The Urban Dominant: Everyday Life and the City in Textual Criticism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Lefebvre made an important statement in The Right to the City: “Philosophy cannot realize itself without art (as model of appropriation of time and space)” (1996, 176). This chapter builds on both the spirit of this comment and the discussion of the intersection of artistic discourse and the urban phenomenon begun in the previous chapter, charting out a model of how to approach cultural works from the perspective of the urban cultural studies method. Before going further, however, the reader must understand that the inclusion of this statement in chapter 3—on “The Work (of Art)”—was part of a larger goal. In brief, this goal was to out line a Lefebvrian theory of art: sustaining the French thinker’s emphasis on alienation, asserting that aesthetic matters are inseparable from other (political, social, economic) concerns, drawing attention to the limits of disciplinary (traditionally literary) approaches to art, and underscoring the power and potential of the “creative capacity” of both the artist and the critic, ultimately as a challenge to existing alienated views of a Marxian-inspired notion of totality. By outlining this Lefebvrian theory of art, I suggest—Lefebvrian thought suggests—that there is a correlation or resonance between an emancipatory production of art and an emancipatory production of everyday life—and of contemporary urban life (Lefebvre 1991b, 1996).1

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHispanic Urban Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHispanic Urban Studies
ISSN (Print)2662-5830
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5849


  • Everyday Life
  • Literary Criticism
  • Literary Text
  • Original Emphasis
  • Special Text

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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