In the midst of things : the social lives of objects in the public spaces of New York City / Mike Owen Benediktsson.Material type: TextPublisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2022Description: xii, 247 pages ; illustrations ; 24 cmContent type:
- 9780691174334 (hardback)
- 23 306.097471 BEN 020175
|Item type||Current library||Call number||Status||Date due||Barcode|
|Book||Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore||306.097471 BEN 020175 (Browse shelf(Opens below))||Available||020175|
Includes bibliographical references and index.
"This book describes the social life of five material things found in the streets and public spaces of New York City and its suburbs. In urban environments, objects-designed and built by other humans-surround us at all times and typically occupy our field of vision. These objects, Mike Owen Benediktsson writes, have ideas about us-for example, the chair in which you sit has assumptions about your height and weight, the length of your legs, and the width of your torso, as well as ideas about how you should sit. In this book, each of the five artifacts explored - a lawn, a wall, a chair, a door, and a kiosk - has a story to tell about the social and economic changes sweeping through New York City and its environs. Each of these stories illustrates an important but widely unappreciated fact of urban life - that the ordinary objects and spaces of the city are a primary point of contact with the broader social and political currents that swirl around us. A newly built lawn on the Brooklyn waterfront reflects an increasingly common trade-off between public goods and market forces. A low cement wall on a divided highway in New Jersey speaks of escalating suburban poverty and the demise of the post-war American dream. A metal folding chair on a patch of asphalt in Queens illustrates the political obstacles that face attempts to make the city more liveable and environmentally sustainable. Drawing from these and other examples, Benediktsson argues that our social lives occurs "in the midst of things" in two respects: we are, quite literally, surrounded by objects that constrain and shape our experience; and, through this experience, we come into direct contact with a much larger set of "things" - ideas, laws, markets, policies, etc. - that together constitute the broader ongoing narrative of urban change"--