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Henri Lefebvre - Essay Example
Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) was a French philosopher once connected with the Parti Communiste Francais who wrote several influential works on the nature of the city and the role of spaces in modern geographical thought. Born in the south of France just after the turn of the century, Lefebvre was witness to the "modernization of French everyday life, the industrialization of the economy and sub-urbanisation of its cities…
These critiques of the city were the basis for Lefebvre's investigation of the cultural construction of stereotypical notions of cities, of nature and of regions" (Shields, 2002). Within his writings, Lefebvre brought attention to the tendency of academia to place too much emphasis upon the classification of studies as being psychology, sociology, archaeology or geography among others, that all had as their end goal a study and understanding of space and other human geography issues.
In analysing city life, Lefebvre argued 'everydayness' or banality is a soul-destroying feature of modernity and extended Marx's analysis of this concept by discovering new forms of alienation within the city. According to this view, consumption is part of the result of a failure to recognize this alienated state on the part of the modern consumer, which Lefebvre called the 'mystification' of consciousness (Shields, 2002). This early work influenced Walter Benjamin's Marxist analysis of culture as well as reflecting Le Bon's work on crowds and the furtherance of psycho-geography.
In discussing space, Lefebvre delineated three key components of the urban lifestyle. ...