Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (3):293-308 (2005)

This article develops a sociological reading of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’, or Passagen-werk . Specifically, the essay seeks to make explicit Benjamin’s non-dualistic account of structure and agency in the urban milieu. I characterize this account as the ‘dialectic of urbanism’, and argue that one of the central insights of Benjamin’s Passagen-werk is that it locates an emergent and innovative cultural form - a distinctive ‘street culture’ or jointly shared way of modern urban life - within haussmannizing techniques of architectural administration and spatial domination. In the modern metropolis, Benjamin sees a new kind of collective - an embedded and effervescent sociocultural group held together not by the functionalist imperatives of capitalist urban planning but by an improvisational mode of street life. Key Words: agency • culture • embeddedness • structure • urbanism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453705051707
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,259
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
39 ( #292,975 of 2,518,492 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,186 of 2,518,492 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes