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Spectacular CitiesReligion, Landscape, and the Dialectics of Globalization$
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Ipsita Chatterjee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199465132

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199465132.001.0001

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Culture and the Dialectic Approach

Culture and the Dialectic Approach

(p.17) 2 Culture and the Dialectic Approach
Spectacular Cities

Ipsita Chatterjee

Oxford University Press

This chapter searches for an approach for understanding and explaining culture. The chapter begins with a critical discussion of the idealistic, as opposed to the materialistic, approach to culture and argues that while the former does not go far enough in explicating why culture is there and how it came about, the latter often degenerates into economic determinism of a base–superstructure model where the economic base always produces the cultural superstructure. In an effort to transcend the limitations of idealism and economic determinism, the chapter engages in a discussion of dialectics as used in geography and as used by Raymond Williams in his concepts of ‘constituted materiality’ and ‘mediation’. Through these discussions, the chapter arrives at ‘city-as-synthesis’ as an appropriate conceptual site for a dialectical approach to globalization.

Keywords:   idealism, materialism, base–superstructure, economic determinism, socio-spatial dialectics, Weber, Raymond Williams, mediation, constituted materiality, city, synthesis

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