Living Ruins, Value Conflicts  book cover
1st Edition

Living Ruins, Value Conflicts

ISBN 9781138255012
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
378 Pages

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Book Description

Using monuments and ruins by way of illustration, this fascinating book examines the symbolic, ideological, geographical and aesthetic importance of Greek classical iconography for the Western world. It examines how classical Greek monuments are simultaneously perceived as sublime national symbols and as a mythological and archetypal reference against which Western modernism is measured. The book investigates the dialogue this double identity leads to, as well as frequent clashes between ancient (but also later) monuments and their modern urban or regional environment. Living Ruins, Value Conflicts examines the complex historical process of monument restoration and enhancement, and analyses the nexus of changing perceptions, aesthetic visions and formal principles over the past two centuries. The book shows the ways in which archaeology and monumentality affect modern life, the modern aesthetic, our notions of nationhood, of place, of self - and the limits to and possibilities for national development imposed by the need to ensure ruins are kept 'alive'.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Part 1: Ancient Greece for modern Greece and the Western world; The social construction of monumentality: ancient monuments and the monumental in space; The aesthetics of protection of ancient architectural heritage; Landscaping archaeological spaces. Part 2: The organization of ancient heritage protection in Greece; The Central Archaeological Council; The Acropolis of Athens and its immediate environment: the defence of a myth by modern Greek society; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.

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Dr Argyro Loukaki is Associate Professor in the Department of Hellenic Culture, Open University, Greece and an architect in the Archaeological Service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Greece.


'The temples of the Athenian acropolis, fundamental to the ideology of both the modern Greek nation and western culture as a whole, stand at a crossing point of ideas on the conservation and restoration of historic monuments. This wide-ranging, critical, and up-to-date account of changing ideals and practices focuses on a period of major work on the monuments and their surroundings.' J.J. Coulton, formerly University of Oxford, UK 'To whom does the Acropolis belong? In this passionately argued and thoroughly researched work on the conflicting claims to determine the fate of one of the world's most famous monumental sites, Loukaki goes to the heart of a long and continuing history of global controversies over the preservation and conservation of ancient monuments. Drawing on aesthetic theory, landscape design and political economy, we see here how conflicting ideologies and symbolic representations, as well as diverse bureaucracies, state interventions and international institutions, work in the context of powerful forces of tourist-based economic development to determine the fate of a particular place. A brilliantly conceived and executed work that will appeal to planners, sociologists, geographers, art and cultural historians as well as classical scholars.' David Harvey, CUNY Graduate Center, USA '...Living Ruins, Value Conflicts is a well written and interesting book that makes a valuable contribution to the cultural geography literature and would appeal to any scholar interested in arguments of aesthetics, planning and culture.' Urban Geography Research Group 'Loukaki's book is excellent. The book is written in a highly intelligent way and Loukaki presents us with both exceptional theoretical and empirical insights.' European Spatial Research and Policy '...a very thoughtful exploration of the complex interplay of issues surrounding the preservation, restoration, and reconstruction (anastylosis) and the various values associated with these processes in