The Modern City as an Oeuvre: Theory and Practice of The Production of Space in Henri Lefebvre’s “Intellectual Activism” and European Street Art

  • Marie Chabbert London School of Economics


Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, capitalism – in particular its latest evolution, which the French theorist Henri Lefebvre calls “neocapitalism” – imposed its dominance over the space of modern cities (Production  8). This article aims to elucidate the way in which two modes of opposition to the neocapitalist domination of space, namely Western European street art and Henri Lefebvre’s theory, affect citizens’ experience of space. Throughout this article, it will become clear that Lefebvre and Western European street art share similar strategies of spatial resistance, based on the reconfiguration of what Lefebvre describes as the individual’s experience of the “perceived” and “conceived space” (38). However, what I call the paradox of visibility faced by these two figures of contestation casts doubt upon their ability to allow for a re-appropriation of the city space by its citizens. This will precipitate a questioning of their efficiency as strategies of spatial resistance.

School of Athens
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