Jeffrey Fleisher on The Multiple Histories of Public Space

by Jörgen Eriksson on July 2, 2015

Power in OrganisationsWhen I went to Stockholm School of Economics in the 1980s, I took a course on leadership and one of the books I read, Jeffrey Pfeffer´s Power in Organisations, had a sociological perspective. According to the book, power can be seen as deriving from the division of labour that occurs as task specialization is implemented in organizations. When the overall tasks of the organization are divided into smaller parts, it is inevitable that some tasks will come to be more important than others.

Those persons and those units that have the responsibility for performing the more critical asks in the organization have a natural advantage in developing and exercising power. Although individual skills and strategies can certainly affect the amount of power and the effectiveness with which it is used, power is first and foremost a structural phenomenon, and one manifestation of power, is through the use of space.

Throughout history, hierarchy and power has shown itself through the way we design our places, from the Pyramids of Egypt to the Palatine Hill in Rome and the White House in Washington and the Elysee Palace in Paris, and their location in the settlement and city context.

2015-06-29 11.26.52In the Future of Places conference this week, Professor Jeffrey Fleisher of Rice University in Texas gave a speech on the multiple histories of public space, and as he talked my mind wandered back to the book I read in the 1980s on manifestations of power through use of space, and I also thought about the Vucedol culture and their main space, for which we are currently working on a feasibility study.

Take a look at Professor Fleisher’s speech below, and see what reflections you make, as the images of Stonehenge, the Maya temples and other historic places of centre and might are shown on the screen.

Professor Fleisher’s areas of specialization are the archaeology of Tanzania, Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean Rim, and he is interested in Old World archaeology, African archaeology and ethnography, political economy, landscape and regional archaeology, urbanization, household studies, ceramics, urban space, materiality of ritual, and social memory.

His current research is focused on the role of rural and non-elite populations in the political economy of small-scale complex societies, and the way that people use material culture and space in the establishment and maintenance of social inequality and power.

Jeffrey Fleisher on The Multiple Histories of Public Space

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail, connect on LinkedIn onörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

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