Commodification of the Egyptian New Capital: A Semio-Foucauldian Landscape Analysis (2021) Space and Culture.
Signs in the urban landscapes are never neutral; they always enact connections to power relations and social hierarchies. By examining the New Administrative Capital of Egypt’s (NAC) advertising billboards, the current study relates itself to the literature of Linguistic Landscape (LL). The study examines the NAC from a semio-discursive perspective. More specifically, it relies on the tools of Semiotic Landscape (SL) to discuss how the landscape of Cairo is represented as a heterogeneous contested space, and how the semiotic resources of its real-estate billboards epitomize Foucauldian principles of heterotopia. The study maintains that the different semiotic resources deployed in the NAC billboards commodify urban space by indexing heterotopic power relations. It is found that spatial commodification of the New Capital is embodied in two heterotopic tropes: “silent” space and “carnival” space. That is, the NAC billboards promote the consumption of the urban space by selling the heterotopic experiences of silence, and carnival-like tempo-spatiality. The study has found that the space of the NAC is semiotically presented in the landscape of Cairo as heterotopic through promoting “different” spatial experiences. To put it differently, the NAC billboards are perceived as antithesis to their landscapes of emplacement, the landscape of Cairo. © The Author(s) 2021.
Foucault; heterotopia; linguistic landscape; NAC; semiotic landscape; spatial commodification