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The Production of Space

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,081 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Henri Lefebvre has considerable claims to be the greatest living philosopher. His work spans some sixty years and includes original work on a diverse range of subjects, from dialectical materialism to architecture, urbanism and the experience of everyday life. The Production of Space is his major philosophical work and its translation has been long awaited by scholars in m ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 8th 1992 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published August 1st 1991)
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Malcolm
Brilliant, stunning, dense, provocative. Lefebvre, one of the finest dissident voices in French Marxism, explores the subtle experiences of space, the ways it is represented in language and practice, and the fundamental role of capitalism's ordering of space and place to shape our world and the ways we experience it as a constraint, as a thing to be struggled against, and as a way into those struggles.

His notion of three forms of space: of spatial practice where space is produced and reproduced
...more
Katie
OK - this should be prefaced by the fact that I am a huge grad school nerd and largely read books that contribute to rhetorical theory or criticism. That being said, Henri Lefebvre is a crazy, circuitous, uber-french thinker whose ideas about space and how we use/make it are interesting for anyone who questions life in our modern age. Spaces don't just exist anymore he says, they're produced in/by the overarching bureaucracy. However, spaces aren't products like sugar or hair brushes because the ...more
Geoffrey Fox
“In the beginning was the Topos. Before – long before – the advent of the Logos, in the chiaroscuro realm of primitive life, lived experience already possessed its internal rationality; this experience was producing long before thought space, and spatial thought, began reproducing the projection, explosion, image and orientation of the body.” (p. 174)

In Henri Lefebvre’s terms, living things “produce” space simply by moving. What he meant was that an animal’s or plant’s “gestures,” that is, the
...more
JayEm Bosch
///NOT MY REVIEW. Just an intriguing one from Amazon.com I want to keep handy...///

Thinkers have long analyzed things in space, but it is time to analyze space itself and "the social relationships embedded in it" according to Lefebvre. He wants to analyze the form, structure, and function of something he calls "social space" and explore how such spaces have been produced.
"Social space" partly consists of a certain configuration of actual space in actual time. Space also encompasses and includes
...more
Grace Krakovic
Space is political, that's the premise. And by god, that ideology extends to everything. Life-changing read.
John Carter McKnight
This book is so magisterial, so essential, and such a hot mess that it's nearly impossible to review. As many have noted, the beginning and end are astonishingly brilliant, while the middle is contradictory, unclear and not terribly useful. Still, anyone interested in technology and society, architecture and urban design, contemporary philosophy, or powerful ideas generally really needs to read this book (skipping the middle chapters if necessary).

That an orthodox French Marxist writing a deeply
...more
Catherine
This book definitely requires a working knowledge of Marx's theories to understand his argument. While I found many of his ideas interesting, he does seem to suffer from a top-down approach to power and a heavy reliance on structure as defining social relationships. In this context, he spreads his theory too far, attempting to make the power capitalism holds over space universal and thereby neglects the other, non-European areas of the world and how their experiences may have differed from that ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
I started this a few years ago, got half way through, and put it down. It's a lot of theory and I understood some of it, but not nearly all. Pretty interesting look at how space is constructed via many different perspectives. In some areas it reminded me of Debord's Society of the Spectacle with all that goes into the construction of shared physical space and how authoritative readings of that space are not the totality of the space. It can change and be appropriated into whole other uses. A den ...more
Gill
A classic treaty on humans and space. The main idea being that space is a social product.

Perceived (first), Conceived (second), and Lived (third). Perceived space is the materiality of space. Conceived space is the ways in which space is planned; normative representations of space. Lived space is the emotional experience of space that develops through the imaginary and through lived experience of the first two spaces.

His insights are central to much of human geography. Harvey and Massey have t
...more
Kristin Canfield
how many books is this?
DoctorM
A classic work by the French Marxist-humanist scholar on the political economy and social construction of urban spaces. Prolix, yes, and more than a bit meandering--- but a brilliant work that repays the reader's effort. Lefebvre is indispensable in considering the relationship between political economy and the organisation of cities and what "space" means... Highly recommended.
Ida
i agree with some of the reviews that it's dense, but i hardened my soul, grit my teeth and managed to read and trying to understand through it all .... cause this was the foundation of my thesis. i love the guy though and planning to move it all through my dissertation too (when and if i ever started the dissertation)
Shane Avery
good god! breathtaking, groundbreaking, monumental.
Alexander Craghead
Lefebvre's work seems an attempt to create a unified philosohical theory of space, and as such would seem of great importance in understanding geography, place, and urban form. I find his work, however, to be of limited value. He spends a great deal of time in mental exploration of complex abstractions, so that it seems the only space that is truly important is that which sits between the reader's ears, rather than the actuality of space in the real world. Too much time is spent exploring how di ...more
We'reelof
This work consumed a lot of time and thought energy – and still does –, but it was very rewarding: I will never be able to look at my flat the way I used to, any street, building or city. I won't even be able to look at a forest the way I used to or any piece of space. It truly proved the rumors to be true about Lefebvre being a "playful marxist".

The most important concepts of Production of Space are his triad dialectic conceived-perceived-lived space (representations of space, spatial practice,
...more
Mara Eastern
Lefebvre understands life as an ongoing project, and he conceives his book in this vein. He attempts to sketch the outlines of a unitary theory of space, including such diverse disciplines as philosophy, archaeology, psychology, etc. There are valuable insights in the book, but mostly scattered throughout what reads like a series of loosely connected individual thoughts rather than a coherent and structured whole.
Andrew
Jun 03, 2008 Andrew added it
Shelves: theeeeeeory
First off, a warning: this is a very difficult read, even by theory standards. If you can handle dense, turgid prose though, this is strongly recommended. Whereas most spatial theory comes from a more explicitly sociological or geographic perspective, this provides a perspective more grounded in sheer philosophy, which makes it an unusual and highly influential work, and one from which so much contemporary geography is derived.
Jesi
This was cool and all, but I wish Lefebvre had killed a few of his darlings.
Eduardo
Lefebvre realiza un ejercicio interesante en la busqueda de las variables dinaminzadoras del proceso de construcción del espacio. Mucha de la literatura utilizaba el espcio como un factor absoluto, ajeno a las dinamicas del sistema de producción social. Su posción pasa precisamente por señalar esa falsedad, e intentar dilucidar los factores socioeconomicos que llevan a una producción del espacio específica.
Steve
This book was hard to get into. Very academic, of course. Dry to begin with; however, the concepts concerning the inherent violence in relation to abstract space are incredible. Never will I look at a refurbished, re-decorated downtown area of a city or a small town the same again.
Tom
I'm learning that great ideas come from bad writers. While I'm fascinated by the way the author's ideas have been applied, I'm still wondering if he actually wrote a draft of the book or just hit the literary ground running....
The Steele
He is such a good little Marxist. But where was he hanging out in Paris . . . the right-bank, also known as the wrong-bank, because he doesn't appear on the left-bank intellectual scene . . . at all.
Mikel
Overwhelming, awesome, but you are better served by getting an introduction to these ideas by reading "The Right to the City" in Writings on Cities and The Urban Revolution. Then this makes much more sense.
Robin
One of the best (probably the best) book written on humanised space. Few other authors come close to Lefebvre in discussing (anthropic) space and the human condition.
Mark
Although geographers Neil Smith and Edward Soja have rewritten and to some extent extended Henri Lefebvre, this remains an essential and eminently readable book.
Michael Shilling
Jun 12, 2007 Michael Shilling rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy a complex confusion
Theory about the idea of space: emotional, social, economic. I think I understood 4%, but the other 96% was just as fun. Written by a French Communist. Very dirty.
Peter
Fascinating analysis of how political and economic orders produce urban and rural spaces the both reinforce and subvert their founding values.
Burke
Dense as all get-out, but worth considering as an illustration of the possibilities for examining space as constructed through social processes.
Pannill Camp
Jul 17, 2007 Pannill Camp rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: theory nerds
It is the theoretical rosetta stone of my disseration. Kind of sloppily written, but full of great insights.
Danielle
Not easy reading, and neither for lovers of narrative nor brevity, but still totally worth picking away at.
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Henri Lefebvre was a French sociologist, Marxist intellectual, and philosopher, best known for his work on dialectics, Marxism, everyday life, cities, and (social) space. He coined the slogan "the right to the city".
More about Henri Lefebvre...
Critique of Everyday Life The Urban Revolution Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers) (Paperback) Writings on Cities Critique of Everyday Life, Volume II

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“Nothing disappears completely ... In space, what came earlier continues to underpin what follows ... Pre-existing space underpins not only durable spatial arrangements, but also representational spaces and their attendant imagery and mythic narratives.” 3 likes
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