Thus, striking transformations in the ways goods are circulated occur, resulting in increasingly rapid movements of consumers. The city is a concrete manifestation of the centrality of consumption in contemporary society, a great container and distributor of commodities, services and images that is increasingly becoming a focal point for a range of “nonplaces” functional to mass consumption.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8330.00204

Affiliations: Department of Social Studies, University of Florence, Florence, Italy; gabriella.paolucci@unifi.it

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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