Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 12 (2020–2022) — 57–70

From Paris in the 20th Century to Lisbon (and Paris) in the 21st Century: the “Monotonization of the world” in the idea and space of the contemporary city

Bruno Rego


This essay aims to reflect on the relationship between technology, economy and arts and humanities’ social value decline in contemporary city’s idea and space. We begin by visiting a dystopian Paris of a posthumous Jules Verne’s novel, Paris in the 20th Century, a dark sketch of the human condition in a hyper technological society, to claim that, under several ways, reality’s technological digitalization and economic rationality’s uniformity are dematerializing and standardizing city’s cultural and historical experience. After this, we explore the landscape of Lisbon (and Paris) in the 21st century as a prime example of the “monotonization of the world” in terms of inhabiting the urban space, a phenomenon brought by a certain technological and economic paradigm of thinking the idea of city. We finish by arguing that the arts and humanities, and not only the technological and economic rationality, must have a more active role in the task of rethinking city’ inhabitability places. Only then it will be possible to avoid the resemblance of the contemporary city with Verne’s disenchanting Paris..

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