Still Learning from Las Vegas: Imagining America’s Urban Other

  • Markku SalmelaEmail author


This chapter examines Las Vegas through literary depictions of it, in particular Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson’s novel sets a pattern for Las Vegas narratives in which extreme behaviour unfolds against the background of exceptionalist legal and moral rhetoric. Subsequent fictions of Vegas often reflect the city’s status as a unique urban Other that provides alternatives to life elsewhere. The result is a city of exception conceivable as a spatial version of the state of exception as theorised by Giorgio Agamben. The city’s ability to invent itself anew has also changed the ways in which one can learn from Las Vegas or see it as a “second” city, as the world’s other cities keep creating their own versions of the Strip’s industries of leisure.


Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson John O’Brien City of exception 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TampereTampereFinland

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