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Concrete Materialities: Architectural Surfaces and the Cultural Sociology of Modernity

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Sociology of the Arts in Action

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Abstract

This chapter seeks to bring a cultural sociology of modernity into dialogue with a recent development known as “surface studies”. The focus here is on architectural material surfaces—such as glass, steel and most centrally concrete—as a means of rethinking modernity. Existing cultural and architectural histories of concrete are examined before an analysis is offered of the material’s contingent social, political and other meanings. The latter part of the chapter deals with how concrete’s aesthetic and political associations, such as the link to State Socialism and the Western Welfare State, are being recast through a combination of nostalgia, a revaluing of material decay, photography and the onset of new consumer cultures (e.g., the “hipsterization” of Brutalism via memoir and digital platforms such as Etsy).

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de la Fuente, E. (2022). Concrete Materialities: Architectural Surfaces and the Cultural Sociology of Modernity. In: Rodríguez Morató, A., Santana-Acuña, A. (eds) Sociology of the Arts in Action. Sociology of the Arts . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_9

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