Psychogeography Brief

Psychogeography explores the psychological effects of urban environments. This idea sounds strange, as the term wasn’t even recognized as a term until the early 1950s, however the idea has existed in classic poetry. An important part of psychogeography is the unconscious effects on our emotions and behaviors.

Urban areas are often designed specifically to evoke certain feelings, to control movement, and to maintain a status quo. Psychogeography encourages awareness of the environment and attentiveness to the senses as they relate to the location.

The English author Thomas De Quincey characterized psychogeography as an act of privilege. Only those who have disposable time or income can afford to explore urban areas and uncover their secrets. In some ways, psychogeography has been politicized, almost a defiance of the capitalist system. But how does psychogeography subvert the hegemony? Is psychogeography simply a way for affluent wanderers to pseudo-challenge the system?

As we become increasingly dependent on technology, do we lose a sense of wonder for our environment? Are we somehow contributing to the dominant capitalist culture by focusing simply on getting from one place to another?


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