Reification and Representation: Architecture in the Politico-Media-Complex, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Reification and Representation

Architecture in the Politico-Media-Complex, 1st Edition

By Graham Cairns


216 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2020-05-01
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The relationship between politics and the public relations industry is controversial and, at times, polemic. However, one component of this relationship that has yet to be investigated is the role of architecture. Arguing for a fundamental reconfiguration of our understanding of ‘political architecture’, this book suggests it is not only a question of constructed buildings, but equally a case of mediated imagery.  

Considered through examples of architecture as a backdrop for photo shoots by politicians in the democracies of the United States and the United Kingdom, this book suggests these images give us both a better understanding of recent developments in the Western political economy and the architectural and urban developments of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.

Using case studies of Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, this book represents a ground-breaking triangular analysis that will be essential reading for scholars in architecture, politics, media and communication studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction Section 1: The United States 1. From Lincoln to Obama –The Recent History of Architecture as Political Imagery in the United States. Barack Obama 2008. 2. Visualizing sub-prime: the premeditation and financial collapse of the housing market. George W. Bush 2004. 3. Trump Tower: The Neoliberal Overflow of Political Architecture. Donald Trump 2016 Section 2: The United Kingdom 4. Parliament, Sovereignty and British Political Identity. David Cameron. 2010 5. Right to Buy - The Architectural Imagery of Home. Margaret Thatcher. 1979 6. New Labour and the Age of Socio-Urban Economics Tony Blair. 1997 Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Graham Cairns is the author and editor of multiple books and articles on architecture as both a form of visual culture and a socio-political construct. He has held positions at universities in Spain, the UK, Mexico, the Gambia, South Africa and the US. He has worked in architectural studios in London and Hong Kong and founded the performing arts organisation, Hybrid Artworks in the 1990s. He is currently Chair of Architecture at Miami University, Ohio, Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and Director of the academic research organisation AMPS and its scholarly journal Architecture_MPS.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / General
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Landmarks & Monuments
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / State & Provincial
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / National