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Architecture of Punishment: Dystopian Cities Marking the Body

Bouet, Elsa



Yael Maurer

Meyrav Koren-Kuik


This chapter investigates the ways in which China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station, Alastair Reynolds’ Terminal World and Christopher Priest’s Inverted World represent governments which enforce submission by creating monstrous architectural structures and violent forms of bodily punishment. Recalling Henri Lefebvre’s claim that urban centres are favourable environments to the formation of authoritarian power, the depicted dystopian governments foreclose utopian aspirations through spatial control and exhibit their power in threatening architectures which are mirrored in the deformed and branded bodies of those who have been punished. The chapter therefore explores the ways in which the city and the body exist in a dystopian “cobuilding relationship” (Elizabeth Grosz) and argues that the novels suggest that movement, diversity and openness are the utopian solutions offered to the fixedness of the city.


Cityscapes of the Future (49-65). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers.

Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 27, 2018
Publication Date Feb 27, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 26, 2018
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Pages 49-65
Series Title Consciousness, Literature and the Arts,
Series Number 53
Series ISSN 1573-2193
Book Title
Cityscapes of the Future
Chapter Number 4
ISBN 9789004361317
Keywords Architecture, punishment, government control, dystopia, utopia, spatial control,
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