Top critical review
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A mixed bag...
on 22 February 2005
The book opens with a brief discussion of the present state of anthropology, and attitudes within the subject regarding studying Western society: the growing necessity of it versus anthropology's background in studying the very distant Other. How to define research, then, so that a study of 'supermodernity' may be possible? Augé touches upon the meanings of time and history - its acceleration, and the endings of the 'grand narratives' and thus modernity.
He then discusses anthropological place, with much reference to the signposting on French autoroutes of villages' historical features! Around page 80 he gets on to de Certeau's relationship between space and place, contrasting it with his own - and finally to the titular matter of the book: 'non-places' like motorways, supermarkets and airports which make up the landscape of supermodernity.
By 3 stars I really mean 3.5 - this book is worth reading, I believe, but is not uniformly interesting. The last 40 pages may be fascinating, clear to read and and insightful, but the early part of the book isn't so immediately appealing. It may also be worth noting that the book's short [about 110 pages] and consists largely of Augé's ideas with a minimum of citations; the bibliography is sketchy in the extreme!