Lefebvre on Culture: Sleeping Beauty image

I’m working on a much larger project about Lefebvre and the humanities and came across this quotation embedded in a discussion of Marxism and aesthetic questions:

“It so happens that the word ‘culture’ also evokes a magical image for me, that of Sleeping Beauty. She does not doze on flowers and on fragrant grass but on a thick mattress of texts, quotations, musical scores—and under a vast canopy of books, sociological, semiological, historical and philosophical theses. Then one day the Prince comes; he awakens her and everything around the forest comes to life along with her—poets poetizing, musicians musicking, cooks cooking, lovers loving, and so on. Singers? Songs? Yes, they are a part of culture, yet they must not be considered in isolation but within an ensemble that also includes dance, music, cartoon strips, television, and so forth. Moreover, culture is not merely a static palimpsest of texts, it is lived, active, which is what the fable of the wakened princess suggests to me.”

Take it for what it’s worth, but what I like about this image is how it expresses Lefebvre’s central position on culture–which of course dispenses with the ‘base-superstructure’ model that people like to equate with Marxism more generally (and which Lefebvre contradicts head-on in the Critique of Everyday Life). Not merely do a variety of cultural products form a (complex) ensemble, they also spring to life in that very moment when “Sleeping Beauty’s” “sociological, semiological, historical and philosophical” knowledge is awakened (and not a second later).

Coming Soon: Journal of Urban Cultural Studies

Coming (relatively) soon, with an international publisher:

Journal of Urban Cultural Studies

Launching with its first issue in late-2013 or 2014, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is a peer-reviewed publication devoted to research centered on urban themes and cutting across both the humanities and the social sciences. Articles (between 7,000-10,000 words including works cited) should give more or less equal weight to: a) one or more aspects of urban studies (everyday life, built environment, architecture, city planning, identity formation, transportation…) and b) one or more specific forms of cultural (textual) production (literature, film, music, art, graffiti…) in relation to a specific urban space or spaces. The journal is open to studies that deal with culture, urban spaces and forms of urbanized consciousness the world over.

Please contact the editor at urbanculturalstudies@gmail.com.