Date of Award


First Advisor

Chris Coggins

Second Advisor

Dan Nielson

Third Advisor

Dien Vo


In the modern world, images, objects, concepts, and representations in any other of their innumerable manifestations are networked and arranged in the making of elaborate structures of knowledge, production, and society. In spite of their ubiquity and overt operation in society, representations have not been studied so substantially in relation to their capacity to produce and influence society as have the function and implications of their operation in the individual psyche. Henri Lefebvre's spatial dialectics shall be presented as a compelling framework to do so from which perspective it can be observed that interactions between space and representation in the individual and collective mind underlie the foundations, production, and phenomena of modern society. Jean Jacques Rousseau, who observed similar dialectics in his early commercial society, offers shrewd insight into the development, nature, and implications of the modern state of production and society. Ranciere's aesthetic theory and Guy Debord's theory of the Spectacle and Situationism describe the contemporary manifestations of this constitutive dialectic of modernity. Finally, dialectics of representations and space are put forth as both the means of confinement and freedom in social spaces of our world.

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