Architectures of Obsolescence: Lessons for History

  • Daniel M. Abramson


This chapter on obsolescence and architecture begins with an historian’s question about capitalism and modernity. The eminent scholar Eric Hobsbawm, in a 2010 interview, was asked, “to pick still unexplored topics … presenting major challenges for future historians.” Hobsbawm replied with a questi n of his own. “How is it, then, that humans and societies structured to resist dynamic development come to terms with a mode of production whose essence is endless and unpredictable dynamic development?”1 Hobsbawm directs us to one of capitalism’s contradictions, between the system’s necessity for change, on the one hand, and the human need for constancy, on the other. How are these reconciled? How does capitalism persist, in other words, in violation of basic human impulses?


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Copyright information

© Babette B. Tischleder and Sarah Wasserman 2015

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  • Daniel M. Abramson

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