Concrete multivalence – practising representation in bunkerology

BENNETT, Luke (2013). Concrete multivalence – practising representation in bunkerology. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 31 (3), 502 -521.

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In this paper I investigate the various ways in which once secret and ‘unknowable’ military bunkers have over the last fifty years become increasingly accessible to perception and representation in print and other ‘off-line’ media. I focus upon the role played in this rediscovery by accounts produced and circulated by various types of bunker-hunting enthusiasts, who are defined collectively in the paper as ‘bunkerologists’. The paper also shows that bunkers are not, as some theorists such as Beck have recently suggested, beyond description and incapable of cultural assimilation. For whilst the military bunker is a powerful totem of postmodern ambiguity for some, bunkerologists have developed relatively stable modes of representation through which these abandoned concrete structures can come to be cherished, discussed, and ‘known’. Through analysis of bunkerological texts, and the practices by which they are generated, I examine how bunker hunting’s dominant discursive formations—ie, the political, the taxonomic, the nostalgic, and the experiential—frame the ways in which accounts of bunkers and bunker hunting are presented by bunkerologists themselves, and show how representation is performed by them. Whilst accepting the importance and value of nonrepresentational theory and its challenge to the dominance of the discourse-fixated analysis characteristic of the ‘linguistic turn’, I argue for an active acknowledgment of the role of representational practices within studies investigating performative engagements with place.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Built Environment Division Research Group
Identification Number:
Page Range: 502 -521
Depositing User: Sarah Ward
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 09:14
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 19:45

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