Architectural Studies and Sociology Lecture
"Iconic Architecture and Capitalist Globalization"
Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics
The lecture will investigate the production of architectural iconicity and its relationship to contemporary capitalist globalization. While Sklair notes that iconicity can take a range of forms, here he is particularly concerned to understand the iconicity ascribed to buildings or spaces (or indeed architects) on the basis of their uniqueness or difference. For Sklair, this form of contemporary iconic architecture is now corporate to an extent that is historically unprecedented. He accounts for this historical shift with reference to an analysis of the new conditions of architectural production associated with the agents and institutions of an emergent transnational capitalist class. Iconicity cannot be accounted for with reference to explanations which focus solely on the symbolic/aesthetic qualities of a building or space. Rather, Sklair demonstrates how the agents and institutions of the transnational capitalist class have increasingly come to define the times, places and audiences that make buildings, spaces, and architecture iconic.
Leslie Sklair is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the London School of Economics and is affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. A pioneer in the sub-field of global and transnational sociology, Sklair is author of many books and articles including The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001 Blackwell) and Globalization: Capitalism and its Alternatives (Oxford University Press). His most recent research has focused on iconic architecture and its relationship to global capitalist practices.