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Balshaw, Maria, and Liam Kennedy, eds. Urban Space and Representation. Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2000.
In an attempt to expand the scholarly discourse on urban space and the production of identity, Balshaw and Kennedy have compiled a variety of essays that investigate how representations of the city in the arts “traffic between physical and mental space” (3). The editors recognize the dangers of essentializing the all too often romanticized city experience, and advocate studies of urban spaces that are “particular and partial in scope” as a means of getting at the often illusory and unfixed facets of contemporary urbanity. The book is organized into three sections, “Space and Vision”, “Spaces and Difference”, and “(Post) National Spaces”, with a combined total of 11 essays. The various forms of representation discussed—literary, film, televisual, and fine arts—all explore elements of apprehension, comprehension, and power-relations in the “visualizations” and depictions of urban space, resulting from and producing race, class, gender, and sexual identities (10). All essayists attempt to depict the intersections and collectivity “through which the formation of identity is specialized” (11). [E. White]