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As plain as spilt salt: the city as social structure in The Dispossessed

Butt, A. (2021) As plain as spilt salt: the city as social structure in The Dispossessed. Textual Practice. ISSN 1470-1308

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2021.1974536


Set against the soaring skyscrapers of much canon urban science fiction (sf), the single storey structures of Abbenay in Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed might be easily overlooked. But, as this paper argues, the sparse description of this city ‘as plain as spilt salt’ offers a rich and complex vision of architectural possibility. This paper dwells within this moment of description, drawing on personal association alongside architectural and literary theory to consider how this image of a city might cast strange new light on embedded aspects of architectural practice. It explores how the sustained consideration of the built spaces of feminist sf can provide designers with an empathetic appreciation of how the built environment reflects and informs social relations. Salt is modest, Salt is domestic, Salt is refined, Salt is anything but plain, To spill salt is to act.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Architecture
Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
ID Code:94580
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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