In “The Flâneur, the Hot-rodder, and the Slow Food Activist: Archetypes of Capitalist Coasting,” Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture Jeffrey Blankenship and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Jessica Hayes-Conroy analyze the intersection of class, place, privilege and identity as they examine “the archetype of the modern ‘capitalist coaster.’”
The article, which appears in the most recent issue of ACME: An International Journal of Critical Geographies, begins with the flâneur (the idler about town), “a modern literary figure that characterized the relationship of capitalism to urban alienation in 19th-century Paris.” Blankenship and Hayes-Conroy posit that the flâneur is analogous to the hot-rodder of 1950s America and the slow-food activist of the present, and that all embody this concept of the “capitalist coaster” whose pleasures in life are pursued both in reaction to and symbiotic with the capitalist system.
Their analysis points to the “political importance of the material body and its connection to landscape” and leads the authors to conclude that the coping mechanisms of these capitalist coasters can “make visible the structures of privilege that determine the availability and embodied effect of coping practices across lines of (dis)advantage.”
The article is open access and available for download on the ACME website.
Blankenship has delivered lectures and presentations on place, landscape and culture at conferences across the country. He is the author of various articles exploring the work of the landscape theorist J.B. Jackson, including “Reading Landscape: J.B. Jackson and the Cultural Landscape Idea at Mid-Century,” in Landscape Journal and “Everyday Modernities: J.B. Jackson and the Post-War American Landscape,” in Environment, Space, Place. He teaches courses in the history of modern landscape architecture, as well as studio courses focused on urban and landscape design. He holds a B.S. in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky and a master’s in landscape architecture, a master’s in regional planning and a Ph.D. in cultural geography, all from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Hayes-Conroy, whose research focuses on alternative food activism, nutrition intervention and social difference, is the author of Savoring Alternative Food: School Gardens, Healthy Eating, and Visceral Difference and co-editor of Doing Nutrition Differently: Critical Perspectives on Nutrition Intervention. Her teaching explores the intersections of health, food, feminism, geography and gender. She holds a B.A. in the growth and structure of cities from Bryn Mawr College, an M.A. in geography from the University of Vermont and a Ph.D. in women’s studies and geography from Pennsylvania State University.