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Title: Producing space and reproducing capital in London's Olympic Park : an ethnography of actually-existing abstract space
Author: Waters, Jacken
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4080
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the relationship between the production of urban space and the reproduction of capital. Taking the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a case study, I conducted ethnographic research during the London 2012 Olympics and the Park's first 'Legacy' year. My research proceeded from an embodied walking practice (which prompted reflection on my transgender presentation as a complicating factor), and also included interviews and archival research. My analysis centres on Henri Lefebvre, situating his work on space within a concern for the relationship between everyday life and the concrete abstractions constituted therein. Taking this relationship as essential to the reproduction of capital, I explore the production of the Olympic Park as an actually-existing abstract space that mirrors the dual character of the value form. I open my account of this production with the Olympic festival, a total social moment mobilised towards the realisation of value. I then examine each of Lefebvre's three formants of abstract space in turn. I present the construction of the Park as the materialisation of an abstractly conceived space designed to incorporate a disordered post-industrial space into a new mode of accumulation. I frame the inhabitation of the Park in its Legacy era as a temporalisation of empty space, arguing that abstract time is co-constituted with abstract space in internally contradictory everyday practice. And I address the incorporation of the Park into a set of post-industrial, anti-urban, and leisureoriented spaces that form a representational space reflective of the movement of capital in its ascendant, financialised, form. I conclude with a discussion of the Olympic Park as 'catalyst', securing the reproduction of capital by encouraging further redevelopment, but also sharpening capital's contradictions as an abstract space in conflict with its own concrete content, predicated on the subsumption of the utopian potential of everyday life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography ; GF125 Cities. Urban geography