Landscapes of Global Capital
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World Trade Center Though all the city skylines in the commercials have thus far been thoroughly abstracted from place, this particular skyline imagery can no longer be viewed in this way. The New York City skyline, dominated as it was by the twin towers of the World Trade Center, is now fully invested by the meanings of September 11th. Now, just as famous as the New York City skyline are the photographs of the towers being exploded and destroyed on that now infamous day.

The symbolic aspects of the murderous attack on the towers cannot be avoided. We have already shown how reductive corporate commercials are in representing the capitalist city as a locus for corporate powerWorld Trade Center 9/11. And while this may often seem facile because it has been so heavily abstracted from the relations of everyday life, the repetition of this symbolic order has nonetheless achieved its goal. To those in the US the towers stood for the ascendancy of American capitalism. To much of the rest of the world, being steamrollered by the capitalist expansion that we call 'globalization,' the twin towers stood for the American hegemon - dominance and domination - over them. If to citizens of the US the towers stood as a monument to civilization and its advances, to much of the rest of the world it stood for the monopoly of global power.

The World Trade Center towers are examples of symbolic power and how these become targets of antagonism andWorld Trade Center 9/11 resistance. Especially following the bombing, the towers were cast as representing a place, NYC. Their destruction was interpreted more as an attack on New Yorkers than on global capital, more on America than on global capital. This demonstrates how much the State and Capital have become commingled in our society. The response is suffused with patriotic sentiments because in the aftermath of September 11th, the towers have become a symbol of the imagined community of the United States. It has reinvigorated a sense of America as an imagined community both at the level of spectacle and locally as real everyday authentic response. Might check out this web page

For the purposes of our conversation it is worth recalling that Jean Baudrillard wrote about the symbolic dimension of World Trade Center 9/11the twin World Trade Center towers several decades ago, observing then that the towers both signified a "competitive verticality" characteristic of the capitalist city, while at the same time they suggested an end to that stage of development. "The fact that there are two towers signified the end of all competition, the end of every original reference. Paradoxically, if there were only one, the WTC would not embody the monopoly, since we have seen that it becomes stable in dual form. For the sign to remain pure it must become its own double: this doubling of the sign really put an end to what is designated" (BaudrillardWorld Trade Center 9/11, 1976; 1993, p.69). In an essay reprinted in Harper's magazine (2002), Baudrillard argues that the terrorist attack on the WTC represents a new stage of the politics of the simulacrum. The horrible irony, as Baudrillard presents it, is that the reductionism of western power to abstracted symbolic form, though it initially depoliticized the power of Capital amongst domestic populations, has had quite the opposite long-term consequences, as it has repoliticized antagonism toward US Capital throughout the world. But above all, he argues that the terrorist attack represents a massive spike in the politics of the spectacle.

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Cultural Geography
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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey